Alright, so Rai #13 marks the third installment of the 4001A.D. summer event from Valiant Entertainment. It is also the first issue of Rai in about 5 months, thus it’s needless to say that fans have been waiting a while for this series to return. So it is a good thing that writer Matt Kindt hit the ground running with a fantastic origin story of the first Rai. I mean, there were parts where the narration was a little clunky, but outside of that he did an outstanding job. But more important than anything, this is the first issue of Rai where Clayton Crain was not the artist. Instead Cafu gets his hands on the Rai-verse, and does some amazing things; despite the giant shoes Clayton left him to fill. Speaking of surprises, even though the cover, at least on Cover A, says Andrew Dalhouse would be coloring, the actual colorist is Dave Lamphear; who brings the story to life.
As I mentioned earlier, this is most definitely an origin story for the legacy of the Rais. Which, as a side note, David Mack hints towards in his cover art on Cover A, where he has Rai drawing a big circle, or ZERO. This is one of Matt’s strong suits, world building, which is why this issue is so good. There were some minor hiccups at the beginning of the issue, I noticed, with the narrative. It came off as overly stiff and dull, much like how you would imagine a textbook to feel. However, as soon as the first Rai was born, that all went away in lieu of perfect dialogue and a compelling story. There is point where young Rai first confronts the Raddies, and the dialogue just breaks your heart; and any writer that can instill an emotion in their readers has some serious talent.
On that same note, Cafu captured this tone of life and legacy perfectly. HIs clean panels, fluid movement, and uniform pacing completely masked the fact that there was ever a creator change in the series. I personally loved how much joy and happiness him and Dave packed into the scenes with the young Rai. You almost felt inspired yourself as you watched the little guy build some of the replica sectors in New Japan. More impressively, however, is Rai’s ‘fight’ with the Raddies in the sewer. I am not going to spoil anything drastic, but the art held up that entire scene; soaking it in pain and anguish. I could honestly look at this book all day.
On it’s own, Rai #13 measures up to be one of the best issues in the series; so it is only natural to say that it is THE best issue of the 4001A.D. event to date. As an origin story, I could not possibly ask for more from this team. Between Matt’s scripts, Cafu’s linework, and Dave’s color, Rebirth and Civil War II tie-ins are going to pale in comparison. So get this book, and the other two issues of 4001A.D., and the last 12 issues of Rai, right now; you can thank me later. I give this 5 out of 5.
Written by MATT KINDT
Art by CAFU