This new arc of Rai, a tie-in for Valiant’s summer event 4001 A.D., is simply incredible. Matt Kindt’s script is magical. As is the line work from Cafu, who has done a fantastic job taking over the book from Clayton Crain. And with Andrew Dalhouse on colors, this issue, and this event, is nothing short of a masterpiece.
Continuing in the past, Matt Kindt tees off from his last issue and delves further into Rai’s lineage. When he last left off, the first Rai, the symbol of hope for New Japan, was assaulted, and Father had decided that there would be a new Rai every hundred years. Each successor would be tailored for the ever changing needs of New Japan and Father. In this issue, Matt concentrates on the final days of the saga of Sai, a Rai dedicated to achieving peace, love, and prosperity through pacifism. The way that Matt tells this story is perfect. He starts off with an uphill beat of hope and happiness, but then quickly takes a turn for the worse bringing death and despair. Without giving away too much, he really digs into the problems that are inherent with a Utopia and an altruistic guardian.
All of which Cafu does a great job paralleling with his line work. There is so much I could say about his art in this issue, but I think I will just cover just a couple of the emotionally driving moments. First is the scene in the shooting range. It has been a long while since I have seen panels this saturated in devastation. Cafu just drenched the entire scene with pain and anguish. Which he did again when Sai found herself in an unstoppable storm of violence and civil war. I feel like I am not capturing the beauty of the issue that it deserves, so you will have to just check it out for yourself.
Before I conclude, and while I am on the subject of the art, I would like to pay notice to Andrew’s contribution. His colors were on point this issue. Personally I think his peak in the book was the scene with Sai convening with Father. He follows Matt perfectly as he transitions from joy to desolation, transition himself from saturation to desaturation. Great job Andrew.
Now, if there is anything you should take away from this review, it is this: buy this arc! Really, you should be buying the entirety of the 4001 A.D. event, but this arc is the cream of the crop. Matt, Cafu, Andrew, and crew did a great job with this story, adding depth and beauty beyond my wildest expectations. 6 out of 5 stars.
STORY BY Matt Kindt
ART BY Cafu
COLORS BY Andrew Dalhouse
LETTERS BY Dave Lanphear