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RAI (Graphic Novel) Review

If you’ve ever come across Valiant Entertainments’ RAI, but didn’t want to dive mid story-arc, have I got a recommendation for you…

RAI couldn't be bothered to step away from his broken down auto
we meet Rai in a great wasteland of the Sonora Desert, once home to North America

To get you started, RAI takes place in the 41st century. His purpose is to save the future. That’s not where he started though.

Backstory

In the time of the future, Japan is a booming metropolis overseen by a mysterious AI known as Father. RAI was chosen to be the spirit guardian of Japan by Father. RAI is actually a title, as well as a name. This RAI is the 10th in succession of RAI. RAI is half human, being born to a human mother and Father.

Our current RAI came to the realization of Father’s dictatorship ways, and rebelled. During his trials to overthrow Father, RAI became aware of his predecessor, the first RAI (goes by Raijin). RAI and Raijin were able to wound but not defeat Father. As such, Father has copies of his AI spread throughout the land, and if all these ‘offspring’ rejoin, Father will be once a gain at full strength, and try to once again rewrite the world the way he sees fit.

RAI and the Sonara Desert

We find our protagonist broken down in the Sonara Desert, having car trouble. RAI is a warrior in search of peace, and Raijin tends to see the world a bit too black and white, which sometimes gets him into hot water. Raijin’s less-then-stellar communications skills get him into trouble with the Anarcho-Baron clan.

Raijin is not always the kindest when addressing the locals
Raijin is not always the kindest when addressing the locals

This leads to Raijin reverting to tactical abilities while RAI focuses on trying to repair an old motor vehicle. Remembering what he is capable of, Raijin quickly dispatches the clan, and the duo are available to pick from a slew of vehicles in better condition.

What’s not to be expected in the life of a hero?

This was pretty entertaining until we see just what our half-human is capable of, when the clan returns with reinforcements. All the while, Raijin sits at a bar working on making small talk with the local bartender. The following five pages display just how much RAI should not be messed with, unless you are properly skilled.

How About Some Sugar?

Our spiritual guardians find themselves in a showhome. A futuristic version of a smart home, complete with a self-replicating AI to tend to your every need. Only one problem with that though: she won’t let you leave. Add to that, she is protecting one of Father’s AI backups.

Dealing with the showhome and the Anarcho-Baron clan, has put off strong enough energy signals that Father’s hunting parties now know where to find our heroes. Once again, the good guys need to cover their tracks and run for cover.

To say that the next panel was expected would be a complete lie. Finding RAI comatose behind the wheel of a parked car, with a stampede of cybernetically-coded dinosaurs heading his way, was a complete shock. Luckily he has his guardian Raijin with him, so things don’t go too terribly wrong. Old friends asking for help, once again betraying his location. What’s not to be expected in the life of a hero?

Once again on the move, we find our heroes heading to a bio-diverse farming commune in search of another of Father’s AI backups. Once inside we find that the proprietor of this commune seems to know an awful lot about them. And we quickly learn why: Gilad is already present here, and with his Geomancer, aiding the farming team. However, with the wake of chaos that is following RAI and Raijin these days, Gilad will need to pick up his sword before long!

Final Thoughts

Although RAI is at best only half human, you have to admire his striving to live like a normal human. Denying himself access to some of his more digitally-enhanced abilities, fighting like a human warrior from the eras of old. I love his asthetic of a wondering monk, knowing he needs very little to accomplish his goals.

The Grand Scheme

Story - 85%
Artwork - 93%
Originality - 95%

91%

Grandiose

If you haven't picked up RAI yet, you really should! This was my first foray into the title, and it certainly won't be my last. I need to see if RAI can really accomplish his goals, while striving to be more human than cyborg.

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About Mack

A fan of media on multiple platforms, I am always watching or playing something! Who knows what I will be on to next?

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