Rai #6 is the start of a new arc for the cyborg ronin releasing this week by Valiant Entertainment team of Dan Abnett, Juan José Ryp, Andrew Dalhouse, and Dave Sharpe.
Following cyborg brothers, Rai and Raijin, they are on a quest to eliminate their AI creator’s backups. Rai’s activities from previous storylines, however, give him a divisive reputation. To some, he’s a hero doing what’s necessary; to others, he single-mindedly ignores the smaller problems.
Rai #6 Story
Rai #6 focuses mostly on the title character’s divisive in-universe reputation. It’s something Abnett makes use of since the beginning of Fallen World. The positronic legionnaires that Rai and Raijin encounter looks to Rai as their savior. For his efforts in liberating them from Father, they live in peace with humans, something Rai tries to do earlier but encounters difficulty. Yet a more difficult challenge comes from Rai’s task to eliminate Father. Not that it seems impossible, Rai proves himself highly capable in the opening action sequence. It’s how continues to display tunnel vision in his quest; practically ignoring the pleas of the legionnaires. That is until Raijin’s own plea gets the brother’s into a cliffhanger.
Rai #6 features the realistically rough pencils and ink from José Ryp. The scenes in the rain alone feel like they have weight. As the raindrops fall, the weight of them in comparison to the bold inks of the lead legionnaire Tekus really tell the important elements of this arc. It’s also why the shifting colors from uniform blues, greens, and reds of the setting and legionnaires against the chaotic colors of wild hybrid mutants feel so artistic. Especially when half of the panels on one page get a red accent to highlight the bloodshed. The act is a full display of orderly civilization against an uncompromising nature. It’s also why Rai’s first appearance in the issue with his illusory duplication and clean, bright glow feel godly.
Sharpe displays the practicality of juggling multiple series in Rai #6. Each word balloon is contained within their panels unless they directly lead to the next, never getting in the way of the action. Occasionally there are moments of higher emotion; shouting in rejoice is higher and orderly while spitting out a bug is chaotic. The Caption boxes meanwhile always change to fit the coloring of the backgrounds so that they never blend in. Wordmarks, in the meantime, are extensions of character natures. Repeating footsteps match the legionnaires while growling matches the hybrid mutants.
Rai #6 Is Only A Beginning
Rai #6 can serve as a new place to jump into as this new arc builds up to what hopefully becomes a good character arc even if it is only to see a bigger world where Rai isn’t just a cyborg Yojimbo. With such a creative team behind him, there are no insignificant points.