You know how a good plot twist or development can blow your mind? Well, Clayton Crain's artwork continues to make my eyes explode. There's so many magnificent pages to gaze upon in RAI's third issue. We're once again treated to a slew of different locations in Japan's futuristic world and each one is sporting a unique and immersive atmosphere. It's seriously impressive how much effort goes into making each of these settings feel alive and different.
You will not be disappointed with this one if you want to see Rai slice and dice. Crain's action scenes are breathtaking and relentless. It's a brutal ballet of swords and dismemberment. Watching the agile character leap into action is beautiful and then the experience swiftly turns into a completely vicious and savage scene. There are so many panels that'll have you staring at the horrific way Rai has dispatched a Raddie.
Writer Matt Kindt keeps us thrilled with the first half of the chapter (he also elaborates on Rai's abilities) and then focuses purely on the story with the second half. It's a great way to keep us engaged the whole time. Crain makes even a potentially generic action scene look stunning and then we're thrown so many new and oh-so-juicy bits of information. Just like Rai, we're all trying to figure out what's going on and this third issue drops some big developments. Needless to say, it's more than enough to keep a tight hold on our interest and has us guessing what this all means.
Honestly, the dialogue is piled on a little too much in some scenes. Crain's art is phenomenal, so it's a bit of a bummer to have so many dialogue boxes covering up a fair amount of the panels and some of the lines just seemed unnecessary. A layout or two also took away from some of the artwork. There's one point where Rai throws a blade through a villain's head, but this shocking display is crammed in-between two other panels. We're new to this universe and I understand that means Kindt has to hold our hand and show us around, but it would be great if some of these scenes allowed Crain to move the story forward instead of having it all spelled out for us every step along the way.
Valiant has published some great comics and RAI is no exception. Kindt's doing an impressive job handling a massive amount of worldbuilding. This futuristic version of Japan clearly borrows elements from other memorable sci-fi tales (e.g. Blade Runner), but it's doing more than enough to standout and it's always fascinating to see more and more of this new environment. The writer's crafting a legitimately interesting character-driven mystery, as well. It's tough to feel an emotional connection to Rai just yet, but quite a few steps have been made to grasp our curiosity, keep us guessing about the bigger picture and wonder about the fate of this protagonist. Kindt has me hooked and I'm left wanting to see more and more reveals about this mystery. On top of that, he continues to prove that he's more than capable of moving the story forward while keeping events totally exhilarating, too. The action in this issue's a blast and kept my jaw dropped. Sure, I have some complaints, but those commendable qualities combined with Crain's spectacular pages make this yet another very engaging issue. I'm absolutely going to stick around to see what'll go down in the next chapter.