Rai: The History of the Valiant Universe #1

Writer: Rafer Roberts
Artist: Francis Portela
Colors: Andrew Dalhouse
Publisher: Valiant

In the distant future, after the world is destroyed by war, humanity is kept alive by an AI called Father that controls them completely on the country of New Japan, orbiting above the planet’s surface. After Rai, a geomancer named Karana, and a knowledgeable old man defeat Father, they return to Earth to find the Book of the Geomancer, and discover the history of the world.

Truth be told, the story doesn’t exactly matter. It’s set dressing for what this comic really is, a walk through the history of the Valiant Universe, as the title might suggest. And getting this out of the way, as someone who knows nothing about the Valiant Universe, I got nothing out of this. If the intention was to try and draw new readers into Valiant, then I have to conclusively say that this comic is a failure, because I only left it confused and with no interest in any of what I’d just been told. If, however, this was meant as a look back for fans of the Valiant Universe before it moves onto a new stage, then it may have been successful.

This honestly puts me into a bit of a pickle. How do I review this? Do I just review what I got out of this? In that case, I might as well give it a 1 or a 0 because I got pretty much nothing out of this aside from some pretty artwork(and even then nothing spectacular), and I doubt that’d be different for anyone else not a fan of the Valiant Universe. Do I review it based on what I think fans of the Valiant Universe would think of it? Well, that isn’t really possible, since I’m not a fan and I don’t know anyone who is. Do I review it based solely on the merits of its writing and artwork? …Might as well.

The artwork by Francis Portela is lively and energetic, but as briefly stated above, nothing really worthy of note. Most of the issue is just characters sitting around talking, or single panel views of past events that really don’t have enough room to bring anything across to the reader. The characters are all very distinct from each other and there are some nice backgrounds, and it’s all accompanied by bright colors from Andrew Dalhouse, but there really isn’t much there.

The actual story is itself confusing as far as set dressing goes, and we get nothing about the three main characters as it’s just the old man talking for pretty much the whole time. There are brief snippets of dialogue in the one-panel flashes of past events, but they’re not much more than quips. Aside from that, it’s brought across dry and straight-faced and there isn’t much to say.

So, I got nothing out of it myself, I don’t know what fans would think of it, and there really isn’t much to talk about as far as writing and art are concerned… All I can really say is that I didn’t enjoy it that much, but if you’re interested in the history of Valiant, you might enjoy it a lot more than I did.

Rating: 2/5

More Information: For more information on Rai: The History of the Valiant Universe and Valiant, check out their website, twitter, and facebook page.

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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