Have you ever read Neuromancer? You know, the cyber punk classic by William Gibson?
Reading Rai #1 is a lot like reading that.
Here’s my non-spoiler take on reading this comic for the first time.
This comic drops us right into the aftermath of the incident that incites this whole story. Something happens in Japan that hasn’t happened for one thousand years, and Rai has to get to figure out why this happened, and stop it from happening again.
This comic also drops us right into the future. There is no warning, and little explanation. We are left to discover what the future is like on our own, through the glimpses of it given to us in this issue. This is the part that is like Neuromancer, we get to discover the future by seeing it happen, rather than being told what it is like.
So the future. It’s incredible. Clayton Crain renders this thing like a madman. I wasn’t always the biggest fan of Clayton Crain’s other work in Harbinger Wars and in Eternal Warrior. Here though, it is stunning. Clayton’s art is the future. It captures the explosive energy and action when needed, and the atmosphere and tone of this world when needed.
When I get a little more time to sit down with this book, I’m going to do just that. I said to the Valiant folks at Wondercon that after looking at the preview pages, I felt like every page is an explosion of ideas. After reading the entire thing, I feel the same way about every page in the book.
Also, you’ve heard about this “Plus Edition” thing, right? It’s a version of the book with a bunch of backup features. These include two stories that give insight into some of the characters in the book, both fictional (within the future of Japan) and real. It also has an incredible map of Japan. If you can get your hands on this thing, it is worth the extra dollar. Get it.
This book is a hook. The story is a hook. It brings up a lot more questions than it answers, both for the reader, and for the character of Rai. I want to know more about the future, I want to know more about Japan, and I want to know more about Rai.
I am eagerly waiting for issue #2.