Valiant Entertainment 2019
Written by Dan Abnett
Illustrated by Juan José Ryp
Coloured by Andrew Dalhouse
Lettered by Dave Sharpe
The cyborg samurai Rai’s consciousness becomes trapped in cyberspace! Will he find his way back before being obliterated from existence?
Wow I have to say that this issue did wonders for me when it comes to characterisation and further the story & plot development. Over the past two issues I have remarked on how the two of them travelling together had made me feel and this issue hammers home that for all intents and purposes this is that father/son dynamic. Raijin wants things to proceed in a natural way thanks to the bond they share as brothers, while Rai wants to solely rely upon his humanity. The two will bring out the parts in each that they will need to survive and by the time it comes to face father well we'll see what happens.
Dan is one of my favourite go to writers and he's written so many franchises that I love so to see him exploring the various aspects of this world is so much fun. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is laid down by a master. I have to say that I was more than a little surprised by how we saw things happen this issue and that made me appreciate the writing even more. The character development we see here is utterly phenomenal. I feel like we are watching them grow, change and evolve before our eyes in how they act and react to the situations and circumstances they find themselves in. the pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing the twists and turns along the way it builds just the right kind of tension and intrigue in the reader. With how the book is structured and how we see the ebb & flow of the story it's no wonder Valiant has never been in better hands.
This issue does remind us of a few things and that is Rai has left a life behind in order to seek Father out and destroy him. While there is still a whole wide world out I am anxiously awaiting the time for us to encounter them too. I mean I would love to see Juan José Ryp to tackle the tree village and that indoor facility that was overgrown in the green.
Speak of Juan José what this man can do with his hands, eyes and mind just blows me away every single time I see his work. The linework we see and how the varying weights are utilised to create this level and quality in the attention to detail is mindbogglingly good. There are techniques utilised throughout that bring us old school, current and future of illustration in every single page here. The way we see the care in the backgrounds and how they work within the composition inside the panels to bring us depth perception, scale and that overall sense of size and scope to the book is genius. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show such a masterful eye for storytelling. The colour work is exemplary to say the least. How we see the various hues and tones within any given colour create shading, highlights and shadow work is a beautiful thing to see. The armour, the scales and the mindscape showcase this innate understanding of how to utilise the colours. I will also say this, Rai's long hair in a ponytail and the Doctor Who scarf and jacket make me smile all day long.
Rai was never really one of my favourite characters but the treatment we've seen this far into the planets future has completely and utterly changed my opinion of him. This iteration has quickly risen the ranks to one of my absolute favourites. This is a great example of how to implement an idea and find creative teams to bring that vision to life.