Reading the third installment of Rai you get the sense that writer Dan Abnett is going to emotionally punch you in the face in every issue. The map of the Raijin System gives the reader an idea of where Rai and his older brother Raijin are headed. They’re on a quest to eradicate their father in hopes of giving humanity a chance to exist. Of course there are forces that want to stop them. But what this map shows are the other threats awaiting the brothers. That’s why when Rai shuts down, both Raijin and the reader are immediately thrown into a panic.
For most of the comic-book Raijin is left to both care and attempt to revive Rai. As day turns to evening he’s left with his thoughts and a lot of questions. The narrative is told from the points of view of both brothers, but since their telepathic communication is compromised the only ones who have the complete picture of the situation is the reader. What one wonders is will Rai alleviate Raijin’s fears? Also part of what Rai does to take Father down is so he won’t be tracked, but there is that aspect of him that wants to be fully human. Is it that he doesn’t trust his inorganic self, the part of him that makes him a sort of super-being? Does he trust anything with artificial intelligence or does he believe that he can be selective? One other looming question is what will Rai do with Raijin if they defeat Father? Though Raijin is older, he’s a model that isn’t as advanced as Rai. Raijin was created to be an ambassador and while his skills are impressive particularly in this issue, he’s not as powerful as his ‘little brother.’ Will Rai destroy his only real family?
There are other problems looming as well. Rai can be shut down, that’s problematic. What’s more the vulnerability of both rai’s reveals a relationship that Rai doesn’t seem ready to explore. His driving objective to eliminate their father makes Rai think that he can push all the important issues to the back. At some point on this journey as Raijin reminds Rai and the reader they’re going to have to have a discussion. This is emphasized with the artwork of Juan Jose Ryp, Andrew Dolhouse and Dave Sharpe through the vibrant use of color even in the night scenes show the anxiety of the surrounding dangers. Roaming dinosaurs, hooded enemies, the Red King, those floating glob green things are all gathering against Rai. It’s visually exciting.
Valiant Comics is calling 2020 the year of heroes. An amendment should be the year of eclectic heroes since the major characters in each comic-book reveal in their own way how to be a champion. In Rai’s case he wants to save the human race from his creator, but what will be left when the destruction of Father causes a vacuum? In the end you want Raijin to survive. It could help, in a bizarre way to fulfill Rai’s wish of becoming a real boy.