Rai #5 is a good jumping on point for new readers but also a great new beginning for previous ones as well.
Official Description from VALIANT:
In the aftermath of the devastating battle for 41st century Japan, Rai must pick up the pieces as he grapples with the startling truth about Father and his purpose. Will Rai remain a champion of the people or will he succumb to the same fate as the men who carried the mantle before him? And why is everyone looking at him so strangely?
Rai was one of the re-launches from Valiant that was immediately impressive and well received. Vol. 2 of the series kicks off with Rai #5 and writer Matt Kindt and artist Clayton Crain are spot on with the new issue. While jumping right into new Japan in 41st century is a bit overwhelming it remains a good place to begin for Rai now that he is aware of who he is and what a danger Father poses to new Japan. Rai walks a razor thin line and the tricky aspect for Kindt is to remain true to the circumstances from the first issues while altering our heroes point of view on it. Not an easy task but Kindt uses a great narrative device and other characters to guide readers through this new landscape.
Rai has a multitude of issues to contend with most notably disguising his true thoughts from Father and playing both sides of the fence with some very shady characters. Kindt also gives us more back story on Lula Lee, Rai’s admirer and sidekick, on this journey of discovery for both Lula and Rai. Lula is a nice sympathetic, warm contrast to the seemingly cold analytically nature of Rai. Kindt also introduces another, somewhat ominous, character but, like most of the players on the board, it’s not clear whether they are friend or foe or both. The ambiguous nature of all the characters in this new plot makes for careful analysis by readers and drives the mysterious nature of new Japan.
I can’t say enough great things about Crain beautiful and incredibly detailed digitally painted artwork. It gives the unique feel of this high-tech and futuristic world extra weight with his panels and designs. It’s a perfect fit for the story and a visually astounding for readers. Keep him on this book forever! There’s not a ton of action this issue but when it’s there Crain makes it rapid fire and no holds barred.
Rai #5 is another standout issue for this series and while new readers can jump on here I highly recommend getting the first four issues to get the full experience of this amazing Valiant story. Kindt and Crain are a team that gives us a future that’s wildly imaginative, exciting and scary all at the same time. Get Rai #5 or any issues in any form you can. It’s one of the best new Valiant titles and best new comic title from any publisher hands down.