Futuristic Japanese hero Rai is at the center of Valiant Comics' big 2016 crossover, 4001 A.D. The story launches with a Free Comic Book Day special, and continues into a four-issue event series by Ninjak writer Matt Kindt and Rai artist Clayton Crain. The story is set to involve other Valiant heroes as well, but whether time travel is involved or it's just that a bunch of them are immortal is unclear at this time.

It's an interesting choice on Valiant's part to continue to focus on the 4001 AD setting, which was really only a part of the original 1990 Valiant Universe on account of Magnus: Robot Fighter. In its current incarnation, Valiant no longer owns the rights to Magnus, just the stuff they added to his mythology (like Rai), which means Magnus Robot Fighter is to Valiant what Rom Space Knight is to Marvel: gone forever, but leaving a trail of usable sci fi concepts in his wake.

Here's a (rather lengthy) synopsis from Valiant:

One hundred years from today, Father – the benevolent artificial intelligence that governs the island nation of Japan – will gain sentience. To defend its borders, Father will take drastic action by launching Japan into space…where its people can thrive in isolation, away from the overpopulated and resource-deprived planet below. Over the centuries, as New Japan orbits our increasingly unstable world, it will become a model society – one built on peace, prosperity…and Father's control.

A thousand years from today, Father will create the first Rai, founding a lineage of technologically enhanced heroes engineered to defend New Japan and sworn to protect it from all enemies. For hundreds of years into the future, the Rai will single-handedly enforce New Japan's justice well…and serve Father without question.

Now, at the dawn of 4001 A.D., the latest Rai is about to inherit the dark truth behind the origin of his kind…and discover the sinister secret at the heart of Father's existence. For New Japan to live, Earth must die…and as Rai challenges his former master for the first time in more than a millennium, the lone guardian of New Japan will be cast out of his own Father's kingdom…

Exiled from the only realm he's ever known, Rai now walks the ravaged world of 4001 A.D. in search of forgotten heroes like himself…on a mission to collect the last surviving legends of a broken planet…and to forge a rebellion with the power to bring the most advanced civilization in history crashing back down to Earth.


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