Phoenix8008 was gracious enough to send me some extra copies he had acquired of various 90s Valiant titles in order to help jumpstart my reading of these runs.
To start off, I began with Rai and the Future Force, which ties into Magnus and the Malev War. So far, I've gotten through #15 of Rai and #30 of Magnus. So far, I've enjoyed this story. Ostrander has long been one of the most consistent solid writers in all of comics & Chen's and Califore's art has been terrific and dynamic.
Takao is the first Rai I've ever read of so I cannot compare him to Tohru. As such, I've found Takao to be an interesting character, made out to be a new revolutionary leader if only he can believe in himself. His Harbinger power is both his blessing and curse, in that his strength of his own convictions can also affect those around him. (Question though: the crystal he received from Mother Nike, was that some sort of focusing crystal needed for his ability? When it cracked in South Am, he was rather distraught over it) Still, an interesting dynamic for him.
Really starting to like Magnus. His partnership with Rai over how best to conquer the Malev has been something of a struggle, as Takao comes to grips with his new perceived role and Magnus' instinctive impulses to take the battle to the enemy. I was really surprised by his origin, an interesting way to tie this classic character into the Valiant Universe.
Leeja is interesting as well. She seems committed to Magnus yet her justifications for her time with Takao were surprising. It's always fun to see Gilad (his flashbacks of Nazi deathcamps caused by the sight of the Malev human slavecamps were handled quite well with disturbing art). X-O Commando , Tohru's wife, won over by the strength of Takao's belief, she seems intent on proving herself worthy. Elzy and Slagger are okay, their slang dialogue gets irritating after awhile. Intrigued by Spylocke who, like other shadowy characters, seems to have an agenda all his own.
So, why all the dislike for this title? Because of the title itself (which is wonderfully cheesy)? Because Takao is somehow not as good a Rai as Tohru? So far, I've found a good sci-fi story with some very interesting characters.
Lastly, Takao yelling 'Mindlock!' whenever he tries to take over a machine makes me chuckle.