Rai the History of the Valiant Universe #1 is the perfect starting point for someone unfamiliar with their titles. Valiant’s comics are entrenched in history, they are complicated, and sometimes intertwined. While this is fun for readers who enjoy complicated, in-depth stories, it can be a bit intimidating for newbies. And that is why this issue was very good.
It begins after Rai has defeated Father, the A.I. that controlled New Japan, the floating city above Earth. Karana, a Geomancer, and Rai are told all about the history of the world. They learn of villains like Master Darque (the Necromancer) and Toyo Harada (a psiot), and the ways they tried to control people and the world. They learn of heroes like Aric of Dacia (X-O Manowar), Ninjak and Livewire, Archer and Armstrong, Bloodshot, Quantum and Woody, and Ivar the Timewalker. They also hear about organizations and teams like Unity, Harbinger Foundation, Peter Stanchek who could awaken other psiots and formed The Renegades with Faith, Torque, and others, and Project Rising Spirit. All of this leading up to New Japan.
It's a lengthy cast of characters, but Rafer Roberts was succinct in unfolding this history, providing enough details to make them memorable without overloading the script. New readers may want to give it a second read to absorb all of the details, but collectively, this was very good way to present the Valiant Universe.