May 5, 2016

Valiant Reviews: 4001 A.D. #1

4001_001_COVER-A_CRAIN4001 A.D. #1
Publisher: Valiant
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist(s): Clayton Crain & David Mack
Cover: Clayton Crain

The past twelve issues of Rai have been leading up to this event and the stakes are now higher for New Japan and Rai. With an introduction that welcomes any new reader, Kindt firmly plants you into this future where Father is killing off people of New Japan by ejecting populated sections to plummet back to Earth all to stave off the virus that was made to kill him. Making it perfectly clear that his survival is paramount. So Rai will not sit by and watch his people perish and with some help he’s going back to New Japan to confront Father.

Easing a potential new reader into this world is first priority which is done in three wonderfully drawn pages by David Mack. This is something that Valiant continues to do almost better than any other publisher and not just for event books either. Kindt frames the type of villain Rai and the others will face while giving some weight to the story. And with each page he makes sure that you want to stay till the end. Once Kindt gets things going, we end up spending time with Lula and that she’s carrying a lot of guilt from what her and Rai did to Father. Which provides some nice inner conflict as the good thing that was done is now the reason for so many people dying. Rai has similar issues though he’s got a clear objective. We also get to see Gilad, The Eternal Warrior, as an even grumpier old man ready to fight at his ally’s side.

As good as this issue is, there was a moment where it seemed as if we were getting too much of Luna. This sequence probably worked better with readers who had a connection with the character from the Rai series but for someone like myself it just felt a little too long.

David Mack begins the visual look of the story which is just as welcoming as the narrative. It’s a beautifully drawn collection of images that enhance the prologue before you get even more great art by Crain. Their two styles couldn’t be any more different but for this story each one brings thier strengths to effective sequential storytellin. The sleek, high tech look of New Japan is just great to come back to and Crain even delivers some giant robot dragon action!

Since this story is a direct result of events in Rai there was the question of whether or not this could or should stand on it’s own. Why not just make this Rai #13, right?  Well, Valiant’s event stories have been a refreshing addition to the world of comics and 4001 A.D. looks to continue that streak. It’s worth checking out if you need to scratch that sci-fi itch where you get to see giant robots throw down!

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