Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Review - 4001 A.D. #1 (@ValiantComics)


"Father is willing to destroy the body to save the mind..."

There are more and more advances being made in terms of robotics. And--inevitably--we'll reach a point where robots will likely exceed our own capabilities. Whether that's good or not remains to be seen, but it's arguable that morality will come into question. All that is in play in 4001 A.D. #1 from Valiant. The issue is written by Matt Kindt, illustrated by Clayton Crain and David Mack and lettered by Dave Lanphear.

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. Earth must rise. Father must fall. The war for the ultimate fate of humanity begins.

There's no question that Kindt is one of the hottest writers right now and 4001 A.D. #1 is no exception. Despite much of 4001 A.D. #1 being a set-up issue, Kindt doesn't let that stop him from crafting a pretty compelling narrative that clearly establishes Father as a monster of sorts. His pacing is very deliberate throughout the issue, methodically moving along with Lula and Rai as they struggle to survive in the new world Father is creating. And that world is terrifying, reflecting a very dystopian take on society that animes such as Psycho-Pass trade in where the benefits of the many outweigh the few. The dialogue exchanges between characters exemplify this too, with some characters seemingly more aware of the impending disaster as such while others view it as a necessity.

The artwork by Crain and Mack is very sleek and modern-looking. The duo do a fantastic job of capturing a pervasive sense of technophobia throughout the issue that blends perfectly with the script itself. The appearance of Father in contrast to another character like Lula is pretty stark and reinforced when Crain and Mack get the chance to illustrate New Japan literally falling apart. All the characters are very emotive and bear photo-realistic qualities to them that offers another layer of sophistication to the issue. And the colors are extremely moody throughout, with Crain and Mack relying on blues and pinks that remind the reader of the technological aspects of the book.

4001 A.D. #1 is a pretty brilliant first issue. The marriage between organic and robotic entities is handled pretty flawlessly, crafting a world that's easily believable as one on the brink of being torn apart. It's something Kindt uses masterfully to really establish the stakes of the series and help set the tone for remainder of the series. The artwork by Crain and Mack is atmospheric in a way that feels hauntingly realistic in some ways. 4001 A.D. #1 is setting up Valiant Universe to have a big, big summer and it's off to a great start.

4001 A.D. #1 is in stores now.

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