So far this event has been outstanding, which is not a surprising feat from Valiant Entertainment. The entire 4001 A.D. arc is well thought out and incredibly relatable to the world we live in. Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain are doing wonders with the story, and this issue is no exception. From beginning to end my attention was unwavering, captivated by Matt’s narrative and Clayton’s visual interpretation. While there were a few moments of obscurity and redundancy, overall I feel that this book is well worth anyone’s time and money. In fact, the introduction to the issue, alone, makes it all worth it.
Matt and Clayton put together this beautiful four page analogy between life in New Japan and our everyday existence. The way these two work in tandem, melding words and pictures, brought forth a powerful message to how we, as a capitalist society, view the lower class. It is really something that you would have to read for yourself to get the full impression. I personally found it hauntingly relatable, which seems to be the common element of this event. Lucky for us, though, Matt is an amazing writer and somehow managed to find the light among this dark, and kind of depressing, issue. The way he used Lulu and the Geomancer’s banter, as a way to provide relief from the almost overbearing theme, was brilliant. I also loved the fact that he also found a way to naturally bring in a few big names from the Valiant Universe to help Rai, and company, fight off Father’s Dragon Sentries. One in particular is one of my all time favorite Valiant characters, who conducted battle while speaking in haikus.
My one giant complaint from Matt is the plot device he used to settle Rai’s resolve. In general that device, which I will not spoil, is overused and, to be honest, unnecessary. Since the beginning of this event Father has been slaughtering innocent lives to hold onto power, and that alone should be enough to give Rai motivation for his actions. Shortly after this, Matt goes back to his usual self; and he concludes the issue with a fantastically fun nursery rhyme rendition of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, which setup for the concluding issue next month perfectly. I don’t know what has sparked this recent fire of beautiful poetry in Matt’s scripts lately, but I hope it never dies.
As far as Clayton’s contribution, it was, like always, outstanding. I know I have mentioned this before, probably more than once, but one of my favorite aspects of his work are the backgrounds. They are not only filled to the gutters, but they are also packed with life. It is hard enough to make sure that your focal characters do not stagnate, let alone give the illusion of movement to your backgrounds. In addition to that, this also maybe his best issue yet with character expressions. Whenever Clayton did zoomed shots of Lulu, or the Geomancer, or the army they summed to help Rai, I had to take a few moments to soak it all in. These panels were crisp and unencumbered. A testament to Clayton’s amazing talent. There were a few panel for the fight scenes against Father’s horde that were terse. There was so much happening, so many dragons, that I had trouble focusing. But I’d like to think that this was a story telling tool used to describe the chaos in war.
Overall, Matt and Clayton’s collaboration just gets better with each passing issue. This is an incredible event, that stems from a well constructed theme. If you are not buying these issue, you need to. The art is gorgeous, and the writing is engaging. Well worth your $12 dollars. Hell, I even suggest gathering all of the tie-ins, but that is just one man’s opinion. I give this issue 5 out of 5 stars.
STORY BY Matt Kindt
ART BY Clayton Crain