With the quality of the first issue, it should come to no surprise that 4001A.D. #2 is another spectacular issue from writer Matt Kindt and artist Clayton Crain. There is a bit of a lull at the beginning where Matt builds up momentum, but by the end he is banging on all cylinders. And Clayton… Well he just continues on with his awe-inspiring greatness, improving with each succeeding issue over at Valiant.
Like every great story, there has to be a middle; a spot between story beats. For me that is what the first half of this issue felt like. While the epic space battle between Rai, along with Gilad and Lemur in an X-O Knight Armor, and the island-nation of New Japan, now a giant dragon controlled by Father, was visually jaw-dropping, I felt like the writing was a bit dull. Not saying it was total garbage, mind you. Matt had some excellent moments in the beginning, like Father talking to the computer about which sectors to eject into space, or Rai realizing that the battle is doing more harm than good. For me, though, there were just too many cliche lines during the battle scenes.
Thankfully this ended as soon as we got to Lulu’s part of the story. Matt has done such a great job with her as a character; giving us a clear timeline documenting her adolescent naivety turning into pragmatism. Which he has definitely put on a pedestal in these last two issues. A clear display of his talent in character development. From this point in the issue on, Matt writes this incredible build up of events driving towards the future conflict to come; one of which pulled hard at my heartstrings. I won’t spoil anything, but I am really rooting for Lulu and the Geomancer. Spylocke is still in the void as far as we know. Which Matt is using as a great mystery device, and done beautifully I might add.
While we are on the subject of beauty, let’s move on to Matt’s partner in crime, Clayton Crain. I seriously cannot write enough about the talent this man possesses. Even earlier in this review I talk about how breathtaking his space fight between the Rai and Father was. What is even more impressive, to me, is the fact that he only really used 2 or three colors for those first few pages. There was a bit of a hiccup with the close-up on the X-O Armor Hand where you could not really tell what was happening, but in the big scheme of things the end result was all the really mattered (when you read this issue, you will understand what this means).
The rest of this issue just grew from that battle in the void. Clayton did a fantastic job emulating the chaos among the denizens of New Japan as Lulu narrowly escapes ejection. He really imparts this feeling of stress and anxiety that New Japan is experiencing. Another thing that I noticed, and it permeates his entire run with Rai too, is how he captures the massiveness of the county. His buildings, sectors, hell– even the gigantic X-O Armor, dwarf the populace, which, for me, gives a real sense of hopelessness that I feel day-in and day-out. This is something he capitalizes on with this issue’s cliffhanger, that is drenched in alarming reds. Big thank you to Clayton for that beautiful piece of storytelling and relatability.
So far, 4001A.D. has been my favorite summer event of the year, from any comic book company. Co-creators Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain have pulled together all of their resources, along with other great writers and artists at Valiant, to bring us this great epic. This is this kind of unique writing, and artistic talent that the industry desperately needs to emulate. And even with the rocky start, the ending easily earns this issue 4 out of 5 stars. Everyone needs to be buying this crossover. If you are curious about the previous 3 event issues, check out their review I did to help solidify your purchase. And stay tuned for more to come.
Written by MATT KINDT
Art by CLAYTON CRAIN