Valiant Entertainment 2016
Written by Matt Kindt
Illustrated by Clayton Crain
Lettered by Dave Lanphear
Rai was once the spirit guardian of New Japan. Created by a sentient A.I. named Father, he was tasked with protecting the country. But when Rai discovered Father’s corruption and cruelty, he joined a rebellion. Father learned of Rai’s betrayal and cast him down to Earth. In Rai’s absence, the rebels struck a blow to Father when they planted a viral bomb in his control center, damaging his ability to maintain autocratic control over the nation. Now, Rai has made his way back to New Japan with the help of the Eternal Warrior and Lemur, and hopes to save the country from Father’s tyranny. But Father has different plans...
I really liked the opening and the look at what Father created and the way he went about it. Using a disposable source of labour that he imbued with thought. Right from the start you knew that eventually something would happen and they would rise up and fight against him hence the reason for Rai. We’ve seen the stories of the Rai’s that have come and gone already and how they have a shelf life before free will enters the picture and has to be erased as well only Father has underestimated his latest “child.” It really does sum up everything we need to know to date as why this mad ruler needs to be taken out of the game.
Leave it to Lula and Geo to be the ones who bring Rai the backup he so desperately needs upon his return to New Japan. The girls are resourceful and intelligent and the characterization and possible revelation by Matt keep fleshing out the denizens of this era so nicely.
While much of this issue is a huge fight scene after another it does leave the reader with a few burning questions. One Father is not stupid by any stretch of the imagination and he has to have failsafes in place should an uprising like this occur and two even should majority of those who live on New Japan survive the coming cataclysm how will they be able to rule themselves moving forward? This is more an epic beginning to something else that’s coming as the world is irrevocably changed and sets the stage for what’s next. It’s fun, exciting and full of what ifs and what could be so that we’re left with bated breath as to what the true final outcome of all this could be.
Then there’s what Clayton is capable of doing with these interiors. I mean wow the use of computers to create such visually stunning artwork has come a long way. Of course his eye for storytelling, his driving force, remains so strong and the way the book flows through it’s pages and panels is beautiful to see. The attention to detail he brings to the table and the use of backgrounds, of shadow and light plus the use of angles and perspective leave you feeling like your amidst the battles themselves.
Is this the final showdown between Rai and Father? I’m not sure that it is and hopefully there will be more revelations next issue and even further down the road, one that will say whose brainwaves Father was patterned after. We know who I think it is and I stand firm in my belief as it fits in my mind. There is a time when the child must become the parent and the student a teacher and the way Matt is doing that here is incredible to witness.
4001 A.D. has never been more thrilling to be a part of as it is now and here’s hoping that the adventures don’t end next month but will continue to forge new and exciting tales.