All good things must come to an end and that includes stories in comics. Hard to believe with how many serial stories there are (I’m looking at you big time superheroes), but some publishers understand to satisfy a reader you need an ending. This week part 4 of 4001 A.D. arrives, but is it good?
4001 A.D. #4 (Valiant Entertainment)
So what’s it about? The Valiant summary (as well as our full preview) reads:
The ultimate battle is here as Rai and Father clash among the stars for the final fate of the future…and Earth along with it! As New Japan’s despotic ruler and its former protector enter their final showdown, will the orbiting satellite nation finally fall back to Earth? As the war for 4001 A.D. claims lives on both sides, who will live to greet the brave new world that lies ahead? And what will become of Rai, of Father, and civilization itself? The Valiant Universe of 4001 A.D. is forever changed right here as forces new and old prepare to rise from the ashes of New Japan!
Why does this book matter?
This has been, by all accounts, a very poetic narrative with some incredibly slick visuals. By all accounts it has served to remind us even human beings can be robots.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
It opens with a nice two page summary of what is going on.
Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain wrap things up in an epic final showdown sort of way as Rai takes on the Father. The first two pages perfectly remind us the stakes in play and what has happened before as the issue cuts to Rai determining if he should lay the final blow down on dear old dad. This allows Kindt to give Rai a final peace with Father and get the idea inside the reader’s head that though humans suck and ruin everything we should be in control of that fate.
Crain does another fantastic job with the art. Whenever spaceships are involved you’re in for some jaw dropping good panels/pages; 4001 A.D. #4 delivers two double page splashes that are a science fiction nerd’s dream come true as they reveal how humanity rebuilds on Earth. The scenes are wildly different from each other – to convey how humanity can populate the coldest terrain or the deepest oceans. Each is incredibly inventive and quite the spectacle. The opening battle between Rai and Father also continues the outer space techno nightmare of the New Japan breaking up well too; Father looks hulking and frightening and Rai somehow more heroic in his simplicity.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I was surprised to see Father take on Rai in the first few pages since the cliffhanger seemed to suggest he was done for. While this sequence does hammer home Rai’s belief in humanity, I’m not sure we needed it and it makes the issue feel a bit padded out. When this book is collected it’ll feel right at home I’m sure, but as a single issue it doesn’t offer quite enough narratively speaking.
Nobody can draw smashed up spaceships like Crain.
Is It Good?
4001 A.D. #4 is the perfect epilogue issue. We get at the core of Rai’s motivation, see some truly awe inspiring science fiction scenes, and get a good sense of where the story can go from here.