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Review: 4001 A.D. #4

4001_004_COVER-D_TANThe 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!

First thing’s first – the final issue of a miniseries isn’t the place to start reading it, so expect some pretty minor spoilers for the previous issues from here on out. If you haven’t read the series, and you’re half curious then go and read it. It’s a good story with a brilliant ending and some of the best looking art that you’re likely to see in a comic this week.

That said, on with the rest of the review. I’ll try to keep spoilers to a minimum, but I’m making no promises.

The italicized text above is directly from a preview of the comic; usually, when a publisher says that nothing will be the same after a story, you’d be forgiven for thinking that they’re exaggerating the finale. That they’re building something that they can’t deliver – but here’s the thing” 4001 A.D. will change the face of the future of the Valiant universe. That’s not a needlessly hyperbolic statement,  it’s simply Valiant actually following through on what they promised us when they started teasing 4001 A.D. so many months ago. Since those teasers were released, the publisher has delivered tie-in comics that range from worth reading to frankly amazing, and a four-issue story that’s the culmination of the seeds sown in Rai over the past couple of years. 4001 A.D. has been a highly enjoyable event, but Matt Kindt and Clayton Crane have saved the best issue for last.

It’s not often that a miniseries billed as a Summer Event has an ending that doesn’t leave readers on a cliffhanger, but that’s exactly what we get here. Yes, there are seeds planted for the future of the Valiant Universe of 4001 A.D., but there’s nothing that leaves you feeling cheated that the series is over.

The biggest issue with the series was how heavily it relied on previous happenings within Rai – indeed, had Valiant turned  4001 A.D. into a five or six issue series by publishing Rai #11 and #12 as earlier issues in the series, then I feel it would have been that much stronger for readers who hadn’t been following Rai at all. Ultimately, however, that’s a fairly minor niggle when compared to how much I’ve been enjoying the story over the past four months.

Between Divinity II and this series, Matt Kindt has written some of the best comics I’ve read all summer, and his conclusion to 4001 A.D. solidifies the story as one of my favourite event style stories I’ve read in a long time.

Story: Matt Kindt Artist: Clayton Crane
Story: 9 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy the trade if you haven’t been reading it already

Valiant  provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review