A few weeks ago saw the conclusion to Valiant Entertainment’s summer event, 4001 A.D.
First off, let me tell you that I loved this story! I enjoyed everything that Valiant published for the 4001 A.D series, but I just don’t feel that this really qualifies as an “event”, at least in the way that most comic fans are used to.
To start off, let me give you a rundown of how this “event” was organized. The main story, told in 4001 A.D, involves a conflict between Father, the AI the space station that is New Japan, and Rai, Father’s protector over New Japan and his weapon against any who oppose him. You can learn everything leading up to this event in the first 12 issues of Rai, which has been collected in an exquisite hardcover deluxe collection. Without getting into too many specifics, Rai joins forces with the future Gilad, the Eternal Warrior and together they battle their way back onto New Japan and defeat Father, who has succumb to a virus and is separating sections of New Japan and sending them crashing to Earth. If you just want to know about the 4001 A.D storyline, proper, all you really need to read are these 4 issues.
The second story is told within the pages of Rai. Spanning issue 13 through issue 16, we actually get a glimpse into the past and learn about the first Rai, a female Rai and the Rai before our current hero. Overall, these issues have nothing to do with the main “event”, but do help flesh out the setting and show us what some of the other Rai’s were like. Issue 16 is important, because it takes place directly before issue 1 and sets up the entire series.
The last, and mostly fringe, stories are told within the various one-shots that involve the other heroes of the Valiant Universe. In the X-O Manowar issue, we learn about the origin of the X-O Mecha that Rai and Gilad use to get back to New Japan. In the Bloodshot issue, you discover that Bloodshot’s nanites have evolved past their original intent and are being on their own. In the Shadowman issue, we learn about an Earth city with a connection to the Deadside, and the formation of a new Shadow person. Lastly, in War Mother, we’re introduced to a new character, a hunter and scavenger of New Japan tech with a sentient rifle. With the exception of the X-O Manowar and Bloodshot issues, I believe that the stories told in Shadowman and War Mother will become a bigger part of Rai’s world come 4002 A.D.
So, with a third of the “events” issues taking place in the past, and the other third taking place on Earth, in separate communities, I feel that this is not a normal comic “event”. While this doesn’t change my opinion of the overall story or my love affair with Valiant, I feel that comic companies need “events” to sell titles and get comic shops interested in buying odd, random one-shots and new mini-series. I wish comics were in a different place right now, but they aren’t. Marvel is constantly doing massive, for over-reaching “events”, many of which are never completed on time, dragging on for months, while DC keeps reinventing itself in hope of catching up to Marvel’s numbers and sales. With these two big juggernauts out there, I can see why Valiant calls this little story, which takes place in the future of their universe, an “event”, because they need that boost, just to get shelf space.
I’m really, really tired of “events”! I remember when they used to be fun and exciting and rare. I can get behind what Valiant’s doing here, making the “event” accessible, by breaking the story up into groups, so that you don’t have to go broke reading everything, I just wish they would save the word, “event” for something bigger!