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Tag - 4001 A.D.

4LN Comic Review – 4001 A.D.: War Mother #1

Series: 4001 A.D.
Written by Fred Van Lente
Art by Tomás Giorello
Colors by Brian Reber
Publiher: Valiant Comics

Summary from Comixology: “Witness the battle-scarred debut of Valiant’s top-secret new hero! As the war for 4001 A.D. rages, the coming of War Mother starts now in all-new standalone adventure torn from the pages of the summer’s biggest comics event! In the 41st century, much of the planet has been reduced to a barren wasteland. New Japan orbits the Earth as a floating oasis that towers over the ashes of the old world. The survivors of this desolate new age, robbed of the planet’s once-lush natural resources, must endure great hardships to survive. Amidst the devastation, one outpost of scientific knowledge has thrived by adhering to a strict code of isolation. But even the denizens of this walled city must venture out into the wasteland to gather supplies from the remnants of what was. This task is designated to one and one alone: War Mother. But all is not peaceful, even in New Japan. When the space-faring empire begins jettisoning city-sized sectors to Earth during the onset of a civil war, War Mother is called upon with a new mission: mega-salvage! Armed with a newly born sentient sniper rifle, War Mother is a one-woman army bent on sacking the crash-landed sector’s technology-laden debris for anything of value to her tribe. But, as calm turns to chaos, Sector 8146 will reveal a telling secret about Earth’s true order that will collide War Mother against her community, her code, and her calling?and bring destruction down upon one of humanity’s last surviving outposts of order. Out of the ashes of the summer’s most ambitious crossover event, New York Times best-selling writer Fred Van Lente (GENERATION ZERO) and spectacular rising star Tomas Giorello (Conan) introduce the Valiant Universe to the boldest new hero of this century or the next when War Mother makes her history-shattering debut!”

4001 A.D.: War Mother #1

Cover A by DAVID MACK

Of all the 4001 A.D. one-shots, I anticipated this one the most. Well, maybe it was a tie between this and Shadowman, but nonetheless I have been eagerly awaiting the release of War Mother. There’s just something about a strong female character who kicks ass and vanquishes her foes. I don’t know how to explain it, or why it captivates me so much. It just does.

I love that the title is War MOTHER, and not something obvious and cheesy like, Lady Murder, or Death Queen, or Warrioress. (Yes, Autocorrect, you’re right. That isn’t a word.) I appreciate Valiant having the foresight and intuition to let the characters banner reflect the most powerful thing about women, which is their ability to give life. I mean, they’re f***ing superheroes for Chrissake. (No, Autocorrect, you’re wrong. That is a word, and I googled it to be sure.) Women grow humans inside of their body and then birth them. I’ve watched my own wife go through it three times and it is by far the most incredible human attribute and we dudes just sit there like, “Uh, I… I can pee standing up…?” The idea of a War Mother, a woman built and designed to birth war, or at the very least be the sole protector of an entire city, is deeply and profoundly satisfying.

Cover B by JELENA KEVIC DJURDJEVIC

War Mother feels like a flawlessly original character influenced by some iconic classic characters. I’d say there’s a little bit of Frank Castle in there, crossed with some Furiosa, and even a little of Valiant’s own Eternal Warrior. But I noticed a little Ghost Rider maybe too. That sounds like a stretch, right? I’ll explain. So, War Mother’s “sentient sniper rifle”, which she calls FLACO, is fully brought to life when she partners it with her targeting interface, which a small device that looks similar to an iPhone. When that is locked into the rifle it becomes aware and she can communicate with it. One of the things I love about the Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance film is when Johnny uses the spirit to take over a giant mining machine and proceeds to lay waste to all the guys attacking him. I like the idea of him being able to utilize the spirit to take control of any vehicle, not just a motorcycle. I see the same possibilities here with War Mother. You could put a bazooka in her hands, or a drop her in a big-ass tank and she could turn all her ensuing enemies to ash.

I’ll say this though, I look forward to more from this character because I’d really love a story-arc where she has to manage a tough situation without Flaco or her targeting interface. I know I’m getting WAY ahead of myself here, but I just thing it would be exciting to see how she handles things without those two at her behest.

 

Cover C by CARY NORD

The artwork of War Mother is handled by Tomás Giorello, who’s previously done work on Batman and Robin, Green Lantern, and the Star Wars comics from Dark Horse. He’s also done covers for Bloodshot Reborn and Wrath of the Eternal Warrior, so some of you Valiant fans may recognize his work from that. I really love his style. It seems like it’s got a little John Romita Jr. influence to it, but it doesn’t feel blocky like JRR’s form does. There are some absolutely beautiful panels, one in particular where this huge, underground dwelling creature comes erupting from the dirt to attack War Mother, where Giorello’s detailed line-work is perfectly accentuated by Brian Reber’s colors and the whole page feels like it’s jumping out at you. It makes you hope to see more from this team in the future.

Character Design Variant by ANDRES GUINALDO

If you haven’t been reading Valiant’s 4001 A.D. event, then I strongly urge you to head down to your local comic shop and pick up all the issues, but even if you don’t read it, you can still read this story and not be lost. There’s enough of a recap to let you know what’s going on so that you don’t feel lost. The story is self-contained as much as it can be, and even leaves some mystery in the past so that not only could we get some great ongoing stories from War Mother, but Valiant has left themselves room to explore her origins as well.

Do yourself a favor a pick up this comic. Fred Van Lente nails the story and the tone, and the art team of Giorello and Reber paint a gorgeous scenery and cast of characters. 4001 A.D.: War Mother #1 hits comic shops tomorrow, or you can click the link at the top of the page to get it digitally from Comixology.

 

Music Pairing –

I recommend pairing Danish black metal songstress Myrkur with War Mother #1. Her music makes for a fantastic soundtrack to the story.

 

EXCLUSIVE Interview with Chance Butler, Valiant Cover Artist

If you haven’t been reading Valiant’s 4001 A.D. event, you really need to. It has been spectacular thus far, and the hits just keep on coming.  Each main issue has a plethora of fantastic covers, and one in particular has been gaining some attention.  I am speaking, of course, about the 4001 A.D. Action Figure variants designed by our good pal Chance Butler from ComicCollectorLive.com.  We were lucky enough to sit down with Chance to talk about where he gets his love of comics, what it’s like to have his cover art published by Valiant Comics, and what goes into creating the fantastic Action Figure variants.  Enjoy!

 

4LN – When did you first get into comics?

Chance Butler – Well, my dad has always been a collector so it was pretty much decided for me at birth! Before I could read I would flip through his Amazing Spider-Man collection and look at the pictures. I always thought it was interesting. As I got older I started reading and started collecting my own comics. I really liked to collect Ben Reilly when I was young… I think it was that sweet costume.

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4001 A.D. #1 CCL Variant

 

4LN – Do you recall any specific moment that you realized you had a talent for art?

CB – I do actually! I remember grabbing a Star Wars coloring book and a blank sheet of paper and trying to draw Yoda just like the coloring book had him printed. I finished my (somewhat crude but good for a 6 year old) Yoda drawing and proudly presented it to my parents who then hung it up on the fridge for everyone to admire (pretend to like).

4LN – Was comic book art something you were always interested in doing?

CB – Well, as I got older comics stuck with me. I would spend my time in school doodling superheroes and working on anatomy instead of paying attention. That didn’t really help my game in high school much. Turns out girls don’t like drawings of Spider-Man… but now I’m just rambling.

I certainly loved drawing comic characters. I never really anticipated being able to draw for an actual publisher, it was just something I did in my free time. I always wanted to be a graphic designer so it was really cool to get to do these action figure variants. I got to kind of merge my graphic design and art skills.

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4001 A.D. #2 CCL Variant

 

4LN – The covers you’ve designed for the Comic Collector Live variants of Valiant Comics’ “4001 A.D.” are the first time you’ve worked with a major publisher. What has that experience been like for you?

CB – It’s definitely been a positive experience, and I’m thankful for the opportunity that Comic Collector Live gave me. Working with Valiant is awesome, they’re a bunch of geeks and you can tell they really care about their fans and the content they produce. Discussing ideas with them is very akin to a bunch of guys sitting in a living room eating pizza and talking about how awesome it would be for X-O Manowar to be a deluxe giant sized figure in a big box. And then someone’s mom walks in and asks us to please put our drinks on coasters for like, the fourth time. And she just stands there while we remain silent because we don’t want her to call us lame for talking about action figures. At least that’s how I imagined it in my head when we were emailing back and forth.

4LN – What kind of effort has gone into designing the covers? Have you had to re-familiarize yourself with any of the Valiant characters for inspiration?

CB – The covers are a two-step process really. Half of it is trying to create a realistic looking action figure box, and the other half is producing the art to go in/on that box. The most effort goes into the portraits. I learned something new with each one, and this fourth one sure is puuurty!

You know, I’ve been a big Rai fan for a while now so I was pretty confident with him as the first cover, but X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, and Eternal Warrior are new to me! I enjoyed researching the characters and learning their quirks. I have to say, since doing these covers I have become a pretty big Bloodshot fan!

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4001 A.D. #3 CCL Variant

 

4LN – Two of your “4001 A.D.” covers are officially out, the third one will drop in July, and the final cover will hit comic shop stands in August. Do you have other work on the horizon we should be on the lookout for?

At the moment, no. But I don’t think you’ll be seeing the last of me just yet! Do keep an eye out for my ad for Comic Collector Live. It’s in every DC title for the month of June!

 

Lightning Round:

4LN – What is your favorite single issue of a comic?

CB – Uncanny X-Force 35. That whole run was great but that one issue gets me.

4LN – What is your dream mode of transportation?

CB -Flight! But not the lame plane kind, the cool “I have wings” kind!

4LN – What’s your favorite way to kill time?

CB -PC gaming!

4LN – Star Wars or Star Trek?

CB -Star Trek. The Holodeck is way too cool for this world.

4LN – Finally, if you could own any movie prop, what would it be?

CB – Gotta go with the Deadpool movie mask. Animated eyes and all.

4001ew

4001 A.D. #4 CCL Variant

 

I’d like to personally thank Chance for taking the time to chat with us.  You can find his Action Figure variants here!

4LN Comic Review – 4001 A.D.: Bloodshot

Series: 4001 A.D.: Bloodshot
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Doug Braithwaite, with Brian Reber on Colors
Publisher: Valiant Comics

Summary from Valiant Entertainment:

“Once upon a time…in the year 4001 A.D…

Centuries ago, Bloodshot was the man called Ray Garrison. Now, in the year 4001 A.D., Ray Garrison is no more…but the nanites that once thrived inside him endure still. With their master long since gone, the microscopic machines that once drove Bloodshot through every firefight, healed every wound, and calculated every outcome have one final directive left to execute…but what could it possibly be? And how will the forces of the future react when the infamous man-turned-machine called Bloodshot returns to fight another day?

The future starts now as New York Times best-selling writer Jeff Lemire (BLOODSHOT REBORN) and superstar artist Doug Braithwaite (ARMOR HUNTERS) bring Bloodshot barreling into the 41st century of the Valiant Universe with an all-new, standalone tale at the epicenter of 4001 A.D.!”

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Overview:  The 4001 A.D. event has been incredible thus far.  If there is one thing Valiant knows, it’s how to pull off a great summer event, that is neither contrived or money grabbing.  Lemire’s 400l A.D. BLOODSHOT continues this tradition.

I’m not going to lie, when I first saw the new look for Bloodshot I was a little hesitant.  The amorphous, nanite body with the Bloodshot head seemed a little far-fetched, even in a world with timewalkers, hive-mind aliens, and beings with the power to manipulate time, space, and matter.  After reading it though, I have to admit that it’s pretty damn cool.  Lemire’s story is great, frequently pulling scenes directly out his work on BLOODSHOT REBORN and last years BOOK OF DEATH: FALL OF BLOODSHOT book, and even providing a sense of closure after what happened at the end of FALL OF BLOODSHOT.  As far as the art is concerned, Doug Brathwaite and Brian Reber pull off some KILLER panels throughout the course of this book.  There were several pages where I just stared at the page taking in every little detail – and there is a LOT of detail.

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Bloodshot is just such a cool character, possibly even one of the greatest in Valiant’s pantheon of heroes, and Lemire has him dialed in.  His stories are frequently introspective, which is hard to pull off with a character who’s primary purpose is murdering people to death in a variety of ways.  His run on BLOODSHOT REBORN shows us a more subdued Ray Garrison, who is still trying to find his place, and 4001 A.D.: BLOODSHOT gives this fantastic hero both closure, and a possible new beginning.

If you are a fan of Bloodshot, sci-fi, or stories about artificial intelligence, then this is the book for you.  Not that it is a contest, but I liked this one-shot even better than X-O Manowar’s, and that book was also fantastic in its own right.  Make sure you head over to a comic shop (or Comixology if you prefer digital comics) and pick up 4001 A.D.: BLOODSHOT (out June 8), as well as the rest of the 4001 A.D. event books.

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4LN Comic Review – 4001 A.D.: X-O Manowar

Series: 4001 A.D.: X-O Manowar
Writer: Robert Venditti
Art: Clayton Henry, with Brian Reber on Colors
Color Art: Brian Reber with Andrew Dalhouse
Publisher: Valiant Comics

Summary from Comixology: “ROCKETING OUT OF THE PAGES OF 4001 A.D…the present and future of Valiant’s #1 hero come together for an essential standalone chapter at the heart of the summer’s blockbuster comics event!

How did the rise of Earth’s most powerful hero lead to humanity’s ultimate destruction? Just what was the War of the X-O Manowars…and how did its catastrophic fallout bring ruination and despair to a besieged planet? And why is the sacred extraterrestrial armor called Shanhara the one weapon Father fears more than any other?

The answers to the pivotal questions behind Valiant’s planet-shaking summer event arrive here as New York Times best-selling writer Robert Venditti (BOOK OF DEATH) and acclaimed artist Clayton Henry (IVAR, TIMEWALKER) blast two thousand years into the future of the Valiant Universe to reveal the never-before-told history of New Japan’s dominion over Earth…and the doomed role that the X-O Manowar armor was forever fated to play in the coming war for liberation!”

4001-XO_001_COVER-A_CAFU

Last week Valiant kicked off it’s much anticipated summer event, and the first issue was fantastic.  In his 4001 A.D. #1 review, my fellow 4LN writer Stephen Andrew said, “Valiant is the archetype for modern comic events,” and he’s absolutely spot on.   As with BOOK OF DEATH, last year’s event, 4001 A.D. will have four one-shots that show how some of their most popular characters are affected by the events in 4001.  The first one-shot focuses on how X-O Manowar’s legacy leads to a pivotal moment in last weeks issue (which I won’t spoil here in case you have let your self down by not reading it yet).

4001 A.D.: X-O MANOWAR was a great read made all the better by Robert Venditti’s terrific writing. It features everything from giant mech-suits to terrifying AI, or, as I liked to call it, damn good sci-fi.  Despite not being dialog heavy, this one-shot manages to fit in a LOT of setup into the previously mentioned pivotal moment of 4001. A.D. and the ending is just superb, in an unsettling sort of way.  I also enjoyed Clayton Henry’s artwork on this issue.  His art style is very clean, with some pretty great angles, and helps lighten the tone of what otherwise would have been an even more ominous story.

The Rai universe is fascinating, but it is so far ahead in the timeline that I jump at any chance to glimpse the world in between around now and, you know, 4001.  I am also not one to turn down some sweet, sci-fi action.  Plus, Robert Venditti just gets it.  He’s been in the Valiant universe longer than anyone, and his grasp of the content is prevalent in pretty much every book he writes for the company.

So far, we are only two issues into Valiant’s summer event, and it’s already been a hell of a ride.  We don’t generally give out star ratings, but this book is definitely a ★★★★★ issue.  Check out the preview below, and head out to your local comic shop this Wednesday and pick one up for yourself.

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4LN Comic Review: 4001 A.D. #1

Series: 4001 A.D.
Writer: Matt Kindt
Art: Clayton Crain, and David Mack
Publisher: Valiant Comics

Summary from Comixology: “In the tradition of BOOK OF DEATH, ARMOR HUNTERS, and HARBINGER WARS, Valiant’s most ambitious crossover event yet starts here! At the dawn of the 41st century, the future of Earth will be decided in the stars. This May…the rebellion begins in 4001 A.D.! One hundred years from today, Father – the benevolent artificial intelligence that governs the island nation of Japan – will gain sentience. To defend its borders, Father will take drastic action by launching Japan into space…where its people will thrive in isolation, away from the overpopulated and resource-deprived planet below. Over the centuries, as New Japan orbits our increasingly unstable world, it will become a model society – one built on peace, prosperity… and Father’s control. A thousand years from today, Father will create the first Rai, founding a lineage of technologically enhanced heroes engineered to defend New Japan and sworn to protect it from all enemies. For hundreds of years into the future, the Rai will single-handedly enforce New Japan’s justice well…and serve Father without question. Now, at the dawn of 4001 A.D., the latest Rai is about to inherit the dark truth behind the origin of his kind…and discover the sinister secret at the heart of Father’s existence. For New Japan to live, Earth must die…and as Rai challenges his former master for the first time in more than a millennium, the lone guardian of New Japan will be cast out of his own Father’s kingdom… Exiled from the only realm he’s ever known, Rai now walks the ravaged world of 4001 A.D. in search of forgotten heroes like himself… on a mission to collect the last surviving legends of a broken planet…and to forge a rebellion with the power to bring the most advanced civilization in history crashing back down to Earth.”

4001 A.D. #1

Valiant is the archetype for modern comic events. The “Big 2” can try, and try, and try, but they will ultimately fall short of accomplishing even half of what Valiant does in (some cases) double the time and (without a doubt) triple the amount of issues. Let’s look at numbers, shall we? Ok, so, DC’s Convergence event only ran across a two month period, but it ran or 8 issues by itself, with countless limited series and tie-in’s along with it. Marvel’s Secret Wars event from last year started in May, almost 1 year ago to the day, and ended in January OF THIS YEAR. And that was only a 9 issue run. I feel like “WTF!?!” is appropriate here. 4001 A.D. will be a total of 12 issues. That’s it. No more, no less.

Maybe you’re saying to yourself, “Why are you comparing them? If Valiant’s method is so great wouldn’t it stand on its own without this paralleling?” The answer to that question is, yes. I don’t HAVE to compare them to express how great Valiant is at this, but it helps if you understand the massive difference. I don’t really need to compare why living on Earth is better than living on Jupiter, but it might persuade you more if I tell you about the differences in oxygen levels and general habitability. (Also, NASA has recently discovered large, reptile-like creatures with a thirst for human blood living in the vast sea of liquid hydrogen that makes up Jupiter so…)

If this first issue of 4001 A.D. is any indication, you won’t need any more convincing as to the validity of my point.

4001 A.D. #1

So what makes it this series great? Well, let’s start with Matt Kindt, comic writer and professional juggler. (I may or may not have made up the fact that Matt can juggle.) 4001 A.D. spins out of Valiant’s Rai series, which Matt has also been writing. I didn’t start reading Rai until after the second story arc, even against the recommendation of close friends who swore by the series when it first dropped. Once I did start it though, I was hooked. This issue is just another entry into the “How Many Genius/Crazy Future Things Can Matt Kindt Create With His Imagination?” log. (That’s a real thing. I Googled it.) Matt has an understanding of how to write futuristic sci-fi in a way that almost makes you think he’s been there and knows what happens. Professional juggler? Maybe not. Amateur time-traveler? Almost certainly.

I also love that he never loses important character development along the way. There are characters that you’ll see here who’ve been evolving since the first issue of Rai that even if this is the first thing you read, you’ll still be able to connect with and understand what they’re going through and why they’re doing what they’re doing. Matt can write a character, or situation, so well, that you don’t have to already be personally invested to care about it if you jump on in the middle. He’s THAT good.

4001 A.D. #1

The artwork in 4001 A.D. is phenomenal. Clayton Crain, who has been working with Kindt on Rai since the very beginning, is such an amazing artist that I can’t compare him to any other artist. Seriously. He’s that remarkable and unique. His pages aren’t just a collection of comic panels, they’re paintings that none of us are worthy to gaze upon and we should thank whatever forces keep our existence perpetuating that we’ve been blessed to witness his talent. (I swear he didn’t pay me to say all of that…)

Just look at that cover! There is so much detail and yet so much fluidity. It’s insane to me and I have a hard time wrapping my head around it. There’s a beautiful panel in this issue that shows a broad view of a section of New Japan and I just stared at it for several minutes. It’s so flawless that it’s almost unfathomable.

Helping out on art in this issue is Mr. David Mack. He does the artwork on the opening pages that give you a run down on what took place in Rai prior to this issue. It is beautiful and refreshing. The style, based on my research, what I believe one would define as, or similar to, Ukiyo-e. (I apologize if my uneducated assessment is incorrect.) It really is a splendid way of presenting the background story, and it gives you all the information you need to read 4001 A.D. if you haven’t read Rai (or any Valiant series for that matter) up until now.

4001 A.D. #1

If you are completely turned off by comic book events, then I urge you to give 4001 A.D. a chance. I hate comic events. I refuse to read damn-near all of them. When Valiant puts one out though, I make it point to read all of it because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it will be worth my time and money. More than any other publisher, Valiant cares about their readers. That care is evident in their business practices, their maintaining a constant connection to their fans through social media, and their ability to work close with their creative teams without dominating the work and compromising the integrity of the writers and artists.

4001 A.D. #1 is a 4 star book. Or a 5 star book. Or however many stars is the most you can give it. You don’t need to have read any Valiant comics before this to be captivated by it, but afterwards you’ll literally want to read them all.

Music Pairing –

I picked them once before, when I reviewed Tokyo Ghost #1, but I’m choosing Crossfaith as the best musical accompaniment to 4001 A.D. They’re a great Japanese metal band, and their track “Eclipse” is the best example of why they partner so well with this comic… Exciting, futuristic chaos. Need I say more?