4001 A.D. (Graphic Novel) (10/25/2016)

4001 A.D. by Matt KindtARC release4001 A.D. by Matt Kindt
Published: Dynamite (Oct 25, 2016)
Posted: Sep 19, 2016
3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

4001 A.D. by Matt Kindt is science fiction graphic novel featuring sleek art and illustrations by Clayton Crain and David W. Mack. This graphic novel combines all 4 parts of the previously released Rai series. While the story leaves a lot to be desired, the journey is aesthetically pleasing and fun to read.

The story is surprisingly simple and focuses on the atrocities committed by an all powerful artificial intelligence. A megalomaniacal entity, The Father pacifies the masses living onboard the floating satellite city of New Japan. When Rai (The Father’s half son) rebels, his protégé – a pink haired punk named Lulu Lee – uploads a virus to New Japan, setting the foundation for bloodshed and devastation.

A secretly oppressive psuedo-utopian society ruled by a malevolent machine God.
An angel headed hipster (actually pink and morally well meaning).
A no nonsense hack-and-slash android!!

… This all makes for a great story, right?! Yes and no.

At no point in the story do we learn more about the carnage and warring on Earth’s surface prior to the creation of New Japan. There’s NO character development. We never learn more about the mother-father relationship through flashbacks or clever discussions. Geo’s Geomancy skills hint at a magic that’s never discussed. Lulu never manifests any technical prowess. And, sadly, sparse interaction between Lulu and Rai marks a missed opportunity and leaves them completely devoid of feeling for much of the graphic novel.

Without giving away any spoilers, the only time I felt invested in the story was at the beginning, while the setting was being established, and at 4001 A.D.’s conclusion.

But for all its flaws, 4001 A.D. is really cool. The visuals are outstanding. New Japan is depicted as clean and sleek, lending to the idea that the AI keeps it well controlled and orderly. Panel composition and coloring are top notch. Lulu Lee’s pink and blue-gradient blurb boxes contribute to the character’s punk flair while Rai’s pixelated appearance also looks sweet.

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4001 A.D. is visually impressive graphic novel with a good setting and passable story. Although I would have liked the story to live up to the great art, I had an enjoyable time reading it. While 4001 may not offer anything new to the genre, it’s worth checking out.

(This book was received from the publisher for a fair and honest review.)

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