By Matt Kindt, Clayton Crain
The “Summer of 4001 A.D.” continues with the second installment in the event series that centers on the battle between humanity and sentient artificial intelligence. This is a solid book that continues the urgency from the first and sets up even higher stakes for the next.
The story doesn’t miss a beat from the last issue, picking up right at the cliffhanger. If you are new to this event, be sure to pick up the first issue. It has an excellent prologue that covers all of the important points a new reader needs to know. This book also offers a prologue, though this time out we are given a different perspective – an explanation as to why New Japan is in orbit and the impact this has had on the Earth.
The battle is furious between the calculating Father and Rai. Since this is only book two in a four book event, the battle is not yet resolved. There’s a bit of a chess game afoot. Writer Matt Kindt throws a few surprises at his characters that moves both the battle and the plot along. It should be mentioned that despite the advanced and imaginative technology at play in this story, it never feels implausible. This works to the readers’ benefit, helping to keep them absorbed in the story. Kindt delivers a story that feels both urgent yet seems to be holding back a secret.
While the technology of this advanced society is center stage, it is humanity that shines in this story. Kindt does a fine job of reminding the reader what is at stake. Lemur and Lula each have a poignant scene that drives this home.
Clayton Crain brings the book to life with his fluid art. His interpretation of the script, from the energy of his characters’ lines to the vibrancy of the colors, reinforces the concept of the high-tech New Japan. The panel flow of the story works well, guiding the reader naturally. His characters perform admirably, physically reacting to the story as expected. Even the A.I. elements carry a psychological impact that resonates with the reader. Overall, this is beautiful work. The only quibbles are with a few of the space battle scenes where it was harder to interpret what was happening with the X-O armor. This was minor and not enough to distract the reader. You would be hard-pressed to find another artist better suited to this series.
The “Summer of 4001 A.D.” is marching on. 4001 A.D. #2 fans that flame and is a sure pick of the week. If you read only one series this summer, 4001 A.D. should be it.