Fallen World’s Dan Abnett Transports Readers to Valiant’s Far-Off FutureMain Art by Jonboy Meyers Comics Features Valiant
Valiant may not have decades of combined continuity to play off of in the same manner as Marvel or DC Comics, but it does have the benefit of characters who span centuries. From the Eternal Warrior (his shtick is in his name) to the nanite-fueled Bloodshot, many of Valiant’s best-known faces aren’t confined to one window of time. Fallen World, which launches this Wednesday, takes place in the far-off world of 4002, a time period first seen in Rai’s titular series, and that future cyborg samurai is back in the protagonist’s seat for this post-post-post apocalyptic title.
Writer Dan Abnett has spent a few years as a reliable DC Comics name, but is perhaps still best known for helping to rejuvenate Marvel’s cosmic characters a decade ago. Artist Adam Pollina, on the other hand, has been largely absent from mainstream comics for almost twice as long, after ruling the ‘90s shelves with books like X-Force. To help celebrate the new series, Valiant invited Paste to interview Abnett in the pages of the publisher’s Free Comic Book Day offering, available in participating stores this Saturday, May 4th. Paste readers can also find that interview below, along with an exclusive first look at Pollina’s interior art. For more on Fallen World and Valiant’s other upcoming series, grab Valiant’s FCBD issue this weekend and keep checking Paste.
Paste: Fallen World kicks off after a pretty dramatic status-quo change for the Valiant of the year 4002. What do new readers need to know about Rai and the world around him to jump in with Fallen World?
Dan Abnett:: Honestly? Not much! I’m trying to do my level best to introduce characters and concepts as we go along, so no reader gets lost (though the previous stories are great and I’d encourage anyone interested in Fallen World to pick up the trades and read back…just to enjoy some fantastic comics).
As far as this goes… it’s the future. Earth is a very alien place, slowly recovering after major disasters, remaking itself. A major chunk of the human population has been living in the orbital utopia of New Japan for centuries, looked after by the Artificial Intelligence, “Father.” But Father was a bit of a tyrant on the quiet, and Rai—New Japan’s champion—finally destroyed him and ended his reign for the good of all. As a result, New Japan fell, and the population is now trying to rebuild their culture on the “new Earth.” It’s a big, brave and slightly scary new world for people who have been looked after by high-tech systems all their lives…
Paste: Now that Father’s reign is over and the nation of New Japan has shattered, what other forces are vying for power in the vacuum? There’ve been hints of animal/human hybrids and dinosaurs roaming about…
Abnett: Lots, both big and small. There are minor threats and immediate hazards to contend with, but bigger and badder trouble is brewing: a major technological menace that is literally a blast from the past AND a very horrible surprise for Rai, plus a powerful and determined society that worships the old, high-tech Japan and wants to preserve it and use it to gain mastery.
Paste: You’ve worked on major properties for shared universes before. What’s different so far about your experience with Valiant? How much freedom are you getting to chart the world of 4002 as you see fit? And what sort of influences are making their way into your worldbuilding?
Abnett: I have, and enjoyed it very much, and Valiant is very different. This is bold new territory, with great opportunities for world building, and though there IS great continuity to build on, it comes in a very direct linear form.
In other words, I’m building out the future of the fantastic and very distinctive Valiant Universe and all I have to worry about is what’s gone before, NOT what’s happening around me. Valiant’s been great about giving me some creative freedom, plus some inspired direction. My main goal is to maintain and develop Valiant’s unique flavor. It’s very different—in just about every respect—to the other great “Universes” out there. The types of setting, character and story have a very different feel. There are things I can—and will—do here that I couldn’t do anywhere else (and, of course, there are Marvel or DC, etc.-type stories I could tell here…). I think that’s the greatest thing about the Valiant Universe—it’s not like any others. It’s unmistakable and the reading experience is totally unique.
Paste: In addition to Rai and a host of new characters, Fallen World features Valiant mainstay Bloodshot in a newly antagonistic role. What’s it like reimagining one of the publisher’s foundational heroes (or antiheroes) as a villain? Or does Bloodshot still see himself as fighting for what’s right?
Abnett: Great fun. I love the character, and it’s fun to get to play around with him so radically. I guess the answer is both: He believes he’s doing right, and also torn by the way he’s been used against what might be seen as the common good. He makes a great villain…and a sympathetic one. There’s lots of cool story to unpack there.
Paste: Fallen World is a set a few thousand years into the future, but should we expect any other Valiant cameos, either from long-lived characters or heroes who’ve passed down their mantles through the centuries?
Abnett: Hmm…maybe. I can see lots of opportunities. And especially, let’s say, if you’re a Warrior who happens to be Eternal…
Paste: Adam Pollina, the artist on the Fallen World series, was one of the most popular artists of the late 1990s, and this marks a long-awaited return to interior work for him. What’s it like collaborating with him and what does he bring to Rai’s story?
Abnett: It’s a privilege! Adam’s work is very fine indeed. I think this series is going to blow people’s socks off.