Valiant Eyes Future in "Fallen World #1"
Mar 21, 2019
In the year 4002, a cyborg samurai named Rai struggles to find his morality, while the nanite-filled supersoldier Bloodshot is on a mission to save the citizens of Earth. Will they work together for the greater good? All signs point to no.
Writer Dan Abnett talked to PREVIEWSworld.com about Fallen World #1 (MAR192061), a sci-fi epic that explores the future of the Valiant universe.
Read the interview, and take a look at the preview pages, below.
PREVIEWSworld: From the jump, the world-building in FALLEN WORLD is insane. What goes into the process of writing and describing a Valiant Universe so far into the future?
Dan Abnett: There’d been some pretty wonderful groundwork done already in the previous Rai series and 40001 events, so I’ve just had to build on that and take it to exciting places.
I set myself some basic rules: Make it fit what’s gone before, make it fit with what we know about the Valiant Universe, make it as exciting and interesting as possible…and make it distinctly “Valiant.” This is, and has to be, a comic line universe with its own distinctive flavor and feeling. It can’t be mistaken for any of the other great “comic universes.” It can’t be a copy or an imitation. It has to have its own unmistakable taste. And in trying to describe that in the script I’ve written some very long panel descriptions, much longer than I would normally do, just to get it across. Happily, Adam Pollina has “suffered” this and really risen to the task.
I would say, for new readers, this is also a great jumping-on point. You don’t have to know what’s gone before and what we’re building on. We explain everything as we go along to get you up to speed.
PREVIEWSworld: Who is the Father? What is the role that Artificial Intelligence plays in this series?
Dan Abnett: Father is the AI system that built and ran New Japan, the orbital “paradise.” He also created Rai to be its guardian. But Father was malevolent and despotic, and when Rai saw the light and moved against him, it brought the whole world—literally—crashing down. The whole of New Japan fell to the Earth and the survivors have to pick up the pieces and build new lives in a very strange and often dangerous place. The legacy and memory of Father casts a long shadow over the proceedings.
PREVIEWSworld:The main setup for the story is that Rai overthrew his creator, Father, and caused New Japan to fall. He is burdened by guilt but believes this to be a necessary evil. What are the implications of his decision? Why does he decide to do this?
Dan Abnett: It was the right thing to do, but the costs were huge. Lives were lost, and those that survived face a difficult and uncertain future. Though freed from Father’s control, they don’t feel saved. Their lives before were “safe” and protected, their needs catered to—though that’s how Father kept them in blissful ignorance and controlled them. The survivors, the human ones, don’t appreciate Rai’s efforts, but the positronic (“artificial”) lifeforms do, as they were slaves before. Rai doesn’t mind that he’s resented.
He doesn’t need to be seen as a hero or savior, but he’s anguished by the unavoidable loss of life. He wants to protect the survivors, and make sure that nothing like Father is ever able to exist again. But he also feels a great need to turn away from violence, to renounce it and embrace—at long last—his human side. He wants to find out what being human means.
PREVIEWSworld: Bloodshot is seen trying to play savior of the people who have been wronged by the fall of New Japan. He’s usually depicted as violent and angry… What drives him to play the hero in this series?
Dan Abnett: Bloodshot is a warrior and yes, often seen as violent and angry. But he’s not just going to stand by while people are suffering when he has the strength and the ability to assist. This is duty rather than sympathy. And the sheer, unrelenting pressure of it is driving him close to the edge.
PREVIEWSworld: Of course, the sci-fi elements are epic and the main driver of the series. But, you touch on very real-world issues and themes such as the use of AI, the role of government, refugees, etc. What are the themes of FALLEN WORLD that relate back to today’s modern day?
Dan Abnett: Well, all of the above. Territory, prejudice, abuse of technology, humankind’s relationship with the environment…and the ways man and his runaway technologies can damage or even ruin the planet. These aren’t topical issues I’ve grafted onto the story. They were major themes in the DNA of this world and setting that were there when I took up the reins and which form a necessary and, I believe, gripping part of the story. I think that’s what science fiction does when it’s working right—it shows us future possibilities but also holds a mirror up to the world of right now. You can explore things by way of analog that might be far too “on the nose” or contentious if delivered in a contemporary setting.
PREVIEWSworld: FALLEN WORLD #1 ends with a pretty shocking reveal that will have fans dying to read the next issue. What can we expect from the rest of the series?
Dan Abnett: Well, more shocks. Big action. Some major sci-fi ideas. Some great new characters. Some astonishing art. It’s going to be pretty damn epic!