In previous years, we've reported on Valiant Entertainment's trademark registrations from titles like Divinity, Armor Hunters, and Book Of Death – often foreshadowing big announcements by weeks or sometimes even months.
Well, in the wake of the announcement that the publisher's Book Of Death event is the biggest independent event of the decade, might the US trademark office have offered up another clue about what's coming next? Indeed, the publisher has trademarked the numbers "4001" – also known as the year that Rai series takes place and, in the original Valiant Universe, the setting for an entire "future-verse" of characters removed yet connected to goings-on in the core Valiant line.
Could it be coming back?
More suspicious still, just this past weekend at Baltimore Comic-Con, Bleeding Cool's own EIC Hannah Means-Shannon reported the following from Valiant's Book of Death and Beyond panel:
"The audience assured the panel that they were interested in hearing more about 4001, and Valiant has a massive 4001 story that Matt Kindt is working on. It's going to be "awesome" but they can't talk about it. The year 4000 is leading to something very big in the Valiant Universe, they teased."
In addition to writing Rai, Matt Kindt also recently delivered some big fat teases about the future of the Valiant Universe – and how it specifically relates to the origins of Rai's homeland, New Japan – in the pages of his Book of Death: The Fall of Ninjak #1 one-shot.
Could 4001 be a new spin-off series for Rai? Perhaps a new team title? The return of Rai and the Future Force? Or might we have the name of Valiant's next big event for the coming year?
The trademark registry hasn't let us down yet… With NYCC just around the corner, chances are we won't have to wait long to find out.