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Prophet #21 Review

Holy shit, Prophet #21 was nuts.

Writer Brandon Graham and artists Simon Roy and Richard Ballerman delivered one of the most unusual and outlandish comic books I’ve seen in awhile as part of Image’s exciting new relaunch of Extreme Studios, taking old Rob Liefeld properties and re-inventing them entirely (while still maintaining the issue numbers as if they were following the original series). The end result is a strong comic book, albeit one that is still in the early stages of its development – I expect even greater stuff from this title in the future.

Graham and Roy set the mood for this tale very quickly in the opening pages of the issue, as we meet an odd looking animal…

and then meet John Prophet (click on the image to enlarge)…

and then back to the creature…

That sense of unpredictably permeates the whole issue, as you never quite know what to expect from the various inhabitants of the planet. There is a boldness to Graham’s writing that I find really appealing – you get the sense that he has everything laid out in his mind of where this comic is heading, and I really appreciate it.

Throughout the issue, practically every panel exposes you to a bizarre creature or device (sometimes the devices ARE creatures), including some exceptionally well-developed almost throwaway ideas. Here is one of the most chilling ones…

How cool and twisted is that?

There are tons of them in the issue and Roy depicts these wild ideas beautifully, giving them a wonderfully naturalistic feel even when the devices are not themselves naturalistic at all – like taking the pun of “live ammo” to a whole other level. Ballerman’s colors, meanwhile, capture the dull yet futuristic landscape nicely. This is a world where a decidedly non-human alien expects sex before discussing business and where organs are expected as the price of doing business. This is a fucking scary future and I can’t wait to see more of it unfold. Not since Kamandi has the future been this outlandishly cool.

That said, “I can’t wait to see more” is the right phrase here, as this issue served mostly as set-up for the future – introducing the concept (which is that John Prophet has come out of hibernation on a mission to win Earth back for humanity) and sending John off on his journey (there’s even a map in the comic, which is very cool), so that’s even more impressive about the issue – it was a good comic book and this was mostly all just SET-UP! Once the execution starts to kick in this will likely be an amazing comic book.

Recommended.

16 Comments

Never heard of it before. What happened in the previous twenty issues? Do we need to be familiar with them to follow the story?

Sorry, Steven, I should have realized that people were not familiar with the concept. Image is doing a new line of comics where they revive old Rob Liefeld comics from the 1990s but completely re-invented. The issue numbers are going under the conceit that they’re continuing from where the old comics left off, but they’re really #1 issues.

I’m sorry, but Stephen Platt or GTFO!!!!!

Oh, I kid. You people have almost convinced me to pick this up. Like I need to read even more comics!!!!!

Yeah, this was good, if (A) obviously written for trade, and (B) more a collection of cool ideas than a STORY. At least so far. See comment (A). But the cool ideas were really cool.

Yeah, that’s what I meant about the only drawback of this issue being that it was all set-up. The set-up was done so well, though, that I bet that the story will be good when it comes.

I liked the Discovery Channel/National Geographic style narration, gave the bleak ideas a fun tone.

Really really REALLY bummed out that my LCS only ordered one copy of this book. My first time buying a floppy after more than ten years of not. I placed an order, though, supposedly due in two or three weeks. Had to resort to pirates, sadly. Such a beautiful book.

Some jerk went to my LCS when it opened and bought every copy. I went in at 11 on my lunch break and they were sold out. I asked the girl behind the counter and she said some guy waited outside for the store to open and then bought them all.

Are we really going to have to deal with this shit again? I assume the speculation is Chew/Walking Dead related and has nothing to do with Extreme Studios.

If it really reads better in trade maybe I’ll just wait. The art is beautiful, and the parasite wolves are horrifying.

@adam? Your LCS ordered one copy of a book that’s been hyped for months on the Internet by creators and people who don’t normally buy comics? Your LCS sounds like it’s being run by someone kinda dumb.

@Erik – More like, I’m in Manila, and after Whilce Portacio disappeared, the number of Image books coming into the country dropped to nearly zero, hahaha. But yes, I thought that was kinda dumb, too (and for some reason, you can only get a pull list set up with them if you order AT LEAST 10 books, and with the exchange rate being what it is, that’s kinda mighty pricey). Hopefully there’ll be reprints of #21, and I’ll be getting a copy soon enough!

… so my request to order GLORY too is kinda dodgy.

Hopefully there’ll be reprints of #21, and I’ll be getting a copy soon enough!

Oh yeah, the reprint will be out soon.

The wolves and other creatures really reminded me of some of the alien creatures from Parasyte. I wonder if that was in influence on Graham.

Man if there was ever a time to NOT pick up the numbering. It cant help only hinder.

i miss the old Prophet…..

…just kidding!

[...] Brian Cronin, Comics Should Be Good: “That said, ‘I can’t wait to see more’ is the right phrase here, as this issue served mostly as set-up for the future – introducing the concept (which is that John Prophet has come out of hibernation on a mission to win Earth back for humanity) and sending John off on his journey (there’s even a map in the comic, which is very cool), so that’s even more impressive about the issue – it was a good comic book and this was mostly all just SET-UP! Once the execution starts to kick in this will likely be an amazing comic book.” [...]

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