Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
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.
Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.