Script: Brandon Graham, et al
Art: Giannis Milonogiannis & Farel Dalrymple
Publisher: Image Comics
Released: July 2013
Volume 1 of Prophet was one of my favourite comic title of last year, if not THE favourite (although 2000AD’s Trifecta storyline came close!). It was a stunning read; grown up science-fiction storytelling of the highest order. It immediately brought to mind the works of Moebius, and his work in Metal Hurlant (Heavy Metal) magazine, as well as works from other prolific sci-fi writers and artists.
In this volume the story opens up further as we learn more about Father Prophet, whom we glimpsed at the end of volume 1. Gradually we learn why he loathes the Earth Empire so much, of which he was once its brightest star. But he has come to realise the Earth Empire’s cruelty and so, with his allies in tow, plans to strike a deathblow to her far reaching hands. And hence a character we viewed as an antagonist in the closing stages of the last volume, becomes our protagonist. We even start to feel sympathy towards him especially as we learn more about his life, from lost love, betrayal, and in the present his close friendship with four others;
Jaxson: who we first saw in the last volume seeking his friend, he resembles a robot.
Diehard: once a human but his exo-skeleton is now his only identity. He craves for normalcy and a link with his past.
Hiyonhaoiagn: the ‘old tree’ who is basically, a walking talking tree, setting roots where ever he decides to sit. He has a penchant for ‘fire water’, a liquid which I presume is like an alien version of Vodka, but a 100 times more potent – and flammable!
Rain – East: a lizard like humanoid. An assassin whom John free’s on the Scale World.
These characters are one of the reasons why this comic is such an enjoyable read. They may appear alien in appearance, but they share a mutual respect and love for one another. In the case of Diehard, there is a beautiful moment in the comic when we see him starring at Rain-East, her reflection visible on his smooth featureless face. It is obvious he yearns for her. There’s also a hilarious moment later on, involving Rain-East and her ‘biological mass’. The comic is full of moments like these which provide light relief, against the backdrop of war and ever present danger.
We also have a single issue following the ‘tailed Prophet’ from the last volume and his exploits, wherein he is side tracked from his mission as he is captured by a alien war race and made to work in the ‘weapon fields’, which resemble paddy fields but war heads grown instead of rice! He teams up with a few of his imprisoned comrades and plots to escape their captors. By the end, he too like Father Prophet has become detached from the Earth Empire’s control.
Brandon Graham along with his co-writers continues to guide this series in a direction which very few comics can match. And the artwork for Prophet is absolutely magnificent. Although we have only two artists on board this time (as opposed to four last time round, in fact five if you include Emma Rios’ short story), the artwork within this trade is simply aweinspiring. Whether Giannis Milonogiannis’ beautiful expressive style, or Farel Dalrymple’s solo issue, with his amazing double page spreads – the artwork for Prophet is simply a class apart.
The colour palette, with the dominant primary colours such as red and green, recalls Carlos Ezquerra’s early colour work for 2000AD, especially the Judge Dredd strips. I must say it is very striking and stylistically suits the story very well.
This is a breath-taking collection of adult science fiction storytelling. It can get a little difficult to follow at times, but that’s part of the fun – going back to the previous issues looking for clues and in the process just admiring the depth and scope of the series. Image’s other sci-fi hit, Saga is rightly an acclaimed series, both in Vaughan’s script and Fiona Staples’ superb artwork. But for me, Prophet is something else entirely……
And that extra bit special.
Note: Brandon Graham has a fascinating piece on his blog where you can see some of the influences and ideas he garnered for Prophet:
It’s definitely worth checking out!