Story by Brandon Graham, Simon Roy, Giannis Milonogiannis
Art by Simon Roy (Chapters 1-4 & 6), Giannis Milonogiannis (Chapter 3-6)
Published by Image Comics
Prophet created by Rob Liefeld
And so we come again to the time of year when another Prophet trade rears its beautiful, fascinating face.
I’ve been a devotee of the series since the very start, when Brandon Graham and his fellow creators breathed new life into a title which lay dormant for years, taking it in a direction which was more geared towards mature European science-fiction storytelling. Simply put, Prophet has been nothing less than an absolute pleasure to read. It would not look out of place in a science-fiction anthology comic such as 2000AD or Heavy Metal, and this is one of the reasons why this series fills me with absolute joy whenever, or wherever it is mentioned.
Brandon Graham’s storytelling is gripping, entertaining, even humorous at times, and the wide array of talented arists bring their own unique flavour to the story. The plan in which one particular artist is assigned to one particular character(s), still continues. For example, Giannis Milonogiannis’ work centres around the story of Old Man Prophet and his companions. And in this volume we welcome back Simon Roy whose work we last saw in the first volume (Remission) . We also welcome back the first John Prophet, with his trusty Dolmantle in tow! In this volume, he has taken the role of New Father and leads his own group which include:
John Ka: a female clone ‘brother’ who opens the story. We see her with her companion; a parastic brain-fly and how they fend for themselves on the hostile earth.
She encounters another clone brother who has gone ‘native’, and living with the feral humans – who resemble ape. But the call of a brain-mother (psychic beings) draws her to the Empire’s bidding.
Magnus John: a big hulking John who we first encounter in a darkly funny situation, surviving by feeding on his dead clone brothers. He seems less intelligent than his other brothers and challenges the leadership of New Father, or “small father” as he calls him.
Long John: the name says it all, these Johns are long or should we say tall, and are grown for work in the Lunar Cores. He is loyal to New Father although it seems he is also close to the mischievous Magnus John.
Greenknife: a smaller breed of Johns who are grown for pleasure. It’s difficult to ascertain the sex, although my guess is they are male, but much more feminine in make up. Greenknife is given his name after he saves New Father from an assassination attempt.
All five of them diverge from the original plan of the Empire after New Father has recurring dreams, or rather, nightmares with a masked being urging him to another calling besides that of the Empire’s.
At the same time, Old Man Prophet visits the Moon of Phobos to converse with that very being known as Troll.
Troll has lived for centuries and witnessed many battles. Old Man Prophet also stumbles upon his ship of long ago. It is empty, desolate and more like a tomb guarding the memories and dust of his dead love, Yilala of the Scale World. His companions, Jaxson, Hyyonhoiagn and the rest go investigating in the bowels of the ship with Diehard and Rain-East taking a slight detour, a chance for them to get better acquainted.
Diehard is now more machine than man and laments the loss of his human identity, and in Rain-East he is reminded of the time when he was alive.
We also have an episode introducing us to brother John Atum, whose pod lands on Kutra-Thal; an abandoned war station. He is tasked with finding another brother, one who is not of flesh and blood like him, but a construct. He has been waiting centuries for John Atum’s arrival. It’s a lovely episode illustrated by Giannis Milonogiannis, making the art very atmospheric and foreboding, with monolithic columns and structures. There’s also a very tragic feel to proceedings as Atum comes towards the end of his mission.
The world of Prophet is so dense that it’s easy to get lost at times that’s why it is key to not rush it. I took my time with this volume, devouring each chapter piecemeal, taking in all the information, going back to see if I missed anything. And at times, just admiring the storytelling, the humour, the art.
It’s a very special series indeed, and I’m intrigued to see where we will be heading in the next volume, which going on this evidence, cannot come soon enough for me. This series is just brimming with so many ideas it’s refreshing to see, it is also, simply unmissable.