Oliver Davis reviews Prophet #36...
"The three-armed Prophet wants Old man Prophet found. NewFather disobeys his superiors to seek out weapons needed to combat a new mysterious foe."
It's tough coming into this cold. Having only ever read the first issue of Brandon Graham's run on Prophet, which he took over from its creator, Rob Liefeld, a great deal of this issue made little sense. A confusion exasperated by only having a few hours sleep over the past two days.
Prophet is a complex beast, with a rich backstory. Set 10,000 years in the future, the comic's back page provides the best summary:
John Prophet is a former soldier for the Earth Empire, who led a slave to eventually overthrow them. Now with the rebirth of the Empire, the old man has awoken again to continue the fight.
Simple. Oh, and there's a bunch of John Prophet clones, like New-Father John Prophet, the first prophet of the New Age of Man, and Big John (both in this issue). They stage some kind of mental battle, channeling the powers of Troll and the Empire's Mother Mind. A lot of the issue appears to occur in the brain.
It's almost impenetrable if you're not privy to the story history, but there's enough intriguing ideas and matter-of-fact dialogue (Troll: YOU MUST WONDER WHY I DIDN'T AID IN YOUR WAR. John Prophet: YOUR REASONS WERE YOUR OWN, TROLL) to engross you in a world that's a little bit beyond your comprehension.
Simon Roy and Giannis Milonogiannis' art recalls the sketchy panels of Judge Dredd co-creator Carlos Ezquerra's, but there are also hints of Where the Wild Things Are author and drawer Maurice Sendak. The half-formed speech bubbles or playful, animal-like aliens are at odds with the book's overarching seriousness. In a good way.
The organic world they've invented is visually impressive. Wires look like intestines and they plug into every orifice of the REBIRTHING SAC'S inhabitant. The generals meet in the War Womb, as though Jonathan Ross is attempting to say the infamous Dr Strangelove setting.
You might not know what's going on most of the time, but that almost adds to Prophet's charm.
Oliver Davis is one of Flickering Myth's co-editors. You can follow him on Twitter @OliDavis.