Comic Review: Prophet Vol. 1
It’s been a while since I read a comic and felt like I barely had a clue what was going on. But that’s okay because Prophet is as perplexing as it is engrossing. A half-reboot half-continuation of an old Rob Liefeld series I think a lot of people picking up the book will never have read the original. If you’re one of those people don’t worry, so am I and I had a blast.
Prophet is set in a world that’s deadly, beautiful and downright bonkers. This is a universe that feels completely foreign and a dash scary. Hideous creatures skulk around the apocalyptic planet while the environment is just as deadly. Prophet Vol 1 actually follows multiple characters as they travel the landscape to complete their respective quests in this unnerving science fiction world. Native predators, alien hunters and even disease are threats we’re witness to, pretty much everything they come across is out to kill the protagonist. Horrifying as the world may be it’s equally fascinating. I wouldn’t last five minutes in this place but it’s a lot of fun to watch the characters give it a go. As the comic progresses the sheer scope of the world becomes apparent and it’s staggering. I felt like anything could happen here, Brandon Graham does a spectacular job of crafting a world that feels completely insane in it’s designs and inhabitants yet still feels like a credible place. This is a universe that feels absolutely ancient, if someone were to come out and tell me there were a dozen books set in this fiction then I’d totally believe it.
It’d be negligent of me to not point out that this is also quite an unconventional comic. As I implied already I was quite lost for a lot of the volume. There’s very little dialogue and in fact not many characters either. At times it’s more like a piece of art than a story. It’s not directionless though there is definitely a steady plot developing and I feel like future issues are going to offer more payoff. But I knew fairly early on this wasn’t going to be a comic to everyone’s tastes.
The book is split into six chapters, the first three follow directly on from each other and are illustrated by Simon Roy. The remaining chapters are illustrated by an artist each, namely Farel Dalrymple, Giannis Milonogiannis and series writer Graham himself. The most strikingly dissimilar art comes from Graham’s chapter, his uses a limited colour palette of whites and blues only rarely dipping into any other colours. His clean drawings and light colour scheme give the whole segment an ethereal dreamy feel. On the flipside of that the remaining artwork goes for a much more rough harsh appearance that makes the world feel far less peaceful and much more brutal. Whichever artist is handling the chapter they all perfectly match the gritty tone of the story, as a whole it paints the picture of a very alien and hostile setting.
All of the artists compliment the tone of each story perfectly. Collecting a trade with one story that has four different artists in theory sounds like the recipe to create one messy looking book but it all just works. It was a smart move to have each artist cover their own portion of the story this way there’s enough closure for the change in art to work naturally. I felt that each chapter was showing me a different slice of the universe with the alternating art helping build that idea.
If you’re after something straightforward where you follow a hero’s journey from A to B to vanquish some straightforward evil then Prophet is not it, at all. If you’re curious to check out something weird and unconventional then I recommend giving this a go. Love it or hate it you’re unlikely to forget it in any case.