Announced in 2011 by Image Comics, the return of Prophet was imminent. Originally created by Robert Liefield in 1993, Image decided to continue the series almost 20 years later. The original series ended with issue #20, and now Brandon Graham and Simon Roy have picked up the pieces to continue the story with issue #21.
Writer: Brandon Graham
Artists: Simon Roy, Farel Dalrymple, and Giannis Milonogiannis
Colors: Richard Ballerman, Joseph Bergin, and Brandon Graham
Letters: Ed Brisson
Backup Story: Emma Rios
Publisher: Image Comics
Collected: Prophet #21-26
The original John Prophet was a homeless man who was manipulated by a doctor that dealt in time travel. Prophet’s strength was augmented, and he was trained to be a murderous killing machine. The original concept for Prophet was very much out of the 90s. Now, fast-forward 20 years later, and Brandon Graham and Simon Roy have taken Prophet into a completely new direction. Much more futuristic, and heavily drenched in science fiction, Prophet sees our new John Prophet emerge many years into the future. The Earth is a former shadow of itself, as is the human empire. Where there isn’t barren landscape, the lands have been overrun by aliens, monstrous beasts, and mere echoes of civilizations past. John Prophet’s goal is to revitalize and restart mankind with help from his clone brethren.
Brandon Graham’s new direction for Prophet is fresh and exciting. Graham was deftly able to take the original concept and character, and introduce him into a brand new universe. The idea that Graham introduces is clear: John Prophet has been reborn into an unfamiliar future. Being in the future, there are looks at new aliens and advanced technology. Graham manages to introduce these devices without bogging down a reader with too much detailed information. Instead, he gives a brief look at the aliens and technology, and lets the reader make up the rest. Graham has introduced just enough to lead a reader, but also allow for the imagination to take part in the experience. While Brandon Graham has done some tremendous work with bringing Prophet back, his pace is a little lacking. There are a few too many duller moments, or even moments that are meant to be exciting but come off as a little plain. This lends to his consistent pace, but at times the tempo felt like it needed to be a little more hurried.
Simon Roy provides the majority of the art throughout the story. Readers can tell when different artists and colorists lent their talents, but the feel and tone really sticks to what Roy had started. As for the actual art, it is a little bit up and down. At points you can’t believe how magnificent certain panels look. Then there are the moments where a reader will definitely feel underwhelmed. One thing that the art consistently did was provide these big pages where Prophet was only a small part of the page, and the reader actually has to somewhat play “Where’s Waldo” to find Mr. Prophet. While this may seem like a bad idea, it actually worked for this story. Being in such an alien environment, there was plenty to see. Roy and his art team really allowed for those pages to flourish. What that also did was give the reader the same feeling that Prophet had during his journey, which was one of discovery and a voyage that had a clear ending. The big landscapes gave readers a good look at where John was headed. Artist Roy and his team did do a fantastic job at creating new and alien environments that created the sense of planetary exploration.
The new Prophet is actually quite interesting and full of sci-fi fun. Graham created some pretty genius little pieces of technology, and some unique alien races that were fun to see. The pace of the story was, at times, a little slow, and certain moments could have been made to be a little more explosive. This may be due to the fact that the re-introduction of Prophet required a little more focus, and certain details needed to be introduced that may not be very exciting right now. Simon Roy, the main artist throughout the story, hit the look and feel of the landscapes well, and provided some really deep and detailed panels. The problem with the art was the same as the writing, though. Those big moments felt just a little lacking. Graham and Roy have certainly done wonders for a once faded concept. This is only the first volume of the series, and there is more material in the works. Hopefully the pace of this unique story will pick up, because it has the potential to be one of the better sci-fi stories on the market with just a few tweaks.