I remember seeing this one when I first came out a while back. Per the usual the cover art sold me as I didn’t really know what the story was about. I honestly think I just look for the weirdest covers and think I will like the story. It is a strategy that when you think about it is silly but I cannot seem to change it up. I have a strange love affair with weirdness and no matter what I do it will always find me.
Simon Roy is a Canadian author and artist who has worked and published a few of his own titles, although it says he was the artist on this title for a few issues. Prophet is his most famous book but he has a few self-published titles out there including Murder Book and Jan’s Atomic Heart. Honestly, I could not find much else out there for this guy, but seems to be doing ok for himself. Image has taken a liking to him andProphet has received quite a bit of publicity. The strange thing is that this book has 3 more authors Farel Dayrlmple, Gainnis Milogiannis, and Brandon Graham. Dayrlmple has written on a few titles for Marvel and I could not find anything on Milogainnis. Brandon Graham has worked on a variety of titles, The Wicked + The Divine being his most famous. I am not sure how or who came up with all the ideas in the book or how it works with so many writers at the helm, but now I realize how all the creative aspects of the story were put together. As far as I can tell it seems that Brandon Graham was the one that was mostly responsible for the story, but I could be wrong.
The story starts out with John Prophet awaking from some sort of cryogenic sleep in a machine that was buried in the earth. The Earth as we know it has been destroyed, and the story takes place 10,000 years in the future. Upon awakening his mission is to travel to this tower to awaken the rest of the Earth Empire. He must travel across a dangerous and vastly different landscape to reach his destination filled with monsters and aliens and everything in-between.
This is a very brief and thin synopsis and does not account for the creativity in the story, but that is really the basis of the story. I know near every time I write a review I talk about how creative and how interesting the story is. In the past few weeks I have read two of the most bizarre and just plain odd stories I have ever read. East of West was quite different and something new that is for sure, Ronin was darn near the weirdest story I have ever read, and in a close second comes Prophet. This story is just so weird, there is no other way to describe the book itself. As I said I have read some weird stuff but this one is certainly up there.
The story had a plot I suppose, but it was very loosely held together. While the main character was trying to accomplish his mission, which is what he was programmed to do, you get to see a very weird and bizarre world as he attempts to accomplish it. I cannot explain how weird the writers make the world, which is supposed to be Earth in the far future. In a very loose and somewhat similar way this weirdness reminded me of Saga, where almost anything goes. Even the technology Prophet uses it strange and weird. He has this living organic blanket/shawl thing that is like this nanotechnology that can do all sorts of different things. It was kind of neat but still just very different and far from the typical graphic novel you will pick up.
While I was reading the story I kept thinking to myself where did the author, I thought there was only one, get all these ideas. It was not till I started writing this that I realized that there were 4 writers on this book. That helped explain all the strange ideas in the story and how they all ended up in one place. I consider myself pretty creative but this story just is way out there.
During the story there is very little dialogue. The entire story is more or less narrated and the characters do very little talking. This is a different idea that I have not seen much if at all in a graphic novels, usually the characters are the ones doing all the talking and carry the story. Don’t get me wrong there are some comics that have narration in them, but I have not seen a comic where the majority of the talking is done by the narrator. It is neither a good nor bad thing just very different, although I felt I was a little difficult to gauge the character but as the story goes on the reader does get a solid feel as to the type of person he is.
Despite all the creativeness and strangeness in the story I do not think there is much here. I felt it difficult to finish this book, in fact I forced myself to read the final issues just so I could say that I did. The first three issues are a continuation of the same story but the last two issues are along the same lines but are more or less on their own. They do tie in and I can see where the story is trying to go, but to me it was just hard to read and just plain weird! When you factor that in with such a weak story line it failed to suck me in. The thing that really stinks is that the premise is really cool and I think that if some of the weirdness was left out and those creative efforts were focused on the plot it could have made for a better story.
The artwork in this one is, dare I say, strange. By that I mean that to begin with, probably the first three issues, it is this very gritty and somewhat cartoony rudimentary style. It reminded me of something that would be in a Hickman book, like what is in Manhattan Projects, that is the closest comparison. Still I felt that style was more refined. But by chapter four the style has changed to a more traditional style, but still heavily stylized. I did not care for the first style in the story, but honestly I think it worked quite well with the weirdness of the story and had they used a more traditional style I am not sure the comic would have the same feel. Page layouts are mostly traditional, there were a few pages that stood out and a few full page splashes that made for a few cool scenes, but overall not much to talk about. I will say that these full page splashes really show you what this world looks like and help bring to life such a strange and alien place. Colors are mostly Earth tones, nothing overly bright, a lot of simple browns and duller colors. Again this is not good or bad just the pallet used to bring to life the world in the story.
This is something odd that I could not find an explanation for when I bought the first volume or trade. Normally the first volume collects the first five or six issues, 1-5 or 1-6. However, on the back of this first trade is says the book collects 21-26? When I did some research I found that Image actually resurrected an old title and character with the same name. The last issue published was issue 20 way back in the 90’s. The overall attributes of the character are the same but he looks completely different. This is once again odd, they basically kept the same backstory of the character but redesigned him and introduced him again with an entirely new story taking place 10,000 years in the future. This seems to make a little more sense and puts the story into a little more perspective for me.
All things being equal, and I do not like saying this, I did not care for this one. I honestly think it is way too weird for me as the story seemed very simple and rudimentary at best. There was nothing in any way complex about the plot, which I think was oversimplified as the story wondered aimlessly. As I have said, the overall book is very creative and has a plethora of ideas throughout the story building an alien world full of fascinating creatures which I am sure most readers will enjoy. I like weirdness, but I also like a good solid story and this one seemed to be without the latter. Although, I will say that knowing now that Image took an old character and threw him back into the spot light, is pretty cool. If you cannot tell I was not the biggest fan of this one, but there are a ton of positive reviews on Amazon. There are 60 reviews and the book has over a 4 star rating so I think I am in the minority. As I have said above I love the premise and knowing there are four more trades makes me a little curious as to what happens, but this left a pretty sour taste in my mouth. Take that however you like, just know what you are getting into before you check this one out.