Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Prophet #28: Live Free or Die Hard
Story: Brandon Graham with Giannis Milonogiannis and Simon Roy
Art: Giannis Milonogiannis
Colors: Joseph Bergin III
Aug 29, 2012
Disclaimer: if you haven't read the first 7 issues of Prophet stop reading now. Go to Amazon.com, do yourself a favor, and buy Prophet Volume 1: Remission. It costs $10, and contains six issues of one of the best comic stories of the past decade.
Now for the rest of the Prophet faithful (or those who just need some more convincing that a Rob Liefeld concept could possibly be worth their time), let's dig into this issue and see what Graham and co. have in store for us this month.
First off, let's talk about the cover. Look at that cover! Yes, it's a redesign of the original cover to Rob Liefeld's Prophet #1, only with a cro-magnon looking Prophet who is more like the clone we first meet in issues #21-23. Look at how intense and violent he is, with a knife and arrow stuck into him, and sharpened bones strapped to his back.
If you'd never read Prophet before, you'd probably think "man, this issue looks totally EXTREME!"
Settle down, 90s kid, this issue is nothing like that.
No, this issue continues the story from #27, as Great Grandfather Prophet and his Kinniaan friend Brother Hiyonhoiagn travel towards Earth while gathering up the scattered parts of their mechanical comrade, and former Youngblood member, Die Hard. In the early issues of this series, it was very unclear where it was going and what it was about. The first three issues had a fairly straightforward narrative, but as more and more facts about the greater context of the story emerged, it seemed to be a much more insignificant part of a larger narrative fabric.
With issues #27 and #28, I finally feel like Brandon Graham and his co-creators are making the direction of this series much clearer than it has been, with the original John Prophet, the Great Grandfather to the Earth Empire's clone army, travelling the galaxy and searching for his friends from the last great war, as the Prophet clones work towards reviving the Earth Empire.
The emergence of John Prophet from the drill-pod in the first issue signalled the arrival of the Prophets as an almost violent incursion on nature itself. The very first thing he does is brutally kill a natural predator with an Empire knife. The world of Prophet is one that has moved beyond humanity, and is the better for it. My point is, the return of the Earth Empire is signified through violent action and a disturbance of the natural order.
The Old Man Prophet seems to know this also. I think it's particularly telling that of all his companions we've seen so far, Brother Hiyohoiagn, Die Hard, the robot from #26 and the lizard lady from the last issue whose names I can't remember, none of these characters are human.
So what about this issue? Well, the art continues to be excellent. I know that some Prophet fans prefer Simon Roy's work on the title over Giannis Milonogiannis' manga-inspired artwork but personally, I think his style perfectly fits the austere, poetic narrative that accompanies Old Man Prophet's adventure. Also, it's easy to overlook what a great job that Joseph Bergin III is doing on the colours with this book, but you really should, because the colour of this book contributes so much to its tone.
Another interesting thing about this issue is that we learn more about the Dolmantle. The Dolmantle, if you'll remember, is the sentient, blue, slimy thing that the first Prophet used as a breathing mask, as a glider, and even to re-attach a lost limb. I always thought that something was strange about the Dolmantle (besides all those things I just listed), and in this issue we learn that the Dolmantle can exert mental control over its host, as it does to Diehard's missing warbody. This means that in the first three issues, it must have been the Dolmantle which was pushing the first Prophet clone to reach the God satellite at the top of the Thauili Van.
I have a feeling we have much more to learn about the Dolmantles and their connection to the Mothers and the Earth Empire, but it was nice to start seeing more connections to the earlier issues.
I have never read a Youngblood comic in my entire life, but due to its depiction of Diehard, Prophet #28 makes me want to.
I seriously did not mean to spend this much time talking about Prophet #28. It's but a small chapter in a larger post-human space epic. Buy it now and experience a comic book run that fans will be discussing for decades to come. This is rare, excellent stuff.