Comic Picks By The Glick

Prophet vol. 2: Brothers

August 3, 2013

Finding out whether or not this second volume of Brandon Graham’s re-imagining of the old Rob Liefeld character is for you is easy.  Did you enjoy the concentrated sci-fi weirdness of the first volume?  If you did, then pick this up right away because things only get stranger from here.  Now that Old Man Prophet is awake, he’s scouring the galaxy looking for his old comrades, putting the band (and in one case, one of its members) back together piece by piece.  His journey takes him across insects floating in space, through encounters with alien hosts manipulated by parasites, the clan-wars of lizard people, and through bazaars that contain beings with ominous messages for him.  We also see his crew in their quirky glory as one tries to rebuild his robot body and the human being that once lived inside it, and how one of them deals with the social faux-pas of leaving a certain kind of biological mass in a ship of an ally they’ve come to partner with.

“Prophet,” however, is a series that’s best seen for itself rather than approximated through text; at least, at this point it is.  It’s good for Graham that he has an artist in Giannis Milonogiannis who is one of those rare breeds like Guy Davis who can draw anything.  Given how off-the-wall some of the writer’s concepts are, I’m amazed that Milonogiannis is able to wrangle it all into a kind of visual sense -- I guess that’s why he and the other artists on this series are listed as co-plotters in the credits.  Farel Dalrymple one-ups him, though, conveying the same weirdness in a more detailed style that really sells the whole “Space Conan” vibe the title has.

However, I can see some being turned off by the florid text boxes that surround these pictures.  Graham’s work in these is certainly an acquired taste as they’re also highly expository as well.  What makes them work for me is that it’s never just simple exposition.  All of the boxes have some bit of worldbuilding detail to them that it makes you think that there’s a larger story behind them.  When we’re told that their food is “Sweet saps of a black moon hydathode,” and “The leg of an arthropod killed on Eris,” it makes me wonder where these places were and what these things are.  Similarly, when describing Diehard’s piecemeal body the fact that his arm came from a “Stanford Torus,” his torso from the “Tombs of Eris,” and a leg from the “black moon” (where the hydathode was), you get the feeling that there’s a whole miniseries to be had about the exploits there.  Some might look at it and see mere pretentiousness, but I think there’s enough substance underneath the text to make it immersive.

It may be hard to grasp the details of the big picture behind this title, yet it still feels like it’s going somewhere in a way that Graham’s newly minted Eisner-winning epic “King City” didn’t.  That the way is filled with some of the strangest sights you’ll see in comics right now is only a plus.  Here’s hoping that the next volume doesn’t take as long to arrive as this one did.

Jason Glick

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