If you like this title for the pervasive weirdness it offers up, then you might be just a little disappointed by vol. 3. Oh, there’s plenty of interesting sights to behold, like the multitude of various Johns we see on Earth. Big ones, tall ones, small ones built for pleasure, ones with multiple faces, symbiotic ones with giant brains -- the list goes on. It’s all a part of the window we get into the Great Earth Empire after focusing on Old Man Prophet’s exploits in the previous volume. The focus is on the first John we met in this series, Newfather, as he is awakened to a much greater threat facing the universe and recruits some of his like-minded comrades to assist him in confronting it. This is also true of Old Man Prophet though his route takes him down the far stranger path of integrating even more old characters created by Rob Liefeld into this series.
The thing that stands out to me about this volume is that even though it continues to offer plenty of out-there visuals and ideas, the storytelling hews pretty close to convention for the most part. You can see this in the opening tale, about a female John who has to track down one of her brothers who went native and the sympathy she develops for them as well as the greater threat that looks to force a union between the warring factions in this title. So the disappointment comes from realizing that the story we’re getting here isn’t as entertainingly weird as the trappings around it. That said, the art is still great as original artist Simon Roy returns to illustrate the “Earth Empire” sections and he gives the visuals a wonderfully fleshy detail to them which suits their copious action and violence. Giannis Milonogiannis continues to refine his style here, offering up a interesting contrast in the “Old Man Prophet” scenes as he delivers art with lots of thinly precise detail to it. Given that writer Brandon Graham is an artist itself, it’s not surprising that the book continues to be a visual feast, even if the writing here only offers more proof that he’s better with images than the stories surrounding them.