Prophet Earth War 6 (November 2016)

Prophet Earth War #6

Graham and Roy finish Prophet with a weak, manipulative finale. Rushed art and an action movie fight scene. It’s decidedly lacking in ambition. Then they exit by pulling on the longtime reader’s heartstrings, but it’s too little, way too late. It’s a shame what happened to Prophet.

CREDITS

Writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Roy, Giannis Milonogiannis, Grim Wilkins and Graham; colorists, Joseph Bergin II, Graham and Lin Visel; letterer, Ed Brisson; publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet Earth War 4 (May 2016)

Prophet Earth War #4

This issue of Prophet Earth War isn’t the best of the series so far but it’s far from the worst. The front half, which summarizes various warring elements, slogs along a little. But there’s great art from Giannis Milonogiannis, Simon Roy and Grim Wilkins, who manages to make Earth War feel more like Prophet than ever before. Yes, the titular Earth War is incredibly lame so far, but at least the art matches Graham and Roy’s tone for the issue.

Where the issue takes off is in the second half and not just because there’s the romance between Diehard and Rein, because it doesn’t figure into this issue at all. But it is because there’s some humor to the characters, some gentleness, a whole lot of personality. It’s not just the characters, it’s the pacing.

Graham and Roy give their characters a solvable, difficult problem and they have to solve it. There’s a bunch of danger and some humor. There’s a self-awareness to the writing, an enjoyment of the moment. Prophet is at its best when Graham wants to see something expertly visualized. It’s not about being wowed by scenery, it’s about being wowed by how things exist and interact with that scenery.

Really impressive art from Ian Macewan on this issue’s backup. It’s another part of some future thing with a heist and a lot of bland characters. Witzke’s script is fine for a backup, but there’s nothing compelling. Except Macewan’s good art.

CREDITS

Writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Giannis Milonogiannis, Roy and Grim Wilkins; colorists, Joseph Bergin III and Lin Visel; letterer, Ariana Maher. Back up story, The Azimuth Job; writer, Sean Witzke; artist, Ian Macewan; colorist, Sloane Leong. Publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet Earth War 1 (January 2016)

Prophet Earth War #1

Prophet. Earth War. Finally.

After months of waiting, how is it?

It’s eh. Prophet Earth War is eh.

Writers Brandon Graham and Simon Roy stubbornly ignore characters, ignore anything except expositional dialogue. They really want readers to understand what’s going on. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why. If you aren’t already a Prophet reader, Earth War isn’t going to convert you. Setting the action on a desolate planet (kind of like where Kirk fought the Gorn) is real boring.

The artists–Giannis Milongiannis and Roy–pack each page; there’s no grand Prophet panels here. It’s overpacked. Nothing gets enough space.

And Old John Prophet and Young John Prophet. They don’t have any chemistry. Graham and Roy try to force it throughout the issue, but there’s just no spark. They stand around and talk about the prospect of battle; it’s mostly talking heads. And it’s a bore.

It’s also an improvement over the last Prophet, however long ago, so hopefully the uptick continues.

CREDITS

Writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Giannis Milonogiannis and Roy; colorists, Joseph Bergin II and Lin Visel; letterer, Ed Brisson; back up story, Sarah Horrocks; publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet: Strikefile 1 (September 2014)

Prophet: Strikefile #1

Prophet: Strikefile, after the entire relaunched series, explains a lot of what's been going on in the comic. The writers of Prophet always let in little details about the universe, without ever doing full exposition. Strikefile simultaneously has that full exposition, but writers Simon Roy and Brandon Graham still tell it in a reserved manner. They still rely on the art to subtly infer, for example.

The issue has a lot of different artists, most of them regular artists from the series, so they know how to compose an informative Prophet page.

Roy's opening history of the universe–with Grim Wilkins on art–is so dense, the subsequent pages covering various Prophet people, places and things is all gravy.

In their exposition, Roy and Graham maintain a somewhat playful attitude; it's like they know Strikefile is extraneous but they still want to have fun with it.

And, while entirely superfluous, it succeeds.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writers, Simon Roy and Brandon Graham; artists, Roy, Grim Wilkins, Graham, Sandra Lanz,Matt Sheehan, Malachi Ward, Bayard Baudoin, Onta, Giannis Milonogiannis, Joseph Bergin III, Ron Ackins and Tom Parkinson-Morgan; colorists, Sheehan, Ward and Amy Clare; letterer, Ed Brisson; publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet 45 (July 2014)

Prophet #45

I can’t believe it… Prophet ends with a weak setup for the subsequent sequel series. I never would have guessed it, not even as the issue progressed and old John and new John started on their collision course.

They don’t exactly collide, they team up, which is kind of worse, because Graham and Roy are now playing towards a imagined reader expectation. I say imagined because I don’t think any reader wanted them to flush all their creativity and ingenuity in plotting for something predictable. At this point, I don’t think I’d be surprised if the lizard girl ends up with the android.

The pacing is all off on the issue, both narrative and visual. After a minuscule nod towards how they used to identify objects with footnotes, the action beings racing, then slowing to a full page spread, then racing towards the next.

For Prophet, it’s a stunning flop.

C+ 

CREDITS

Writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Farel Dalrymple, Giannis Milonogiannis and Roy; colorists, Joseph Bergin III and Sandra Lanz; letterer, Ed Brisson; publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet 43 (March 2014)

Prophet #43

The difference between a divine Prophet and an excellent one? The divine one has less story. The issue opens with the tree-man on Old John’s team. Bayard Baudoin does the art for his story. It’s very stylized, very lyrical. In just a few pages, Baudoin is able to define how the tree-man sees the universe and his place in it.

Except the issue isn’t just his story. It starts with him, moves to the space battle–including another fun flashback to Youngblood. Even though Graham and Roy use such flashbacks more often now, they’re still surprising. For a moment Prophet all of a sudden becomes a comic about comics, a wild imagining of what could be. Then the moment passes–organically–and the story continues. It’s a very nice move the writers make.

The third part involves the slaves (from many issues ago); it’s setup. Good, but obviously setup.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Bayard Baudoin, Giannis Milonogiannis, Roy, Matt Sheean and Malachi Ward; colorists, Joseph Bergin III, Baudoin, Sheean and Ward; letterer, Ed Brisson. Pieces; writer and artist, Daniel Warren Johnson; colorist, Doug Garbark. Publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet 42 (January 2014)

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Wow. Usually the backups are decent, but this issue’s effort from Polly Guo is so great, I’m talking about it first. Just a superb, funny high school story. Truly excellent stuff.

Now on to the feature. Ron Wimberley does a Diehard flashback. No complaints as it’s a great story, but why is it always Diehard? Why doesn’t anyone else get a story? But he’s telling it Rein-East, which is super cute.

Anyway, the story has Diehard on this planet with a tribal civilization. He’s trying to fit in, going on a vision quest. Only it’s Diehard so his inorganic physiology screws it all up. Even though Wimbeley never outright says it, he makes it clear Diehard is sad in his condition as an immortal android.

Robot. I can’t remember. Doesn’t matter for the story.

The art’s good, full of Prophet energy and wit. Wimberley and Guo do fantastic work.

A 

CREDITS

Writers, Ron Wimberley and Brandon Graham; artists, Wimberley and Giannis Milonogiannis; colorists, Wimberley and Joseph Bergin III; letterer, Ed Brisson. Frog and Fly; writer and artist, Polly Guo. Publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet 41 (December 2013)

Prophet 41 1

Wait… Did I really read the whole thing? It feels like there should be more. Graham and Roy are back to splitting the issue between new and old John Prophet–though here it’s mostly the sidekicks of the Newfather and not much for the old John’s team–and nothing gets resolved.

Even the cliffhanger is goofy, bringing in a new threat in the last couple pages and then the comic just stops.

Then comes Ron Ackins strange back-up about a black cop defending a city in the future where some African nation has built a new civilization for African Americans. Ackins can’t write–for the first two pages, I thought it was an ad for a music group–and he doesn’t draw well either.

Like I said, it’s an awkward issue. Even in the feature, Graham and Roy rush through their character moments, which they usually spend time on.

B- 

CREDITS

Writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Giannis Milonogiannis, Roy, Matt Sheean and Malachi Ward; colorists, Joseph Bergin III, Sheean and Ward; letterer, Ed Brisson. Lancaster Bleu; writer and artist, Rob Ackins. Publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet 40 (October 2013)

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Graham and Roy mostly just work towards bringing the New John together with the Old John, even though Old John doesn’t seem to understand what’s going on yet. He’s a pawn on the intergalactic chessboard, which this issue includes the return of Badrock–an old Image hero from some series or another–and a Cthulhu-like thing flying across the galaxy towards them.

There’s time for some character stuff with Old John, but it’s only a page or so and not as affecting as the conversation between two of New John’s team. One forgets Graham and Roy were able to take Prophet so far in such relatively few issues.

The main story ends up suffering from a lovely little back-up from Nerd O’Reilly. A wizard gets mad at his crystal skull (it’s animate, of course) and it’s a touching, funny little story.

The feature’s just too rambling in comparison.

CREDITS

Writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Giannis Milonogiannis, Roy, Matt Sheean and Malachi Ward; colorist, Joseph Bergin III; letterer, Ed Brisson. Crystal Wizard; writer and artist, Paul Bohm. Publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet 39 (September 2013)

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It’s the Diehard issue, which is an easy pick for favorite Prophet issue but maybe only because Graham and Roy get to do a summary story covering about 10,000 years.

They open with a retelling–I assume, I have no idea–of Diehard’s origin on Earth in the twentieth century. The art, by era, is from one person or another (or a team). It’s all awesome, with Lando’s standing out the most because it’s such a sad story.

Anyway, there’s a first act, a second act, a little third act. Even though the issue moves fast, across the galaxy (and beyond) and through thousands of years, Graham and Roy show the the effects on Diehard and how he changes. Graham is doing so much with Prophet already, I guess he figured he had to do amazing things with forgotten superheroes too.

Lovely, muted Paul Bohm backup too.

Truly exquisite stuff.

CREDITS

Diehard; writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Giannis Milonogiannis, Joseph Bergin III, Matt Sheean, Malachi Ward, James Stokoe, Aaron Conley, Lando, Ron Wimberly, Graham and Roy; colorist, Bergin; letterer, Ed Brisson. Backup; writer and artist, Paul Bohm. Publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet 38 (August 2013)

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What an issue. With Roy and Milonogiannis splitting the art–basically between Old John and New John–it’s a visual feast to be sure. It’s also exceptionally confusing.

The Old John stuff is simpler. It’s a tie-in with Supreme, which most Prophet readers can’t be familiar with, right? But Graham runs with it.

He doesn’t give enough time to the sidekicks though, especially not with the middle issue changeover to New John. And New John doesn’t really do anything–he gets a new arm–before Graham moves on to some planetoid.

At that point, the issue becomes completely incomprehensible. I think a planet gets broken up to free a planet-sized Prophet from a gravity well. Or something.

The backup, from Kate Craig, is cute. It’s a little too cute, with a white koala bear looking guy on a distant planet playing with the weird indigenous lizards. It’s fine.

CREDITS

Prophet; writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Bayard Baudoin, Giannis Milonogiannis and Simon Roy; colorist, Joseph Bergin III, Jessica Pollard and Roy; letterer, Ed Brisson. Catch and Release; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Kate Craig. Publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet 37 (July 2013)

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I’m pretty sure this issue is the first Milonogiannis has done on his own.

If it weren’t for the sketch backup I’d be saying he should do more of these side issues; maybe the backup is just too rough.

The feature has another clone traveling to a weird robotic planetoid where he has to help out another clone. But this clone is mostly ethereal–it’s some kind of technology thing, doesn’t really matter. What does matter is some amazing, action-oriented artwork but still enough story to make the time investment worthwhile.

It’s very assured, given Milonogiannis hasn’t written an issue on his own before–probably… like I said, I can’t remember for certain. There’s a nice close to it and some nice, relatively quiet moments too. Milonogiannis gets it.

Then comes his sketchy black and white backup. It’s pseudo-profound and mostly lame. The art seems unfinished. Big bummer.

CREDITS

Writer, artist and colorist, Giannis Milonogiannis; letterer, Ed Brisson; publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet 36 (June 2013)

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So New John is just Newfather now. Very easy. Oh, and nice cameo again–Graham really seems to enjoy the winks. He’s able to put them in and move right along. It helps Old John’s crew is so personable. Wouldn’t work without them.

There’s a little on Diehard’s crushing again this issue. Nothing ominous but it’s hard to say how it’ll work out. You can never guess with Prophet.

Graham now has Newfather set up his own crew. They’re not as personable–they are just clones after all–but he’s making the juxtaposing between the two Johns more similar in delivery while maintaining difference in texture. Very cool. They’re on the same mission too, so a meet-up is inevitable.

The Care backup is positively distressing this time. The art’s grossness hurts the strip big time. One fixates on the ick factor, not the delicate profoundness of the actual story.

CREDITS

Prophet; writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Roy, Giannis Milonogiannis, Matt Sheehan and Malachi Ward; colorists, Joseph Bergin III, Roy, Sheehan and Ward; letterer, Ed Brisson. Care, Part Three; writers, artists and colorists, Sheean and Ward. Publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet 35 (May 2013)

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Graham has seemingly hit a lull issue. Not a bad issue, but definitely some kind of a bridging one. It’s always hard to say with Prophet, since Graham and his collaborators often do something unexpected.

He splits the issue between Old John and New John. Old John is traveling to meet The Troll, a warlord of some kind apparently, who occupies a moon of Mars. There’s some great stuff with his crew, some oddly touching moments and some funny ones. Very grand scale sci-fi stuff.

New John, on the other hand, should have grand scale too–he’s part of an attack to defeat these aliens who Graham leaves obscure–but Milonogiannis never amps up the huge battle. There are establishing shots, some quick interludes, some expository help, but it feels oddly small. Even though it’s obviously huge.

The Care backup continues to be weird. Better this issue than last.

CREDITS

Prophet; writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artist, Giannis Milonogiannis; colorist, Joseph Bergin III; letterer, Ed Brisson. Care, Part Two; writers, artists and colorists, Matt Sheean and Malachi Ward. Publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet 33 (January 2013)

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Awesome issue, just awesome. Graham ends it with this awkward silence–he only hints at the big events going on–with a focus on Old Man John Prophet’s reaction. Milog does a beautiful job on the art for these pages too.

A lot of the issue is spent with the crew in this strange hive mind fleet. Hive suggests bugs but there are no bugs. It’s all ethereal and beautiful, some kind of Amazonian space fleet. There’s an unexpected cameo too. Graham integrates it beautifully.

He also has a lot of humor. There’s a wonderful running joke about Rein-East and her discarded biological mass. Graham doesn’t do a lot of the detail callouts–he does a few–but something about the pacing of Rein-East’s biological mass reminds of them. It’s matter of fact, but hilarious.

The backup, from Sloane Leong, is rather impressive. Poetic, visceral stuff.

Fantastic issue.

CREDITS

Prophet; writers, Brandon Graham, Giannis Milonogiannis and Simon Roy; artist, Milonogiannis; colorist, Joseph Bergin III; letterer, Ed Brisson. Backup story; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Sloane Leong. Publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet 31 (November 2012)

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This issue has to be the most traditional Prophet yet. Maybe Graham was just taking his time establishing everything. By traditional, I don’t mean “normal” in terms of Prophet issues. I mean “normal” as compared to other comics.

Prophet–Old Man Prophet–and his crew end up on a planet for some trading and for Prophet to attend a meeting. Graham writes Prophet as a solitary guy, but the other crew members talk and hang out. There’s comic relief with Jaxson the drone too. The plant guy and the lizard girl bond. It’s all very well done, with Graham’s return to the characters unexpected (but welcome).

He’s also got some interesting things going on with Diehard the robot.

Prophet is still picking up steam, its best issues ahead.

Olivier Pichard and Cécile Brun’s backup concerns a space traveller stranded on an unfamiliar planet. The art’s lovely, but the story’s slight.

CREDITS

Prophet; writers, Brandon Graham, Giannis Milonogiannis and Simon Roy; artist, Milonogiannis; colorist, Joseph Bergin III; letterer, Ed Brisson. Waveless; writer and colorist, Olivier Pichard; artist, Cécile Brun. Editor, Eric Stephenson; publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet 30 (October 2012)

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Graham brings together a lot of plot threads this issue. Well, he actually more just brings the drone guy–Jaxson–alongside old Prophet. That part of the issue, the third, is probably the least interesting.

The issue opens introducing another new character–who Graham brings back somewhat deftly–and then moves into a lengthy flashback about old Prophet. Milonogiannis handles the illustrating on these two stories; he brings a palpable melancholy to Prophet’s flashback. The series continues to surprise in this way–Graham and his artists get a lot of emotion out of a few pages in the middle of their grandiose sci-fi.

Graham does the art for the last part. It’s action-packed and good, but the issue definitely peaks during the middle.

The Bartan backup from K.C. Silver and Dimi Mac is lame. It’s anthropomorphic animals in space stuff. The jokes are cheap, the punchline’s even worse.

CREDITS

Prophet; writers, Brandon Graham, Giannis Milonogiannis and Simon Roy; artists, Milonogiannis and Graham; colorists, Joseph Bergin III, Milonogiannis and Graham; letterer, Ed Brisson. The Maleficient Maze of Tzontonox!!!!; writer, K.C. Silver; artist, colorist and letterer, Dimi Mac. Editor, Eric Stephenson; publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet 28 (August 2012)

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Graham and company keep up the crazy and camaraderie, but continue to tone down the grossness. Prophet and his living tree sidekick are now traveling the galaxy (or at least the solar system) to find pieces of their other friend. For most of the issue, the other friend is a hodgepodge of parts. It makes for a very interesting supporting cast member.

Towards the end, Humpty Dumpty does get put back together again; Milonogiannis has a good time illustrating it. The character, Diehard, seems like it should look slick (and lame) but Milonogiannis makes the organic android lumpy and awkward.

Most of the issue takes place on a moon. Shattered pieces of planets hang in the atmosphere. Milonogiannis takes no time to beautify, instead suggests enough with his lines the reader fills in the majesty.

The Zooniverse backup is a cool discussion between Graham and Fil Barlow about Barlow’s technique.

CREDITS

Prophet; writers, Brandon Graham, Giannis Milonogiannis and Simon Roy; artist, Milonogiannis; colorist, Joseph Bergin III; letterer, Ed Brisson. Zooniverse; writers, Graham and Fil Barlow; artist and colorist, Barlow. Editor, Eric Stephenson; publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet 27 (July 2012)

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This issue of Prophet is positively touching. It’s something of a quest story, with Prophet–old man Prophet–searching a planet for his friends from long ago. Of course, Prophet gets to this planet on a giant space worm.

Milonogiannis’s art doesn’t really get great until the planet. It’s an amazing place, full of strange creatures and gigantic, intricate landscapes. The inhabitants are tied to these landscapes too, which makes it all the more visual. Graham isn’t being gross in the details anymore. It’s implied more than shown; instead he lets the art overwhelm the reader.

And it’s Graham who makes the touching stuff so good. He never goes too far with Prophet and his friend, using a single line to make the friendship so powerful.

It’s a wonderful issue.

Lin Visel’s backup mildly amuses, sort of David and Goliath with aliens. The art’s in a cartoony style and underdeveloped.

CREDITS

Prophet; writers, Brandon Graham, Simon Roy and Giannis Milonogiannis; artist, Milonogiannis; colorist, Joseph Bergin III; letterer, Ed Brisson. Backup; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Lin Visel. Editor, Eric Stephenson; publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet 25 (May 2012)

Prophet #25

Graham seems overjoyed to knock the reader’s expectations for Prophet around each issue. This one, with Giannis Milonogiannis on that art, changes things up once again.

It’s entirely possible Graham and company might have hit on their actual plot, but after two or three change-ups–I can’t even remember how many it’s been–I imagine most readers would be cautious.

Here’s the great thing though.

It doesn’t matter.

I don’t care if Graham changes it up every two or three issues, because each issue is this fantastic comic book. Milonogiannis’s artwork isn’t the best the series has seen, but it’s quite good. His rough on the people–a bunch of other John Prophets–but his alien world work is outstanding. And the ending is a big surprise.

Graham creates these intricate situations, only the decimate them for effect.

I love it.

Teran’s initiate back-up returns with decent success.

A- 

CREDITS

Prophet; writers, Brandon Graham, Giannis Milonogiannis and Simon Roy; artist, Milonogiannis; colorist, Joseph Bergin III; letterer, Ed Brisson. initiate, Part Two; writer, artist, colorist and letterer, Frank Teran. Editor, Eric Stephenson; publisher, Image Comics.

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