Island 3 (September 2015)

Island #3

This Island, after opening on José Domingo’s quirky, fantastical, intricate look at an island, ends with the most depressing thing possible. After almost eighty pages of fantasy, Kate Craig’s story of a stranded hikers brings the comic–and the reader–back to reality. A depressing reality.

Overall, most of the stories this issue are undercooked. Malachi Ward and Matt Sheean have slightly future story where everyone’s linked into “the Service;” it’s too bad they didn’t just brand it as a certain fruit-named company. (Or do whatever Bill Amend did in “Fox Trot”). They spend too much time on exposition for what’s actually a simple concept. The narrative meanders–the protagonist, cut off from the instant, useless knowledge of the Internet, finds himself in an ominous situation. It’s all right, but clearly in need of an editor.

Dilraj Mann does this punk thing, one character leading to another character, leading to another character. Looping around. It makes you want to either read Love and Rockets or just look at Love and Rockets covers, because Mann’s art isn’t there and his storytelling isn’t either.

Amy Clare’s art is problematic for a comic–there’s a certain flatness to it and she doesn’t scale it well–but it’s good. Her writing is intentionally obtuse; she wants to make the reader work at getting into her story about a female enforcer in a vague dystopian future, only she takes really obvious shortcuts to exposition. The protagonist, after a year of slipping under the customs radar, gets busted for the story. I think. Like I said, Clare makes the reader work at it.

Tessa Black does an H.R. Giger thing. It may read entirely different to others, but if you’ve seen Species, it’s an H.R. Giger thing.

So it’s definitely a mixed bag this issue of Island but what’s impressive is how worthwhile, even with the unevenness, the comic remains.

CREDITS

Contributors, José Domingo, Malachi Ward, Matt Sheean, Dilraj Mann, Amy Clare, Tessa Black and Kate Craig; 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 41 (December 2013)

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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 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 34 (February 2013)

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It’s another excellent issue. Whatever Graham’s got planned for Prophet, he’s also figured out a way to draw it out but never get boring.

This issue, featuring some great art from Roy, does establish a little more with the New Father John Prophet–he’s the one from the first few issues of the relaunch; seems like he’s been gone for a while and even though he’s sort of a bad guy, it’s nice having him back.

Anyway, what Graham and Roy do here is move him along baby steps but do so in a way to show all the variations of the John Prophet clone. Not all the Johns appear human, not all are equal, some are quiet alien. It’s wacky and wonderful.

The backup, from Matt Sheean and Malachi Ward, disappoints a little. It starts really cool but then turns out to be a Logan’s Run knockoff or something.

CREDITS

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

Prophet 24 (April 2012)

Prophet #24

Prophet by Farel Dalrymple. Sure, Graham comes up with a great new approach to the issue, but it’s Farel Dalrymple doing some kind of even wackier sci-fi than normal Prophet. It’s indescribably wonderful.

The story is a bit of an odyssey. A new John Prophet–with a tail–wakes up on a toxic giant spacecraft and has to get somewhere. Graham has some red herrings–at least for this issue–and slips in a huge subplot almost unnoticed.

I suppose it’s technically derivative of 2001 and Moon but it’s so good it doesn’t matter.

Graham gets to the finish and ends it with more questions, though he never even tries to answer the ones he left open from the last issue. Either it’s building towards something or it’s not. The journey’s good enough on its own.

And that Dalrymple art. Just wonderful.

Sadly, the Shock Post backup is lame.

B+ 

CREDITS

Prophet; writers, Brandon Graham and Farel Dalrymple; artist, Dalrymple; colorist, Joseph Bergin III; letterer, Ed Brisson. Shock Post; writers, artists, colorists and letterers, Matt Sheean and Malachi Ward. Editor, Eric Stephenson; publisher, Image Comics.

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