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Chain Reactions | Prophet #21

by  in Comic News Comment

In a now-deleted interview on Newsarama, Brandon Graham made some unflattering remarks about current Catwoman writer Judd Winick, noting, “It’s okay. DC’s not calling me anyway.” Which is kind of a shame, because after seeing the direction Graham went with Prophet, it would be fun to see him get his hands on Kamandi, OMAC or the Fourth World characters at some point and go nuts.

In any event, Prophet #21 sees Graham and artist Simon Roy give the 1990s Rob Liefeld/Stephen Platt comic an Extreme makeover, and they absolutely go nuts and have a lot of fun reinventing the book. So what did folks think of it? Here’s a smattering of reviews from around the ‘net:

Mark “Bad Man” McCann, Bad Haven: “This book carries on the numbering (#21) and indeed the legacy of a character born of the 90′s Image artist’s boom era, but sensibility wise this is an entirely new creature, that is if anything grounded firmly in a sort of euro indie. While Graham cites John Buscema’s run on Conan as one of his prime influences for the tone of this futuristic tale, with a scope that’s truly broader than the first issue can fully encapsulate (but not by much) it also has a feel of the work of Jodorowsky and Moebius at their collaborative best.”

Greg McElhatton, Comic Book Resources: “Prophet #21 feels like we’re reading the first chunk of the best French science-fiction graphic album that you’ve never heard of before. With a new setting and purpose, coupled with the character himself a bit of a blank slate, it’s a comic that is the perfect jumping on point. John Prophet himself is just as lost as we are on this future Earth, with alien monsters and civilizations, massive jellyfish cities and a mysterious mission. Graham has come up with all sorts of wonderful detail to explore, and does so at a leisurely pace. We not only get to see all of the tools that Prophet is carrying, but we learn about the biology of these strange creatures and get glimpses into their society.”

François Vigneault, Friend or Foe: “Graham et al have crafted a messy, dirty, and downright nasty sci-fi world, and the reader is tossed right into the mix with as little prior knowledge as the title’s eponymous hero, John Prophet. Emerging from a drill-tipped suspended animation pod, Prophet proceeds to vomit up a stimulant-filled pod, hack apart a five-legged predator, and chow down on his expired enemy, all without saying a word. Motivated by dreams, Prophet makes his way through a far-distant future inhabited by a mix of new lifeforms, like the already mentioned tulnaka and the hiber xull, a massive fish-like creature, and familiar, but disturbingly mutated animals, like wolves with parasitic growths and a whole colony of alien settlers. This is a post-human environment, where mankind has been reduced to the level of a farm animal, as Graham writes “The old land is harsher, now. Unforgiving.” There are echoes of Planet of the Apes, but also After Man by Dougal Dixon and the ecological invasion themes of the War Against the Cthorr series by David Gerrold; this is a world where superhuman strength and an enhanced digestive track aren’t the makings of a super hero, but basic equipment that’s required for survival.”

Brian Cronin, Comics Should Be Good: “That said, ‘I can’t wait to see more’ is the right phrase here, as this issue served mostly as set-up for the future – introducing the concept (which is that John Prophet has come out of hibernation on a mission to win Earth back for humanity) and sending John off on his journey (there’s even a map in the comic, which is very cool), so that’s even more impressive about the issue – it was a good comic book and this was mostly all just SET-UP! Once the execution starts to kick in this will likely be an amazing comic book.”

Russ Burlingame, ComicBook.com: “The relentless roller coaster of strange-cool-gross-confusing-awesome makes reading the issue a pleasure, and infuses not just Prophet but the entire Extreme relaunch with the kind of energy and promise that’s rare in any art form, let alone one that generally plays things as safe as mainstream comics. Prophet is born of the same sense of wonder that allows DC and Top Cow to blow up their continuity and start over again. It’s an adventurous spirit that’s worthy of an industry and an art form that’s in flux, close to finding its identity for the next generation but not quite there yet.”

Paul Montgomery, iFanboy: “This one clobbered me over the head. Weird science fiction with a big W. This one’s gonna keep me warm in the absence of Orc Stain, and I’m pretty excited about the roster of artists set to guest on the book. Ignore the number on the cover and get ready to ride out the beginning of the world’s end.”