“Prophet” #23 is the conclusion of the initial mission Brandon Graham and Simon Roy presented to us with the “Prophet” #21 relaunch, giving the reader time to stop and think about what they’ve seen up until now. When you do so, I think you’ll find these first three issues have been remarkably consistent, a perfect mixture of high adventure and crazy science.
This issue continues to throw all sorts of larger-than-life creatures and situations. This is a comic that could open with a ten-limbed flying steed for Prophet and just as quickly toss it aside for a different sort of alien life form to take center stage. It’s that casual nature of “Prophet” that is in some ways a bit of its attraction; Graham never stops to gloat to the reader about the cool ideas he’s introducing; instead we just keeping getting them in rapid succession and in doing so it makes this new world feel that much more extraordinary and intriguing. After all, this is a book where the main character can lose a limb and the story itself barely bats an eye. How “Prophet” deals with that otherwise ruinous injury is fun in its own right and another nod towards Graham’s inventive nature.
John Prophet himself is still a bit of an enigma in “Prophet,” although the conclusion of this issue perhaps goes a bit of a way towards explaining just what’s going on with him. In many ways, it’s the perfect cliffhanger; we see just what happens when he finally makes it to the Towers of Thauilu Vah and the G.O.D. Satellite that hovers above it and asks all sorts of new questions by way of exchange. Hopefully, “Prophet” #24 will follow up on that; it certainly seems poised to do so, even as a new adventure will begin.
Roy finishes up his three-issue arc (with hopefully more to come down the line) drawing the creepy “Prophet” world just as well as he began. It’s easy to look at some of the obvious visual victories here and dwell on them; the way Roy draws the bizarre life forms with their gaping monster faces or multiple limbs. What grabbed me the most, though, was how he handled concepts like the Towers of Thauilu Vah. A series of rock spires heading into the edges of the atmosphere doesn’t sound like the most riveting visual, but Roy (and colorist Richard Ballermann) present them as a majestic sight, a Tower of Babel reaching into infinity. The second we see the Towers, they look ominous and dangerous; not bad for just a piece of geology. When Prophet’s at the summit, I also found myself impressed by how Roy can draw very little and still make a strong visual impact. The isolated, bleak nature of those pages is more effective than if he’d gone for tons and tons of visual detail; it’s a perfect choice for the moment.
Frank Teran gives us a five-page back-up story, the first part of a story called “Initiate.” Honestly, I have no idea where it’s going, I’m just excited to see new comic art from Teran. It’s very different from his work on “Hellblazer” or the “Mosaic” story in “Batman: No Man’s Land” but it’s beautiful; a vivid, vibrant painted style that brings to mind the best of “Heavy Metal” from back in the day. I’m looking forward to seeing some more installments and to get a better feel for what exactly it’s about.
“Prophet” continues to prove that there’s no such thing as a bad character, just a bad execution. I’m already eager to see next month’s issue (and artist Farel Dalrymple steps on board for two months); this is science-fantasy super-heroics with a great appeal. More, please.