The 90’s aren’t considered a “good” time for comics. Most regular characters were either over-gothed or ridiculously muscled. One of the more absurd titles was Rob Liefeld’s Prophet, the story of a time traveling soldier, published by the infinitely lame “Extreme Studios.” It was as grotesque as it was hilarious, a sad attempt at something edgy. That’s why it’s completely nuts that the series would be picked back up by King City creator Brandon Graham.
Issue 25 picks up several centuries after the last Liefeld issue, where the Earth is almost unrecognizable, and a Cro-Magnon-looking John Prophet emerges from cryo-sleep. Moments after awakening, Prophet is attacked by this terrifying goat monster, a native of the now-alien Earth.
It’s instantly intriguing, a grim mix of Conan the Barbarian and Dune. With minimal text, the story feels at once enormous and lonely, always hinting at something bigger while focusing on one character. In fact, the first five issues in the reboot are almost depressing, giving the reader almost no hope for the human race. It’s affecting. But, oddly enough, you’re never given a reason to doubt John Prophet. While you’re not sure what his mission is, you know he is going to complete it. Absolutely every problem he encounters is solved via stabbing or love making. Graham does something genius here, by taking the themes prevalent in 90’s comics, turning them inside out, and giving back to a hungry audience.
Graham as done two amazing things in Prophet. The first is a clever remaining of a terrible, terrible comic. The second, and perhaps more impressive, is that Graham has written something that defies his previous attempts. Like I mentioned earlier, Graham is known for his work on King City, an acclaimed comic known for a wry sense of humor and complementary art style. It’s amazing, and something I’m in the process of reading right now. However, much like the title that Prophet is a reboot of, King City is completely different.
The first trade paper back of Prophet ends fantastically. The whole story unravels in a beautifully simplistic way that is mirrored by the gargantuan scope of the narrative itself. The reader has a sense of what’s going on without knowing any of the details, the outline of a galaxy-sprawling army of clones, all running around with different agendas and insane agressions. It’s a barbarian space opera, and it’s required reading for any self respecting nerd.
You can pick up the trade for under ten bucks from Image comics. It’s worth every penny, as you’ll receive a complex story with perfectly paired art, where every aspect works towards the ending unknown. Like any good ongoing story, I cannot wait until book two is released. Sadly, unlike John Prophet, I’m without the benefit of a decent cryo-chamber.