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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Prophet!

It's not often that I collect a series of comic books and usually when I do it's a short-run series like Miller and Darrow's "Hard Boiled" or something like Delgado's "Hieroglyph" or Steve White and Dan Abnett's "Hypersonic" but every once in a while, thank you life, there comes another series which I adore.  Luckily I found this one about two years back but didn't start collecting it until this month (which meant that I had to catch up).  



Prophet is the story of John Prophet, a modified / vat grown super soldier (think Captain America) who wakes up from stasis / hybernation on Earth so far in the future that nothing is recognizable to him.  Time, alien races and cosmic events have forever altered the planet, even the galaxy.  John Prophet is not alone, he is one of many John Prophets, some altered genetically for different environments or situations and each as a mission.

The Empire of Man is returning, rising in power, and hell is to be paid.

I can't tell you very much about this other than if you like classic 1970's style Angus McKee, Richard Corben, Moebius and Moreno artwork like that once found in the pages of "Metal Hurlant" ("Heavy Metal" to us Americans) then Prophet is for you.  Just flipping through the pages and looking at the artwork takes me back in time to when art ... comic art ... was hand drawn and not done on computers.  It's crude, brutal and wonderful, not glossy, sedate and precise.  I've ranted about art, especially sci-fi art, and how in it moving into the digital age it has lost a lot of what made it so great.  There's no soul, no emotion anymore in sci-fi art and it shows.  The same can be said of modern sci-fi comic books.  Everything is so clean, antiseptic, mundane and predictable.




Not so with Prophet.




Prophet is the telling of an epic story, tens of thousands of years, with characters that have started in another age of comics (the 1990s) and off and on appeared in several series then had their selves thrown into a reboot in the far future, a future so wonderfully bizarre that you wish that someone would make a movie of it.



Carnivorous aliens, symbiotes, parasites, adaptive membranes, interspecies sex, living rock people, living metal robots, crystal sentients, sapient fungus ... Prophet has something for everyone and a surprise for all.  The artwork is amazing in scope and depth, it's like looking at Darrow's work on "Hard Boiled" ... every time you go back and look at it you see something you missed.

John Prophet is an interesting character but so far I'm drawn more to Diehard, a cyborg shell that is over 10,000 years old.   A man from the 1990's, his body was replaced after his death and his cyborg form lives on.  Several stories tell of Diehard's past, some of when he was still a man, others when he was living on some planet with some adoptive race and had a family.  The fact that Diehard is replacing parts of himself with organic parts taken from dead John Prophet clones is intriguing.  At one point he has a human heart beating in his chest cavity (something he hasn't had for thousands of years) and later he can speak again due to adding one of the clone's vocal cords to his design.  You would think that if a machine was operating just fine without a human heart (and for thousands of years) why would it need to install one now?  Also, why does it need vocal cords to communicate which it could just have a speaker to project an artificial voice.

I may find this out yet.

If you want to pick up on Prophet, you can do so now quickly and cheaply.  There are 45 issues of Prophet dating back to the early '90's but the current restart didn't happen until issue 21.  There are 45 issues now meaning that you need to start at issue 21 and catch up.  That means that you have 24 issues to grab.  This isn't hard since on Amazon there are three trade paperbacks which capture issues 21 to 38 leaving you only with 39 to 45.  I bought the trade paperbacks (about 10 bux each) and then found the other back issues at my local hobby shop for face price.

If you like weird sci-fi, were once a fan of the old Heavy Metal magazine and like stuff like Delgado's "Hieroglyph" then you'll dig Prophet.  Each issue is a page turning treat that leaves you waiting impatiently for next month and the next issue.