When I first picked up this volume of Prophet, I had no idea that there used to be a Prophet series in the early days of Image Comics, created by Rob Liefeld. As far as I can tell, there are not many similarities between the two besides the name, and that’s probably a good thing. This is an interesting science fiction story, brought to life by a great group of artists who present an odd yet intriguing vision of the future. This volume reprints Prophet #21-26.
Brandon Graham has collaborated with a variety of writers to bring this volume to life, the story of the Prophet, a man from the past sent to the future to bring back the Earth Empire. The first few issues of the Prophet series are the most interesting that are within this volume, as Prophet arrives on this strange future version of Earth, and tries to find his contact so that he can find out what he has to do to accomplish his mission of reviving the Empire. This series isn’t heavily dependant upon scripting, but the plotting is important in informing how the artwork portrays the struggle laid out on these pages. The various artists that have been assembled do a brilliant job at depicting a unique dystopia on Earth, as well as on other planets within the reaches of the Earth Empire.
The first arc has some of the best artwork contained within this volume, as it manages to mix together the remnants of human technology with the mutated creatures that still roam the Earth. Prophet’s struggle to ascend to the literal heavens is a fantastic story, as he goes through extreme physical deprivation in order to achieve his goals. The entire collection is full of visceral action, and I appreciated how more often than not this story held back a bit on the action, and instead showed just how isolated the character really is, the compromises he must make, and the physical repercussions of his dedication to his goal. When there is action, it is fast-paced, and brutal, as Prophet takes on a creature instead of a rational, thinking being.
After the first arc, there are multiple Prophets activated, which lead into new stories involving the Prophets that are trying to achieve the goals put before them. That being said, these stories lack the feeling of destiny that the first arc had. The first arc was a fantastic journey, with a real sense of purpose, and unfortunately the last couple of chapters lack the same sense of purpose.
This is a fairly engaging and enjoyable science fiction romp, although fans of the Rob Liefeld version of Prophet will likely be disappointed. The story and concept reminds me of classic science fiction stories, and Graham and company nail the atmosphere and nuance of the story. Prophet is well worth picking up and giving a shot, as it’s a pleasant surprise for unsuspecting readers.