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Chain Reactions | Prophet #21

Prophet #21

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.”

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Comments

8 Comments

I must read this book. But I’m still slack-jawed that they pulled so much from an interview when the person who made the statement didn’t have a problem with it. I’d love to know why it was pulled after the fact.

Now that’s honest and conviction! He reposted his comments that were cowardly removed by Newsarama.
If you’re going to say something, own it. Brandon Graham does that and then some.

I think the intro he writes to the blog is a little goofy though. Saying that the comics industry needs a genuine critical eye and then the extent of his critical eye is “dude from real world is teh suxxor” and this statement actually confuses the gender issue he speaks of as being particularly important and seems to be a knee jerk reaction to his inability to respond well to Seely’s response about having a dominatrix in his book.

The conversation boiled down goes like this Brendon “it’s important that we have comics we can show to women, very important that Glory doesn’t look like a supermodel.” Joe “Yes, it’s a little embarrassing to have Batman screwing Catwoman on a roof. What do you think Tim?” Tim “dude, I have a dominatrix woman n a mask in my book, maybe I’m not the person to ask.” B”No, that’s cool because, like man, YOU’RE doing it. The content isn’t the problem in Catwoman, it’s that the Real World dude sucks.”

The content isn’t the problem? Then why get long winded about gender politics in comics? I suspect it’s just ideological BS with no real backing because at the bottom of the blog he posts pictures he drew of a naked woman pulling panties off another girl with her teeth. Huh. The great philosopher seems like just another wannabe nerd rager to me and his rant made me less interested in his work.

@David – The point is about making classier mainstream comics that are out in the public eye and especially the ones that female readers out there might be more apt to pick up. He’s not saying sketchbooks and personal taste need to be anything but your own.

Jeeziz, Russ, why don’t you tell us how you really feel?

Really, does this guy read ANYTHING other than mainstream comics? Sure, I enjoyed it, but its not that good.

Not intending to be Major Bummer or anything, but as successful and acclaimed as this revival may turn out to be, how long does anyone expect it to last? I was a reader and supporter of Alan Moore’s Extreme revival, as well as Joe Casey’s recent Youngblood relaunch. Both were pretty fun and exciting, but were also cut short and left unfinished due to what seemed to be the original creator exhibiting egocentrism behind the scenes. Not meaning to besmirch the guy, there’s enough of that out there, but this history just follows Mr. Non Finito around.

David: it’s a start though. Comics DO need a critical eye, the sad fact is that getting up on Newsarama and saying Judd Winnick is terrible IS practically revolutionary simply because even that bit of insight SIMPLY IS NOT DONE.

We can go deeper on Winnick’s problems as a writer and storyteller but the first problem is that it’s not even permitted to say that someone is bad in the first place. Also, it was a side comment: remember, this was an interview about the Extreme Team, not a critical insight of Judd Winnick. A side-shot is just about the extent of what is deserved.

I was excited for this (it was hard not to be with the hype surrounding the release), but Prophet was pretty disappointing. First of all, the ‘animals’ and general art style mimics Ricardo Delgado’s series “Hieroglyph.” In fact, the mouth of animal that tries to eat Prophet looks to be pulled straight from the cover of Hieroglyph #2. That being said, other elements were simply absurd. The character that demands to “mate” with Prophet, has a vagina face. I don’t doubt that this is better than the 90s version of Prophet, but the reboot seems unworthy of this much acclaim.

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