Prophet-1-featured Reviews 

“Prophet” #1

By | April 23rd, 2020
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

Going back to the titles from the first three years of Image Comics is going, quite literally, to before my time. I recognised only a handful of the titles, for better or worse, mainly because they’re still being published today or have recently had a reboot or a crossover with another series. I wouldn’t be able to tell you much about them though. I literally just recognised the names. “Prophet” was not one of those names.

Cover by Rob Liefeld
and Dan Panosian
Prophet #1
Written and Laid out by Rob Liefeld
Illustrated by Dan Panosian
Colored by Byron Talman
Separated by Extreme Color
Lettered by Kurt Hathaway
Reviewed by Luke Cornelius

Prophet has reawakened after being cryogenically frozen for 50 years. Now he must find a way to continue his mission.

Starting “Prophet” #1 with only a cover to give an indication on its contents, was, on the whole, a refreshing experience. I had no idea what “Prophet” was really about or whether it was any good and it was only after finishing the issue that I learnt about its various relaunches.

Knowing absolutely nothing about the series, the opening page recapping “What Has Gone Before” was intimidating. There was a slightly distorted timeline and host of characters I knew nothing about to contend with that threatened to make “Prophet” #1 a difficult read. The issue then opens up in “The Dream” and we see Prophet fighting against the Disciples before climbing aboard the enemy ship and coming face to face with their leaders, Mary and Prophet himself. While this segment doesn’t contextualise too much of the daunting recap and in fact, adds yet another character into the mix, a sense of John Prophet’s character is gained via his internal monologue. This is a character who lost his father, a preacher, to the Reich and is driven by his own faith to defeat evil, in whatever form that it takes.

Panosian’s artwork here, as it is through much of the issue, is enjoyable. It instills a sense of Prophet’s unrelenting drive to defeat evil in the form of the never-ending Disciples and crucially, entertains. Admittedly, it would be a very tough task to get a sequence showing a superhuman decimating a continuous wave of robots not to look cool but nonetheless, this sequence is fun. There’s a couple of moments where the fluidity of the panels is broken because actions have been skipped, but these instances are never too jarring.

When John wakes up from his nightmare, which is somehow the halfway point in the issue, everything starts to get clearer. Liefeld introduces us to Kirby and occupies most of his exchanges with Prophet with the latter’s origins. For a completely new reader, it settles them into the story. Well, the dialogue does, at least. Panosian’s art gives us a glimpse into the mysterious experiments that turned John Prophet into a superhuman and it’s revealed that Kirby was present for them as a lab assistant. Here, Liefeld specifically describes Kirby as a “young lab assistant,” something that Panosian wants to make abundantly clear in the artwork. He draws Kirby with far-out-of-proportion eyes that suddenly make the elusive Doctor Wells an afterthought, with the reader having to now try to understand a baby-man-faced Kirby. Picture the scariest adult and baby face-swap that you can imagine but then imagine you can’t rationalise it because it’s just a face-swap. If this is what Kirby looked like when he was younger, it’s fair to say he looks better with age.

When the comic returns to the present, the script focuses on reconnecting Prophet to the D.O.C.C., with the pair arriving above a “military installation” to do so. This plot is easy enough to comprehend but there’s larger questions about the timeline that arise. Kirby says that Prophet has woken up “fifty years before it all hits the fan,” despite the recap stating that Prophet has already defeated the Disciples in modern-day. Liefeld’s script then jumps to the U.S. where we see Mary leading the search for Prophet. With there being a personal relationship between Mary and Prophet implied in the feelings of hurt and betrayal Prophet feels in the dream, unless there’s two separate Marys in the confines of the issue, it is unclear how Prophet knows Mary because she looks the same as she did in his dream despite him only just having woken up from fifty years in cryogenic sleep. Of course, it is possible she too has only just woken up, but this is not made clear in the issue and only adds another layer of confusion to the issue.

Hathaway’s lettering through the issue flows relatively well, although, as with the rest of the comic, there’s potential points of blunder with the word balloons sometimes using the same style for different characters, although the distinct voice that Liefeld gives Kirby eases this.

Overall, despite there being several complications in the book and the horrific baby-man Kirby being permanently seared into my brain, I enjoyed reading “Prophet” #1. It introduced its main character and gave a rough sense of direction for the series, as well as providing some sci-fi/religious parallels to explore too. There’s certainly enough in the comic to make me want to read on, even if part of that is rooted in me wanting to truly understand whether the timeline complexities were errors, or, more likely, going to be explained later.

//TAGS | First Three Years of Image

Luke Cornelius

Luke is an English and American Literature and Creative Writing graduate. He likes spending his time reading comics (obviously), going out on long walks and watching films/TV series.


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