Recent Dorkiness

Prophet: A World Made of Meat

So the nerd farm really has been quiet of late, and for that I do apologize. It's just been one of those times when life gets in the way. Nothing serious; just a crazy time at my day job made crazier by a nasty chest cold. But with all that going on, I haven't had the time, energy, or (honestly) inclination to write much. But this week, a funnybook came out that was so batshit crazy I HAD to write about it: Prophet #21, from Brandon Graham and Simon Roy Now, this is evidently a relaunch of a Rob Liefield series from the 90s, continuing its numbering as if it hasn't been more than a decade since the last one saw print. I vaguely remember it being on the stands back then, but I've never actually read an issue, and have no idea what it was about. That's okay, though, because Graham moves the action (I think) several thousand years into that book's future, and takes off running in what I can only assume is a very different direction from anything Liefield ever dreamed up for it. Because, seriously, this is some really fucked up shit.

We open on a future-world populated with strange animals and savage non-human creatures…

…into which bursts Our Hero, John Prophet, burrowing up from underground in his weird, spiky, evil-dildo mole machine. Prophet then climbs out and gives artist Simon Roy his first chance (of many) to blow my damn mind with a one-two punch of gruesome body horror and bleakly beautiful panoramic landscape illustration:

Seriously... Click to embiggen. You'll be both sad and glad that you did.

And things just get increasingly weird from there. Prophet’s got a mission here in future-world to save the human race. But, honestly? It looks like it’s a little too late for that to me. Strange new species have come to dominance, and I’m not sure there’s room for us at the top of the food chain anymore.

Again, click to embiggen. Just be prepared...

There’s also an alien race colonizing the Earth whose primary sense is smell, and Our Hero spends much of the rest of the issue living among them. Their society is savage and strange, and we’re confronted with several more different shades of weird body horror as Prophet waits to meet his contact, “passing” as an alien by wearing one of their hides on his back so he smells right to them. Which works, with some limited success…

If it feels like I’m just summarizing here, pausing to go “Look at this!” every so often… That’s because I am. There’s no better review of this book than just telling you about it, honestly. And I’m not even giving away that much. Prophet 21 is endlessly inventive, assaulting the reader with waves of amazing gross-out concepts on every page.

All this climaxes (eww!) when Prophet finally meets with his contact, a vagina-faced alien monkey who wants to have sex with him in exchange for the information it has to give him. And if the images above haven’t provided you with enough nightmare-fuel for the new year, that most certainly will. No, I’m not going to show it to you. Because that really would be spoiling things…

Wildly creative in an exquisitely wrong way, the new Prophet is the real deal. It’s rare to see a mainstream funnybook so willing to take readers out of their comfort zone, and to do it so very skillfully. Because this isn’t just gross-out shock tactics here. Graham’s using a documentarian voice to create a truly alien biosphere in this comic, and Roy’s illustrating it with grisly aplomb. Add in some genuinely beautiful restrained color work, and sound effects lettering that’s fully-integrated into the art, and you’re looking at the state-of-the-art in funnybooks for the new decade.

It reminds me, in the best possible way, of some of the creative chances comics took back in the 80s. And it reminds me of something else, too. I couldn’t find Prophet at my local funnybook store this week, and so I wound up buying a digital copy (which I must admit didn’t really do Roy’s artwork justice). But that digital purchase did lead me to a fascinating juxtaposition, because Comixology was also offering the first issue of Jack Kirby’s Kamandi for cheap money this week, and I read them back-to-back. I’d read Kamandi before, but putting it next to Prophet really put the newer book in proper context for me. Even though “Oonaki Meat Farm” doesn’t have quite the same insane ring as “Kanga-Rat Murder Society,” there’s a similar energy at work in both series, a crazy “Did-I-really-just-read-that?” feeling that I love. And in a funnybook industry that’s often so creatively conservative that it strangles itself, that’s good to see.

Grade: A

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About Mark Brett (431 Articles)
Shaved Yeti. Alien. Writer of stuff. Read my fiction at http://reportsfromthefieldblog.wordpress.com/. Read my thoughts on comic books and other dork culture ephemera at https://dorkforty.wordpress.com/.

2 Comments on Prophet: A World Made of Meat

  1. Thanks for the visual image of “a vagina-faced alien monkey who wants to have sex with him in exchange for the information it has to give him.” That’s gonna stay with me for a while Mark.

    Like

  2. I live to please.

    Like

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