Prophet: Brothers by Brandon Grapham – A Book Review

As you may recall, I lauded the first volume of Prophet published by Image comics as a startlingly original, unpredictable, almost revolutionary work in that it went against the grain of most comic book conventions.  In the first volume, we witnessed the rebirth of several John Prophets and followed their plights in unusually alien worlds.  It didn’t’ reveal much of what was going on, did not focus on any one character for too long, explored an expansive universe, and displayed a wildly visionary story.  I’d never read anything quite like it and instantly became a devoted fan.

Or so I thought.

Unfortunately, in the second volume, Prophet comes back down to Earth as it realigns with customary comic book craft.

In this second volume, we meet the original John Prophet.  And though the story takes place far into the future, he is joined by Diehard, who you may remember from the comic book series Youngblood.  We even are given a brief glimpse of the character Supreme.  Old man Prophet is seeking out past allies to aid him in the coming war.  This volume is linear and, though the art is still gritty and thrillingly unattractive, rather boring.  The first volume seemed intent on creating an entire universe, one that delighted with its uniqueness.  But this volume focuses on one character with his prerequisite band of misfit cronies.  It all seemed the antithesis of the first volume.

I’ll be honest, Diehard really ruined the book for me.  I just wanted this book to continue being so inimitable, but with Diehard in it, it can’t help but make me think that this is a “super hero” book when that is the last thing it set itself up to be.  And with all of the imaginative alien names and language, having a character called “Diehard” is jarring to the experience and takes this reader out of the moment.

I will read volume three upon its release, because I believe in the creators’ work, but if things don’t change, it may be my last volume.

By the way, if you haven’t read the first volume, entitled Remission, do so immediately. As probably made evident, it’s one of the best graphic novels I’ve read in some time.

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