Prophet Remission by Brandon Graham, Simon Roy, Farel Dalrymple & Giannis Milonogiannis doesn’t just have a lot of creators, it’s also freakishly good.
Think Conan the Barbarian on an acid trip into the deep future. But there is nothing psychedelic, campy or brightly colored about this head trip.
John Prophet, super soldier and general badass wakes up on Earth in the distance future. The world has changed big time since he went into cryosleep though.
Dominated by alien life forms, humanity has devolved into primitive livestock. And I do mean livestock… yuck!
So John does the only sensible thing, he continues on his mission to restart the Earth Empire. Only thing is that news of the Empire’s comeback brings both old allies and enemies out of the galactic woodwork.
Prophet Remission is wired, wonderful and beneath it all there is a story. Want to find out what it is? Read on…
A 90s Captain America Rip-Off Reborn as a Brilliant Sci-Fi Epic
The original Prophet was created by the prolific and super controversial Rob Liefeld in the early 1990s.
Rob was one of the most popular Marvel artist of the time. He created the wacky goodness that is Deadpool and together with seven other rising stars founded the publisher Image in 1992.
But Rob wasn’t exactly known for the originality of his stories and characters. In fact he’s often been accused of liberally ‘borrowing’ from many different sources. Case in point, John Prophet had an eerily similar backstory to Captain America.
So it was with some hesitation, and by pure chance, that I picked up Prophet Remission. Now I’m glad I did!
You see, Prophet Remission is a very different beast.
First of all it doesn’t feel like American Sci-Fi. While most of the creative team is from the good old US of A, they story and art look like they are out of an old issue of the French Metal Hurlant or Heavy Metal magazines.
John Prophet isn’t a wholesome, all-American hero. He’s an effective, motivated and highly intelligent soldier who kinda looks like a Neanderthal.
The aliens in this graphic novel aren’t humanoids with pointy ears, or sexy babes with green skin. They are truly alien, strange and repulsive.
If you’ve ever watched the classic Canadian-German Sci-Fi TV series Lexx, you know what I’m talking about.
Secondly, Prophet Remission’s story has a formless feel to it. Like mist, it’s there and you can see it but you can’t really but your finger on it.
And that’s a marvelous thing.
Mission to the Towers of Thauili Van
Johnny boy explodes onto the scene (literally) in some sort of digger/cryo-pod hybrid. After throwing up a capsule with drugs that restore his body to normal after thousands (?) of years asleep, John takes stock of his inventory and mission.
He knows he supposed to meet up with a contact who will provide him with further instructions. On his way to his rendezvous he meets the horrifying and deadly wildlife. Earth has certainly changed since Prophet’s last visit.
Never one put off by hardship, John improvise, adapt and overcomes. It looks like humans have regressed into a non-sentient animal state. It also looks like Earth’s new owners, amoeba like biped hive creatures are raising humans for food.
Taking living off the land a little too far, John decides to tuck in and enjoy some fresh meat.
You see, Prophet Remission isn’t just breaking the traditions of American Sci-Fi. It’s smashing some serious taboos along the way.
Because John Prophet isn’t a normal human being. The original Prophet was. Our Johnny is one of many clones.
Clones hidden away, put into cryosleep and prepared to rise up from the ashes of the Earth Empire and restore it after its fall. In the alien hive John learns his role in in this master plan.
He must climb the towers of Tahuili Van and sound the clarion’s call of the empires revival.
Yet not everyone is thrilled about this.
In deep space we follow another John Prophet clone as he is sent to recover something priceless from the wreck of a crashed battleship.
On a beautiful green world, an old robot looks into the sky and wonders if it’s finally time.
Deep amongst the debris of an alien metropolis three brothers wake an ancient evil. Is this the same foe that destroyed the empire?
You’ll have to read Prophet Remission to find out!
The Art and Writing of Prophet Remission
I really enjoyed this graphic novel. Honestly wasn’t expecting this. Just saw the book and got intrigued by its relationship to the 90s series. Boy… what did I get myself into?
Brandon Graham spins a darn good yarn, but his writing is beyond the kind of storytelling of most mainstream graphic fiction.
Every chapter in Prophet Remission is part of a bigger story arch, but clarity tends to vanish as quickly as it appears. Graham’s story telling is formless and experimental.
Just when you think you know what’s going on he pulls the rug out from under your feet!
At the end you’re left guessing and with more questions than answers. I love it!
The visuals of Prophet Remission really complement and enhance the writing. The rotating art team of Simon Roy, Farel Dalrymple & Giannis Milonogiannis blend into each other so seamlessly it’s ridiculous.
By the way Graham isn’t just a writer, he also illustrates part of this graphic novel. Complete and utter madness! But it works…
When I first looked at the minimalist, desolate and somewhat cartoony style of Remission, I actually thought it was a Franco-Belgian creation.
Some of the backgrounds and creatures will make you think of Moebius or the excellent and underappreciated (at least in the English speaking world) Marvano.
Hat off to whoever but these four mad geniuses together! No wonder Prophet Remission was nominated for an Eisner Award in 2013.
If Conan the Barbarian took an acid induced trip to a deep future drawn by Moebius, Prophet Remission is what it would look like!
The creative team took a clichéd rip-off from the 90s and turned it into a bizarrely wonderful Sci-Fi epic that stands on its own two feet.
You have to read this one. It’s not the story (which rocks) or the gorgeous art that makes this a must read graphic novel. It’s the experience.
Enjoy your headtrip!
PS: This one’s a keeper. Get your copy of Prophet Remission today. It’s sci-fi. And it’s American but looks and feels European. What’s not to like?