The cover for Prophet: Earth War #5 is straight out of the sci-fi pulp racks: a four-armed, scowling space warrior looms over a sexy, glowing apparition. This simplicity could not be more in contrast with the vast scope of the universe Brandon Graham’s created in the pages within. Prophet: Earth War #5 draws us even closer to a grand finale: some characters near their final goal, while others are forced to confront all new dangers.
Prophet: Earth War #5 picks up directly where one of the threads in the last issue left off, and the opening pages are truly impressive. The first panels show nothing but the small figures of Multi-Muitox and Red Exmere hanging in the void of ur-space. But background details and color are filled in over the next few panels until we see a totally different picture. This transition helps put you in the mindset of these characters, transported across dimensions and only gradually adjusting their senses and perception to a new reality.
Image readers will recognize another returning character from Rob Liefeld’s work in this sequence. It’s a nice treat for readers of that series, to see this character’s distant future, and another strand in the web connecting the universe revived by Graham, originally created by Liefeld.
The story in Prophet: Earth War #5, with credit shared between Graham and Simon Roy, keeps its momentum. I was a little frustrated with the split between three stories in the last issue, but I think I’m coming around, and here’s why: the tone of each story is very different. If we were just following a straight-up action story from three different perspectives, it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting. But here’s what we get:
- Cosmic, otherworldly weirdness with Multi-Muitox and Red Exmere in ur-space.
- A contemplative, melancholy road trip with Hiyonhoiagn and its passengers.
- Straight-up war with Old Man Prophet’s team.
Both the dialogue and art complement each story. The panels in ur-space are filled with abstract curves and corners, filtered through an eerie blue, and the dialogue refers to power, space, and reality on a cosmic scale. Scenes on Hiyonhoiagn’s back are kind of lonely, framed against the backdrop of the vast night sky, and dialogue centered more around how the characters feel and have changed. The sequence with Old Man Prophet is all action, panels filled with kinetic energy and violence, with understated dialogue and narration that only describes the scene.
It’s an impressive feat, to do these three stories justice in 22 pages, but I think it shows Graham and Roy are thinking about this universe on all different levels, not just the insane, cosmic scale. Art duties are split between Graham, Wilkins, Milonogiannis, and Trost, and the abrupt shifts in style and color palette help enforce the transitions between stories. The eerie blues and grays of ur-space contrast sharply with the starry sky and desolate desert of Hiyonhoiagn’s journey, and the battle in the last sequence is lit with a violent red.
Prophet: Earth War thus far has been a strong continuation of the Prophet storyline, and Prophet: Earth War #5 delivers strong momentum on the way to the end. Those most interested in the cosmic weirdness might not be as enthralled by the other two parts, but they add to the whole and help flesh out the cast of supporting characters and add depth to this strange universe.
- Three different tones represented
- Cool inclusion of other Image character
- With three stories, not as easy to pick up again reading issue by issue
- Last third is a bit abrupt