If not for Brandon Graham, I wouldn't be reading comics anymore. I was on the cusp of giving up on them when signs indicated that I should check out Graham's revitalization of Rob Liefeld's Prophet. The reviews and commentary sounded so interesting that, despite some horrifying flashbacks to the dark days of '90s Image, I gave it a shot. Two years later, Prophet keeps me interested in the medium (for better or worse) and encourages me to check out independent publishers and titles, 'cause who knows what I might be missing?
PROPHET VOLUME 3: EMPIRE collects issues 32 and 34 - 38. The story so far, in brief: the far future Earth is occupied by various alien races, and innumerable clones of John Prophet are awakening from hibernation across the galaxy in order to reclaim it, but it appears as if the real John Prophet is walking straight down the middle with plans of his own. In Volumes 1 and 2, Graham spent plenty of time building a dense galaxy-spanning backdrop for the story - history, events, locations, characters, and the like. He set up various situations that seemed related, but it was hard to tell exactly how. With EMPIRE, artists Simon Roy and Giannis Milonigiannis join Graham on writing duties as we learn more of what has happened to the Earth, as well as humanity, over the past thousands of years, plus what the Prophets have been up to in the 11 months since the G.O.D. satellite signaled the restart of the Earth Empire. We also get a couple of excellent solo Prophet adventures. At the same time, the original Prophet seeks out more of his former companions, though they are in forms that are strikingly different from what readers may recall (if you're not familiar with Liefeld's various Extreme Studios characters, some research couldn't hurt). There's also the introduction of a threat that *could* have serious implications for the entire series, but really: with this title, who knows if a plot point will evolve into something big, or just be one of Graham's crazy one-off ideas? Having gained all of this welcome information, my perspective on the events of the previous two volumes has changed. I thought I had a pretty good idea of how everything stood up to this point, but Volume 3 reveals that some characters aren't quite so black and white.
Of course, Roy and Milonogiannis continue their sterling artwork, depicting some truly inspired, if not outright bizarre, places and things. The entire creative team works very well together, resulting in a comic that reads and looks like nothing else out there. This most recent volume continues the amazing world-building and wild adventures of the previous two, with more on the horizon.