Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pull List Review: Prophet #26

While this book has always had a strangely quiet feel to it, Prophet #26 is even more subdued than usual. Maybe it's the shift in narrative voice, or the lack of any real violence, but something about it feels almost sleepy. It works, of course, because the main character of the issue has only just woken from a long sleep, and the calm of the story did nothing to lessen the urgency of his mission. But there was definitely a dreamlike quality to the whole thing, and one which was hard to pin down.

Brandon Graham not only writes but draws the issue, and does an excellent job at both. Jaxson, our protagonist, is quite a different character than the Prophets who starred in earlier issues, yet the challenges he faces and his ultimate goals are similar enough to create a cohesive whole. Similarly, Graham's art, which has an alarming level of detail, is very much his own without straying dramatically from what has come before. All of this works to make Prophet #26 a story that, on the one hand, is very singular and contained but, on the other, fits snuggly into the rest of the series and adds to the larger narrative in possibly more ways than anything which preceded it.

There are numerous stunning visuals in the issue, including two different two-page landscapes that are simply majestic, but my favorite aspect of the artwork was Graham's use of red. For a long while, the palette is mostly one of neutral tones and muted greens, with red used sparingly throughout. As we move deeper, though, we see more and more red being utilized---like when Jaxson finds his brother, Xefferson, sitting in the middle of a red pool---until, suddenly, it dominates the page. That moment when Jaxson comes out the other side of the Cyclops rail and is washed in red light from a nearby sun is just awesome, and the rest of the issue, similarly saturated in red, is as gorgeous as it is strange.

Prophet is the most reliably excellent title I've seen in some time, and as it builds its reality and its narrative, brick by beautiful brick, it only gets harder to put down.

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