Writer: Brandon Graham
Artist: Simon Roy
Publisher: Image Comics
And welcome back to another installment of future-Earth explorations with John Prophet! Behold the desert wasteland of “fallen giants” consisting of thousands of scrapped mechanized war machines! Marvel at the amazing Taxa Caravan, which consists of entire cities constructed on the backs of giant lumbering beasts! Fear the killer stare of the dreaded Xiux-Guin Blade hunter as he considers his next strategic kill…
Yes, all these things and MORE are addressed in a mere 22 pages of breath-taking, otherworldly science fiction smartly assembled by Graham, Roy and Ballermann. This is one creative team to keep tabs on, folks! With both issues I’ve had to re-read them over to glean all the details being provided as John Prophet is thrown into a world that thankfully he at least understands, as his inner monologue informs us of all manner of strangeness going on around him. For instance, take the “refining process” which the Taxa Caravan beasts perform:
“The giant beasts work as living factories, passing what starts as raw sediment and cellulose through each creature’s digestive tract until it is refined into pure Cikade. Cikade is traded to desert kin and used to build strong structure domes. Protection from the deadly insects of this arid land.”
Yes, the core concept it quite gross when you think about it but the execution here is so matter-of-fact that you just believe that these eco-systems are thriving on such methods. And Prophet doesn’t just observe this process from a distance either, for he is forced to shovel excrement from these creatures to trade for his long, arduous passage through the cruel desert conditions.
There is something to be said (yet again) about the foreign biology portrayed in this series, as lines are constantly being blurred by the creators to show us a world where humanoid creatures have no inhibitions about performing their most basest of instincts (procreation), using any available resources for survival (the example above) and even performing murderous acts… as an honored tradition. This is a world full of several different societies, all operating in their own manner with rules that make sense perhaps only to themselves. This isn’t just entertaining sci-fi, it’s also quite thought-provoking. And at its core, this nomadic man-on-a-mission story is more about a stranger in a strange land who is forced to adapt to these conditions, despite his old-fashioned values getting the best of him. John Prophet is a true salt-of-the-Earth hero, with equal parts John Carter and Conan the Cimmerian.
Lap it up, fanboys.