Married life doesn’t always make sense, but even in those moments it can still be enjoyable. The same can be said of comic books, and Prophecy published by Dynamite Entertainment is a prime example.
Hello and welcome back to Comical Musings, our perpetual valentine to comic readers everywhere. I’m Scott’s brother Hal, and I thank you for joining me today on my journey into the unexpected.
The month of February is drawing to a close. And as we finish off the heart-shaped boxes of candy, and replace them with boxes of Girl Scout Cookies and Easter confections, the sentiments of this romantic time of year fade like the groundhog’s shadow. But before this season passes completely, I wanted to review a comic that I received as a loving, albeit unintended, gift from my wife. (I also wanted to make the other married members of the Writer’s Blok feel bad by publicly gushing about how my spouse has blessed my life… In your face, Blackness Monster.)
Anyway, the other night my wife wanted to surprise me with a gift, and having the occasion to visit our favorite comic book merchant, a comic seemed like an obvious choice. She knows that I am a big fan of Prophet so she looked for the letters “Proph” on the shelf, grabbed the latest issue, purchased it, and had it bagged and boarded for safe-keeping. Needless to say, we were both surprised when she presented me with Prophecy · Book Seven. But as it turns out, this was a great gift, perhaps even better than the elephant shaped bamboo planter that I got her for Valentine’s Day.
***SPOILER ALERT*** (I’m careful about these now.) Prophecy · Book Seven is the thrilling conclusion to a seven part crossover story arc. Since I haven’t read the previous six issues I don’t know what critical plot points or masterfully constructed cliff-hangars this issue resolved. Fair warning; I’m walking in unfamiliar territory, and this post may contain spoilers.
One look at the cover – with Red Sonja, Vampirella, and a few characters I didn’t recognize all standing on a pile of skulls, overshadowed by the ominous visage of Mumm-Ra from the Thundercats* – and I knew this was not Prophet; I also knew I was in for a treat. In case you don’t know, I love crossover and team-up comics, where characters who normally never meet are brought together to fight a common foe (and also to increase comic sales). It’s even better when characters are brought together from different time periods and/or comic universes. Well, Prophecy is literally the Mayan Apocalypse of all lesser-known comic character crossovers. It’s like the comic book version of It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.
Speaking of movies, don’t let the title confuse you. This comic has nothing to do with the 1995 movie The Prophecy starring Christopher Walken, or the 1979 movie about the mutated bear. However, there is a strangely obvious and out-of-place reference made by Vampirella, while she fights beside Ash Williams (the guy with the chainsaw hand) from the Evil Dead/Army of Darkness franchise.
If I were going to title this comic, I would have called it something like: Everyone Does Everything All at Once! (Maybe that’s why I don’t have a job writing the titles of comics.) Amidst the flurry of action it can be a little difficult to keep track of the cast. Fortunately, there is a convenient roll-call of the main characters at the end. The players include Red Sonja, Vampirella, Pantha, Ash, Herbert West (Re-animator), Dracula, Dracula’s daughter, and Athena (the Greek goddess?). There is also a side plot involving Sherlock Holmes, Watson, and Allan Quatermain hunting for Dorian Gray. And if that weren’t enough, there are appearances by Martin Luther King Jr., Vlad the Impaler, Bob Dylan, Napoleon, Quasimodo, the Red Baron, the Shadow, Einstein, Gandhi, and Robin Hood. Seriously, I did not make any of those names up; they all appear in the issue. I’m telling you, this comic has it all!
Prophecy was written by Ron Marz (no relation), and despite a few cheesy moments (“Alright everyone, let’s all say our names…”) he did a pretty good job, because I could tell what was going on despite jumping-in on the final issue. And the artwork by Walter Geovani is fantastic. It is dynamic and expressive, with beautiful colors and interesting panel layouts.
From what I can tell, this cross-over was initiated to cash-in on interest in the Mayan Apocalypse at the end of last year. Since the world didn’t end, the Mayan Calendar has been all but forgotten, and it leaves the plot of Prophecy looking like a gimmick. But even so, I thought it was well put together and an enjoyable read. It might get old over the course of a series, but as a one-off there was enough novelty to hold my interest from the first page to the last. There’s lots of blood, which earned it a T+ rating; so it’s not for younger readers.
Although I am aware of the characters, I’ve never been interested in reading Vampirella or Red Sonja comics. They always seemed like a thinly veiled excuse to look at pages of scantily-clad, illustrated women cavorting in various ridiculous and garment eroding situations. (Naturally, my wife would gravitate toward such material.) But Prophecy · Book Seven wasn’t nearly as embarrassing or as exploitive as I might have expected. It’s not really an intellectual exercise, but it is entertaining, and it’s easily the best Valentine’s Day present I’ve ever received. If you know someone who enjoys random character mash-ups as much as I do, then buy them a copy and show them some love. And don’t forget to point them towards Comical Musings, because that is the single greatest gift that any person can give.
*As it turns out that wasn’t Mumm-Ra on the cover; he is one of the very few characters mysteriously absent. This was my only disappointment in the comic.
Letter from the editor: You can purchase all of the Prophecy books on Dynamite’s website for about $3.99 a piece.