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A Closer Look At Rob Liefeld’s Original Prophet Series

In honor of it being Liefeld week here and since I already reviewed the new Prophet series it’s time we go back to the original. We’ll take a look at the first 7 issues of his inaugural series from 1993-1994. Why only 7? Because I actually own these issues. That’s right; I paid money to buy these when I was 10. The only thing I regret about it is that Liefeld is only on writing duty for this series and the occasional cover. Without further adieu, let’s jump right into this.

$_12

As you may or may not know, the idea for Prophet is basically a Captain America super solider rip off with a few differences.  John Prophet was a homeless man, which seems to raise a few moral questions about the operation. The doctor who experimented on him during WW II was from the future and was originally supposed to program him to be bad, but decided instead to program him to be righteous with a strong belief in God. Prophet was designed specifically to destroy Philip Omen and his gang of cyborgs (maybe?) called the Disciples.

02-Capt-Shatterstar-John-ProphetProphet originally appeared a year earlier in 1992’s Youngblood #2 when he awakens and mistakes Youngblood for the Disciples and goes ballistic.  Liefeld has said that he had intended Prophet to show up in his X-Force run and that the cover was designed originally with the Marvel characters in mind. Can you imagine this going down? The 90’s were a whacky time. Before his series kicked off he had apparently been on a quest seeking to reconnect to the D.O.C.C. (Direct Orbiting Command Center) for his orders, I guess.

Issue #1 (Oct. ‘93)

 

Look at those sweet, sweet inverted abs!

Look at those sweet, sweet inverted abs!

The first issue starts with a 6 page sequence of dialogue boxes upon boxes of Bible verses while Prophet is just laying waste to these strange robots. It’s a very unsettling combination. It gives you a brief history of the of the super solider process and the war with the Disciples. We are also reintroduced to Jackson Kirby who acts as sort of a sidekick (named in honor of Jack Kirby who died shortly before this) and is set to one of the default Liefeld character designs, Cable. Looking straight up like a dwarfish cross between Cable and Clint Eastwood.

Different Bible Quote Count: 4

Double Page Spreads: 3

Issue #2 (Nov. ’93)

Issue #2

Kirby and Prophet are breaking into a warehouse in Alaska to reconnect with the D.O.C.C. and in the meantime have to fight and kill a lot of things. The robots that show up in the first issue dream sequence are prevalent which just seems weird and confusing. Was he (ahem) prophesying them? Is he able to glimpse into the future?

#2 Interior artThere’s also a bit of dialogue from the mouth of Kirby that really highlights Liefeld’s genius, “We make a hellava team, kiddo! You hit ‘em high and I’ll hit ‘em low and together we get the job done” and also “Don’t fret now, Johnny, that’s why God created passwords”.

In my favorite scene of this issue it seems as if the U.S. government is tracking Prophet. One of the agents involved is handed a manila envelope that apparently contains information that is happening across the country right at that very moment. Liefeld inadvertently created cable internet.

Shit gets extreme when a U.S. government sponsored task force named Bloodstrike teleports in to stop them.

(This issue is padded with 5 Prophet pinups in the back)

Different Bible Quote Count: 5

Double Page Spreads: 2

Issue #3 (Dec. ’93)

Better stop juicin’ brah, your neck is going to explode

Better stop juicin’ brah, your neck is going to explode

This entire issue is a fight scene with Prophet & Kirby against Bloodstrike as well as a biblical debate over God during the heat of the battle. Bloodstrike (if the name didn’t give it away) was another Rob Liefeld comic creation. Image really pushed these crossovers early on in these new series to show that it was a universe with lots of interconnectivity. This ultimately ended up doing more harm than good.

Bloodstrike has some sweet X-Men rip offs amongst their designs. One guy looks like Cable (surprise!), which is kind of hilarious that in this fight scene you basically have Cable facing off against pint sized dwarf Cable. The other guy, no mistaking is Wolverine. I don’t know what his powers are or what he does, but it’s the exact same style of costume. Fourplay (yep, the one with four arms) could be based on Spiral from the Mojoverse, but I’ll give Rob benefit of the doubt on that one.

bloodstrike

After the smoke clears the U.S. government agents from the last issue show up to apprehend our boys, led by someone who looks exactly like Prophet’s old girlfriend, Mary. Yet she hasn’t aged a day since WWII…

Epilogue: We’re introduced to a woman named Judas who has surprise suprise a long hair and a sword.

Different Bible Quote Count: 0

Double Page Spreads: 1

Issue #4 (Feb. ’94)

Issue #4

This issue opens with a dream of Prophet being crucified by someone named Omen who is the one who has actually captured them and put them into custody. D.O.C.C. confirms that Omen started the Disciple program. Kirby and Prophet decide it’s best to go along with them and destroy Omen’s project from the inside. Soon, Omen begins to run tests on Prophet to see if he can be used as a weapon for his own needs.

There’s a weird pointless two page interlude about Judas that tells us nothing about her.

Different Bible Quote Count: 5

Double Page Spreads: 0

23 pages + ads

FOUR page letter column

2 Pin Ups

-Installment 3 of 9 of something called Black & White (2 pages)

Issue #5 (April ’94)

Issue #5

Ok, Stephen Platt (also known as SPLATT) takes over on art. His work is still insanely 1990’s but at least he kind of has his own style. The previous artist, Dan Panosian was just a shitty Liefeld carbon copy.

This issue opens up with Omen running Prophet through a simulator for WWII where he goes ape and kills a ton of Nazi’s (which strangely do not have Swastika’s anywhere on their uniform but some other apparently less offensive symbol). Then they move him to Vietnam to do more of the same. The art is really grotesque and bloody.

#5 interior artt

Prophet chooses to kill a woman who is pregnant because she is aligned with the enemy. He immediately begins seeing visions of his Dad condemning his soul to Hell which causes him to freak out in real life and go berserk. This conveniently allows him to escape Omen’s holding facility. They decide the best course of action is to suit Kirby up in some high tech gear and send him out with some other Disciples to retrieve Prophet.

Different Bible Quote Count: 0

Double Page Spreads: 0

Weird centerfold pinup in the middle of the issue

Issue #6 (June ’94)

Issue #6

The Disciples and Kirby attack Prophet. Somehow Prophet reprograms a Disciple with his head gear to serve him.

Yea.

More interestingly though is that Extreme studios decides to run a full page ad blaming SPLATT’s “tardiness” for the delay of issue #7 from July to Sept!

photo

Different Bible Quote Count: 0

Double Page Spreads: 3

Issue #7 (Sept ’94)

Issue #7

Liefeld is credited here as creator/story and Robert Lapton as script/story, whatever the hell that means.

Kirby and Prophet are left to duke it out, which they do and shit gets real bloody real quick. Eventually though they come to their senses and head out on the run together. We are also introduced to Darkthorn (who looks like a red Thanos) who apparently brought Judas to Omen for the purpose of killing Prophet.

Oh and on the last page out of nowhere we get shown Crypt who couldn’t look more 90’s carrying an axe, a gun, rocking a mask and ton of arrows protruding from his back for some reason.

crypt9

He doesn’t need a reason, he’s Rob Liefeld.

This issue was delayed for 3 months and then price was jacked up by 50 cents, what a kick in the balls to the idiots buying this! This may have been to help cover the INSANE cost Liefeld was paying SPLATT.

Different Bible Quote Count: 3

Double Page Spreads: 2

So that’s it. The series only lasted another 3 issues which means I may not get the closure I need for John Prophet. Actually, I’m not sure if anyone got any closure with this series ending when it did. Looking at the covers, issue #8 involves Bloodstrike again and is called War Crimes Part 2 and is touted as an Extreme Sacrifice Tie-In. #9 presumably is about Judas since she’s on the cover and #10 is Extreme Sacrifice Part 7 of 8. I would also like to point out that it took just about a year to put out 7 issues. That’s not ok. This though was one of the main reason Image Comics began to fall apart, but it doesn’t matter because Rob Liefeld does what he wants and we love him for it.

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About Biff Tannen

Film Noir, Pulp, Comic Books and Hitchcock.

Posted on July 22, 2014, in COMICS!, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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