I got to the end of Prophet Earth War #5 and realized, in all honesty, I didn't know what to say about it. I'm not sure that's a sentiment that will make anyone want to read a full review, but it's intended as a reflection on my own abilities (though it likely is that). It's a sign of just what a massive, deeply strange book Prophet has become that I can't really analyze it in terms of the adventure and sci-fi stories it was originally harkening back to. Universes of crystal monsters float in a void, viewed only by a classic Image comics character who, like Badrock and Troll before her, has grown into something powerful and elemental. But somehow, Prophet isn't shapeless, in this penultimate chapter small character moments occur with regularity while the various threads begin to wind up for a conclusion. I don't know that it all means anything, but it's beautiful if inherently hard to review. Since I've already admitted I don't know what I'm doing here (what a load off my chest), let me say another thing: there are too many artists to talk about in this issue. Creator Brandon Graham makes his return to the book with some beautiful stuff, but he's aided by series regulars Grim Wilkins and Giannis Milogiannis along with Jenna Trost. Hell, there are two writers and three colorists on what is, by no means, an anthology book. I guess they way to sum it up is to say that the book is ambitious and has, in the final count perhaps gotten a little messy. The rapid shifting between excellent artists is beautiful but a little disconcerting, and I do miss the simpler days when Simon Roy and Giannis Milogiannis were given short arcs to deal with.
But frankly, to complain about the indulgence is to miss the point of Prophet, and I like the book too dearly to do so. So let's instead look at the elegance of Graham's choice to mirror the events of the books first issues, as our heroes once again fight for the control of the tower of Thailu Vah. It's more than a callback at this point, it's a marker for how far things have come. In the original arc a confused soldier fulfilled his orders, but in the final count, his brothers are defying orders to do something heroic.
I've complained before about how the vague, cosmic sci-fi hasn't been my favorite part of Prophet, but this issue adds a twist that works well. As they drift through the rift in space, the clone general and star mother from issue three, encounter Glory who warns them of a crystal army amassing for an invasion on a universal level. It's a nice reminder of a couple of Prophet's themes--the universe is defined by war on an unimaginable scale but the moral decisions of individuals matter nonetheless. Also, it's nice to see that Graham again ties this crystal threat back to the crystal-blessed warriors of the original arc making it seem like on off-shoot of the existing mythos. At the very least it feels more like science-fiction and less like magic, which is more the wheelhouse of Prophet.
Since we've established twice over that structure isn't going to be the strongpoint of this review, let me try to reframe my main point. Prophet Earth War won't, when all is said and done, be my favorite arc of Prophet, but it's a good arc of comics and a seemingly fitting end. I can't say how I'll feel the series looks when it's over, beyond that it will be a work of unrivaled creativity and occasionally, unrivaled beauty. But in the end, I think that's enough for me.
[su_box title="Score: 4/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]
Prophet Earth War #5 Authors: Brandon Graham and Simon Roy Artists: Grim Wilkins, Brandon Graham, Giannis Milogiannis, and Jenna Trost Colorists: Joseph Bergin III, Brandon Graham, and Lin Visel Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.99 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital