Simon Roy

Prophet Earth War 6 (November 2016)

Prophet Earth War #6Graham and Roy finish Prophet with a weak, manipulative finale. Rushed art and an action movie fight scene. It’s decidedly lacking in ambition. Then they exit by pulling on the longtime reader’s heartstrings, but it’s too little, way too late. It’s a shame what happened to Prophet.

CREDITS

Writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Roy, Giannis Milonogiannis, Grim Wilkins and Graham; colorists, Joseph Bergin II, Graham and Lin Visel; letterer, Ed Brisson; publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet Earth War 5 (July 2016)

Prophet Earth War #5This issue of Earth War feels a little like Prophet-lite. At least writers Graham and Roy know where they should be focusing their attention this issue–there’s three plot lines at least, including the tedious Earth War itself–but they don’t have enough space. The story is way too rushed. It’s the Earth War version of a bridging issue. A bunch of fast paced nonsense to move some characters around while doing some expository somewhere else.

And then there’s the art–there are four different artists and no rhyme or reason to what they’re handling. It looks like Prophet art (because it’s by a bunch of great Prophet artists), but not under close inspection. There’s no detail, there’s no joy. Everyone on Earth War is just trying to get it finished, which is unfortunate, because there’s still some great possibilities in the comic.

There’s a page filling backup–I was kind of hoping the issue would keep going to get towards the end of the series faster (the Earth War stuff is really frustrating, Graham and Roy race through it so fast there’s negative personality). As someone how loved nearly every issue of the Prophet series, I just want Earth War to finish without damaging the original’s legacy….

CREDITS

Writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Graham, Grim Wilkins, Giannis Milonogiannis and Jenna Trost; colorists, Joseph Bergin II, Lin Visel and Graham; letterer, Ariana Maher; back up story, Mike McGhee; publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet Earth War 4 (May 2016)

Prophet Earth War #4This issue of Prophet Earth War isn’t the best of the series so far but it’s far from the worst. The front half, which summarizes various warring elements, slogs along a little. But there’s great art from Giannis Milonogiannis, Simon Roy and Grim Wilkins, who manages to make Earth War feel more like Prophet than ever before. Yes, the titular Earth War is incredibly lame so far, but at least the art matches Graham and Roy’s tone for the issue.

Where the issue takes off is in the second half and not just because there’s the romance between Diehard and Rein, because it doesn’t figure into this issue at all. But it is because there’s some humor to the characters, some gentleness, a whole lot of personality. It’s not just the characters, it’s the pacing.

Graham and Roy give their characters a solvable, difficult problem and they have to solve it. There’s a bunch of danger and some humor. There’s a self-awareness to the writing, an enjoyment of the moment. Prophet is at its best when Graham wants to see something expertly visualized. It’s not about being wowed by scenery, it’s about being wowed by how things exist and interact with that scenery.

Really impressive art from Ian Macewan on this issue’s backup. It’s another part of some future thing with a heist and a lot of bland characters. Witzke’s script is fine for a backup, but there’s nothing compelling. Except Macewan’s good art.

CREDITS

Writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Giannis Milonogiannis, Roy and Grim Wilkins; colorists, Joseph Bergin III and Lin Visel; letterer, Ariana Maher. Back up story, The Azimuth Job; writer, Sean Witzke; artist, Ian Macewan; colorist, Sloane Leong. Publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet Earth War 3 (April 2016)

Prophet Earth War 3There’s something inexplicable about this issue of Prophet Earth War. It doesn’t redeem the series or correct the trajectory or make up for a bad ending to the previous series, but it does reward the reader for sticking through. Like it’s nothing, writers Graham and Roy tell a rather good issue of Prophet about Rein and Diehard. It’s during the Earth War thing, but it’s also a return to that beautiful storytelling, that magical storytelling, this series once had.

This issue isn’t as great as I want it to be. It runs a little long, Graham and Roy waste some pages before they get to the personality. The Grim Wilkins art is fantastic though, so it appeals to the visual imagination. It’s a wonderful world Wilkins renders, full of strange life, perfectly complimenting Graham and Roy’s exposition.

It’s a solid effort, sincere, careful, reserved. Graham and Roy never go too far. There’s such a sadness about the characters, even when they’re laughing or happy, there is always a sadness. As a Prophet fan–even though I forgot what it meant to be a Prophet fan–I love this issue. Is it so bad to wish it was always this good, Earth War or not?

The backup, from Sean Witzka and Ian Macewan, is fine. It’s a future heist thing with a Paris Hilton knock-off and a decent Alien reference. Macewan’s art is excellent. He fits in a lot of procedural detail while maintaining a fun personality for the characters. Witzka’s script is a tad boring. So much exposition. So many narrators.

CREDITS

Writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artist, Grim Wilkins; colorists, Joseph Bergin III and Lin Visel; letterer, Ed Brisson. Back up story, The Azimuth Job; writer, Sean Witzke; artist, Ian Macewan; colorist, Sloane Leong. Publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet Earth War 2 (March 2016)

Prophet: Earth War #2What is this comic? It’s definitely a Prophet comic. It reminds of when Graham and Roy would follow up some great issue with an inexplicable, but also great, fill-in. Only this issue of Earth War isn’t great. It’s all around pedestrian, which is a painful thing to say but… less painful than the comic (at least in the context of Prophet overall).

The story is simple. There’s one of the bad guy John Prophets who decides to kill all the Earth Mothers. So he does. There’s a little more to it, but not much. The issue is a series of fight scenes with minimal exposition and even less character. Nothing interesting about the setting. The backup tries to compensate for the feature’s lack of exploration, but it’s too little, too late.

Eventually, the one really bad ass Earth Mother comes to Earth to fight the bad John Prophet, who was multiple arms and looks more like a Rob Liefeld creation than anything in the comic, which is a Liefeld creation, has to date. I’m using “Liefeld creation” as a pejorative (hopefully the tone made it clear).

Now for the even more unpleasant part. Ron Ackins’s art. It appears painted (but I don’t think it is actually painted) and it’s a bad fit for Prophet. Earth War sort of feels like Prophet Lite and the lack of detail in the art enables that negative sentiment. There’s a dullness when Prophet needs to be sharp.

The aforementioned backup, with art from Aaron Conley and a script by Shannon Lentz, is at least an attempt at a Prophet tale. It’s detailed, it’s got intricate exposition, it’s gross. But it’s also not enough.

Earth War feels lost.

CREDITS

Writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Ron Ackins; colorists, Paul Davey and Ackins; letterer, Ed Brisson. Back up story, The Shape of Tools to Come; writer, Shannon Lentz; artist, Aaron Conley; colorist, Joseph Bergin II. Publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet Earth War 1 (January 2016)

Prophet Earth War #1Prophet. Earth War. Finally.

After months of waiting, how is it?

It’s eh. Prophet Earth War is eh.

Writers Brandon Graham and Simon Roy stubbornly ignore characters, ignore anything except expositional dialogue. They really want readers to understand what’s going on. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why. If you aren’t already a Prophet reader, Earth War isn’t going to convert you. Setting the action on a desolate planet (kind of like where Kirk fought the Gorn) is real boring.

The artists–Giannis Milongiannis and Roy–pack each page; there’s no grand Prophet panels here. It’s overpacked. Nothing gets enough space.

And Old John Prophet and Young John Prophet. They don’t have any chemistry. Graham and Roy try to force it throughout the issue, but there’s just no spark. They stand around and talk about the prospect of battle; it’s mostly talking heads. And it’s a bore.

It’s also an improvement over the last Prophet, however long ago, so hopefully the uptick continues.

CREDITS

Writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Giannis Milonogiannis and Roy; colorists, Joseph Bergin II and Lin Visel; letterer, Ed Brisson; back up story, Sarah Horrocks; publisher, Image Comics.

Island 2 (August 2015)

Island #2Simon Roy starts a story this issue. Some sort of futuristic thing with the plants having grown over everything and people living a savage existence. With cannibalism, he hints, but also secret replicators and lasers. It’s cool. It’s really well-done. It’s just too soon to tell if he’s got anything amazing up his narrative sleeves. With Roy’s level of detail–it’s gorgeous art–it’s hard not to think style above substance, but he’s so careful with the content… maybe it’ll be something great.

And Emma Rios finishes up her mind-transfer story. It’s okay. The art overly stylized–black and white but with different colors for the black depending on scene (and not dark colors, like light red)–but Rios’s panel compositions and her panel transitions are amazing. The story’s kind of bleh, but the structure of the visual narrative makes it worthwhile.

I forgot to mention the Ludroe story about the cats and the skaters. It’s back. It’s dumb. I think I liked the art more this time but the story’s even stupider. I’m definitely not the audience for it.

CREDITS

Contributors, Will Kirkby, Ludroe, Simon Roy, Emma Rios and Robin Bougie; publisher, Image Comics.

The Field 2 (May 2014)

The Field #2The Field gets better this issue because Brisson turns up the craziness. He also gives Roy a great action sequence–the kidnapping Christian versus some elderly bikers. That action puts the comic on its own level, where something should be funny but it isn’t. There’s no humor in way Brisson writes the comic and Roy never pauses on a comic moment. So to describe the comic, it might sound like there’s humor… and there isn’t.

But Brisson also goes ahead and hints at the big reveal. There’s some kind of time travel going on; time travel or mass hysteria. The protagonist is starting to piece things together. Brisson reveals to him and the reader at the same time. It’s not the most original device but it’s an effective standard to employ.

The hard cliffhanger should be scary and funny, but isn’t. Instead, it just promises further inventiveness from the comic.

B 

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Simon Roy; colorist, Simon Gough; publisher, Image Comics.

The Field 1 (April 2014)

The Field #1I have a very simple problem with stories where someone’s hallucinating or living the virtual reality or caught in a time warp and gets to repeat the same day over and over again. These stories are about the gimmick. They can run that gimmick out and be about something after it, but most don’t.

Will Ed Brisson have a real story with The Field after he reveals the mystery of it? Who knows. With Simon Roy on the art–my favorite image has to be this small corner of one panel of the protagonist running in his underoos–the comic will at least look good and Brisson’s writing is fine. It’s just about how he’s going to reveal the solution to his mystery.

There are undoubtedly clues this issue to the truth, but the way he layers the contradictions is more engaging. He’ll solve the mystery for the reader anyway.

B 

CREDITS

Writer and letterer, Ed Brisson; artist, Simon Roy; colorist, Simon Gough; publisher, Image Comics.

Prophet 43 (March 2014)

Prophet #43The difference between a divine Prophet and an excellent one? The divine one has less story. The issue opens with the tree-man on Old John’s team. Bayard Baudoin does the art for his story. It’s very stylized, very lyrical. In just a few pages, Baudoin is able to define how the tree-man sees the universe and his place in it.

Except the issue isn’t just his story. It starts with him, moves to the space battle–including another fun flashback to Youngblood. Even though Graham and Roy use such flashbacks more often now, they’re still surprising. For a moment Prophet all of a sudden becomes a comic about comics, a wild imagining of what could be. Then the moment passes–organically–and the story continues. It’s a very nice move the writers make.

The third part involves the slaves (from many issues ago); it’s setup. Good, but obviously setup.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writers, Brandon Graham and Simon Roy; artists, Bayard Baudoin, Giannis Milonogiannis, Roy, Matt Sheean and Malachi Ward; colorists, Joseph Bergin III, Baudoin, Sheean and Ward; letterer, Ed Brisson. Pieces; writer and artist, Daniel Warren Johnson; colorist, Doug Garbark. Publisher, Image Comics.

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