"DangerKatt's Prophet" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by DangerKatt Creative Studio
Written by Daniel Corey
Illustrated by Anthony Diecidue
2009, 154 Pages
Despite the fact that westerns have just about dried up at the box office (with some small exceptions every now and then), they remain a fascinating genre of American storytelling, and adding in a little supernatural element can't hurt to put a different spin on it. That's the world that DangerKatt's Prophet lives in. The title character is a gun-for-hire roaming through a dystopian version of Mexico, haunted by visions of demons and other creatures of the night. In addition to this second sight, Prophet has heightened senses and a seemingly endless supply of bullets to aid him in completing his assignments. This life can drain a man. He's ready to put down his guns and seek that path of redemption, but he's got one last score to settle...and it's a big one.
The main character in DangerKatt's Prophet is your quintessential badass gunslinger. He's like Clint Eastwood meets Jason Statham, all packed in a bitchin' duster jacket. Artist Anthony Diecidue often depicts him with guns ablaze, his coat flapping behind him, making the man look like a spider poised to strike. Prophet is all business, regardless of who he is dealing with. Very rarely are you given a glimpse into what might be going on behind those cold eyes. The man has a dark past and not much of it is revealed.
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The details behind Prophet's powers to see and destroy demons are not fully disclosed. Instead, we get tidbits of information that don't fully add up to an origin story. There have been others with these abilities before him and it stands to reason that there will be others after he's dead and gone. The full history of this lineage or its greater meaning is not discussed. I would have liked to see author Daniel Corey explore this a bit more.
This gets into the main issue with DangerKatt's Prophet. Corey is building a mythology with this character and his world, but there's a lot to cram into just three chapters. The cast includes Prophet, his gorgeous ex-lover Sanchez, his mentor Preacher, the CIA, the DEA, two rival drug cartels, a big bad demon, a cult, a group of monks, a squirrelly assassin, a Mexican presidential candidate, and a partridge in a pear tree. Each of these contributes in some way to the story, but there are aspects of each that could have been picked up by different people. Did we need both the CIA and the DEA? The monks don't contribute much outside of one creepy scene and a weapon that Prophet picks up towards the end of the book.
With all of these players, it makes defining the rules of this world difficult. There's time dedicated to all of these tertiary characters that detracts from Prophet and his origin. After reading through the story, I'm still a little confused as to what exactly he can do and why it matters. That's not to say that this is a bad comic. There's a great tale in here, but it needs to fight its way to the surface through the extra information that's packed on top of it.
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Diecidue's artwork flows between Prophet's rough nature, beautiful women, and terrifying enemies. You can feel the scruff on the title character's face that he probably hasn't shaved in days. When a demon shows up, it's like something out of a nightmare. There are some panels that are less detailed, with more of a sketchy outline to them. This doesn't hurt the comic though. Instead, it provides the correct lens in which to view this dystopian society. On the other end of the spectrum, Diecidue has panels where you can't look away from the gnarly old hands of Preacher, which are depicted in such detail that if he was a tree, you'd be able to count his rings.
The comic is presented in black and white, which works well with the overall tone of the story. I'm interested to see what portions of this would look like with color, even if it was selective, such as blood red or the flare of a gun (of which there are many). As it stands, there's a classic feel to the comic, like you're watching an old film reel that's just been discovered after being buried for years.
The comic also includes some great back matter. First, there's a sketchbook with comments from Diecidue. This gives us a peek into the design process for some of the characters, so you can see how they evolved into their final forms with notes from the artist. This is followed by some pages from the script with thumbnails from Diecidue and an introduction by Corey. As this was released independently, this is valuable information for any aspiring comic creator.
DangerKatt's Prophet breathes new life into the western genre with a unique supernatural element. Although it's overflowing with characters, Corey has started what could be a great mythology with these first few chapters. The end leaves things open for more tales of Prophet as he searches for that path to redemption, so I hope to see where he ends up next.
DangerKatt's Prophet can be purchased through the publisher's official website.