Tag Archives: Stephen Platt

“And So It Was Written….” Part 5

prophet-4-variant-nm-5-1-1The filthy, inhuman creature crawls from its dark, dank hole. Squinting its eyes, it tries to adjust to the sudden bright light, wasting little time as it knows that the light is fleeting. It quickly bathes, takes in nourishment, and performs any other duties that require proper eyesight. It then attempts the final test. Breathing slowly, it flips the switch to its tablet…success! Internet connection has been established! So now I’m writing my newest article! Yes, fellow Unspoken-ites, your dear Symbifan resides in Iowa and was without power for over a week. This was due to a horrible storm that struck here called a “derecho.” (Insert Dora the Explorer saying, “Can you say ‘derecho’?” here.)

But now I’ve returned, refreshed and ready to continue with my series of articles pertaining to the first volume of Image Comics’ Prophet! So, without even further delay, let’s jump right back into the story…

RCO003_1583525712-1The man, known as Jonathan Taylor Prophet, is always at his best when he’s in the midst of a bloodbath. Deep down, he wants to be a man of God. But men of God don’t kill with such grim satisfaction. Do they? He ponders this as he battles. The combatant’s name is Bloodstrike, and first blood was spilled quite some time ago. Both men are bleeding profusely and are injured beyond mortal standards. Yet they continue. The battleground seems to be a filthy sewer, but the rush of water hardly slows either warrior down. Prophet strikes suddenly with a blade. He is met with a kick that connects under his jaw. Never slowing, Prophet hurls the weapon as he’s in motion. It hits home, impaling his enemy in the chest! When Bloodstrike recovers enough, he sees that Prophet is gone. However, he has left a rather easy blood trail to follow. The search begins. (Daaaaaaamn! I haven’t ever seen a battle this bloody in a comic before! And I’ve even read issues where Archie cheated on Betty! Sheesh!)

RCO009_1583525712-1Bloodstrike nurses his many wounds as he follows the trail of his enemy’s blood. He enters another tunnel and immediately spies his prey. Wasting no time, he springs at the seemingly unconscious warrior. Prophet moves with lightning speed, thrusting upward with a long spear! He impales Bloodstrike through his abdomen, hardly slowing the enraged man down. He grabs Prophet and rams the other end of the spear through his chest! Both combatants are now face to face. All that separates them is the weapon that is jammed through both of their broken bodies! (Holy crap! Someone call a damn medic! These guys are real men! I sob and seek comfort when I break a fingernail!)

Shockingly enough, both continue! That is until both are blasted with a stun rifle by an unseen man. He orders others to load them up. (Now, why were these two so intent on murdering one another? Why are they being loaded up for transport by a mystery man? If you really need to know, you’ll have to read the comics these events crossed into. For the purpose of this narrative, I’ll only be covering the Prophet title and the events contained therein. Plus, I’m feeling especially lazy. It’s the late nights and my advanced age I fear. *sob* Goodbye, teenage years. I remember thee fondly.)

RCO006_1583668647-1The next issue, Prophet stands upon a mighty cliff side. Garbed in a flowing red cloak, he surveys the land around him. Without warning, a mechanical transport hovers overhead. Enemies leap from it, intent on the warriors blood! He expects them to be disciples, but they are demons! Unfazed, Prophet draws his weapons. He slays the creatures with little effort, advancing on their ship. He leaps aboard. Slowly rising to his feet, he sees a figure looming over him wearing a cloak similar to his own. The man slowly reveals his face. Prophet expects to see his own face, as his visions usually end this way. Instead it is the hooded face of Crypt. Prophet jolts awake, crying to the heavens! (I love these vision scenes! So cool! The most “vision-like” experience I’ve ever had while asleep was the time I saw myself peeing and awoke to a wet bed. Not sure why I just shared that with you….)

RCO007_1583668647-1Kirby bursts into the room, concerned for his friend’s welfare. Prophet quickly describes the vision to Kirby. He tells him that this was a sign. A sign that he must confront the monstrous Crypt. Kirby scoffs. They’re being hunted by agents of Ragnarok and the U.S. military alike! They should be laying low, not hunting a beast like Crypt all because of a dream! But finally, the small man gives in and the two hit the open road. (Can you imagine having a pal like Kirby? I mean, say you dream about Twinkies and wake up and tell your friend that you’ve had a vision. You are destined to devour these sweet little cakes. And your friend agrees?! That’s a true friend right there. Or he has the munchies too. Either way, though…)

RCO009_1583668647-1We then change our focus to Ragnarok HQ. Deep within the bowels of this sinister complex, Omen has given the order to pack up everything for immediate relocation. Too many know of this “secret” base now, and measures must be taken. As the soldiers follow their orders, Omen descends to a small subbasement. He muses to himself  about how his disciple units will take over the world and he will rule it as a messiah. To do this, he will need a general. A loyal soldier to aid in accomplishing his dark dream. Within the tube floats a growing piece of flesh! (Cue the spooky music! Why do these supervillains always want to take over the world anyway? Talk about stress! Ugh! Your blood pressure would be through the roof in days! Guaranteed!)

Meanwhile, our heroes find themselves being pursued by armored soldiers within a heavily-armed vehicle! The reprogrammed disciple unit and Prophet return fire, but the enemy seems to have the advantage of numbers on their side. Kirby suddenly conceives a dangerous plan. He enters the tunnel at high speed. The soldiers are delighted. Their prey is trapped! When the soldiers enter the tunnel themselves, they’re met with a grisly surprise. The disciple self-destructs! Kirby and Prophet race to freedom through the opposite end.

RCO021_1583668647Later, the heroes take refuge in a church. As Kirby chats with the priest, an old friend of his, Prophet kneels before a large crucifix, secured on the wall behind the altar. There he thinks of his father, a man of the cloth that was murdered by Nazis long ago. Prophet remembers that he once swore to be a just man like his father, a man of God. He then realizes that perhaps that isn’t his path after all. He is a warrior, a killer. Lost in thought, he barely notices the sound of flapping metallic wings overhead. Judas strikes! (Man, seems kinda wrong to attack a man mid-prayer. And in a church no less! Oh well. She has great legs, so we’ll allow it. But just this once.)

As the two battle, Judas reveals that she is from a grim future where the disciples rule. When she was only five years old, Prophet liberated her from a camp. She learned hope that day. He raised her, loved her like a daughter. But sadly this was not to last. She was retaken by the disciples and reimprisoned. For a long time she held out hope that he would come, like a knight on a white steed, and free her once again. He never came. Her hope turned to hatred for him in time. She became a willing servant of her mechanical masters in the hopes of getting her revenge. Now, in this era, she would have it! (Um. Never mind what I said earlier. Chick is loco! I can’t believe she attacked him in a church! The nerve…)

RCO022_1583668647-1Just when it seems that Judas’ dream of vengeance will be realized, Prophets now badly-damaged, reprogrammed disciple makes its presence known! It grabs onto Judas and counts down! Prophet and the others run as their cybernetic savior explodes behind them! Far away, Crypt remarks with disgust how Judas has failed him. It seems that if you want something done right, you must do it yourself.

To be concluded!

RCO027_1583668647-1This article is dedicated to my son, James Christian Miller. His birthday was this month and I promised him I’d dedicate my next article to him. Here it is, buddy. I hope you like it. This article hardly covers the amount of love and pride I feel when you’re around me. Nothing can. This is my best try. Love, Dad.

“And So It Was Written….” Part 4

prophet-4-variant-nm-5-1-1Aaaand….I’m back! Yes. I have traveled back from the mystical far-off Land of Marvel and returned to the space-age World of Image. It was a long and costly journey, wrought with peril and danger! I lost many of my traveling companions along the way, victims of “The Mouse” and his army of killer princesses! *Sob*…they…they sang while they slaughtered them! Who does that?! Monsters! Sigh…oh well. I must proceed. (They would have wanted that.)

RCO006_1583429966-1-1-1When we last left John Prophet he was on the run from Ragnarok, and by his only ally, Kirby! Very little time has passed since then. A transport of sorts comes to a halt in the frozen wilderness of Colorado. Out steps three of Ragnarok’s cybernetic warriors called Disciples. The last to step forward is a much smaller man. By the familiar half-smoked cigar between his lips and his distinctive white hair, we know this to be Kirby himself. Their arrival does not go unnoticed. Their prey watches them from a snowy bank, fuming with rage at the sight of his “friend” allied with the enemy! (Greetings, fight fans! Boy, do we have a slobber-knocker lined up for you tonight! In one corner, the traitor stands. Yes, we know he’s an old fart and the size of a kindergartner, but he must still be tough, right? In the other corner, the warrior hero with luxurious hair and muscles to spare…John Prophet! -Applause!- Let’s get ready to rumble!)

RCO007_1583429966-1Suddenly, one of the Disciples spies Prophet! It reacts quickly, firing a killing shot! Prophet curses himself silently for hesitating as the shot hits him! The force propels him through the air, engulfing him in a painful energy field! He hits the frozen ground. The Disciple is quickly on him, attacking before Prophet can rise! The warrior’s instincts take over, and he strikes back reflexively and races off into the woods as the cyborg is momentarily stunned! Not to be outdone, the creature fires off one of his robotic hands!  (Yep. You read that right. He fired off his hand as an attack. Now, call me crazy, but I’d definitely be hit by this strange maneuver as I’d be screaming like a pansy at the very sight of my enemy’s rocket-propelled hand approaching my  face! Am I alone here?)  It catches up to the hero quickly and knocks him through the frozen top of a nearby lake! He plunges downward, through the unbearably icy water. The cyborg follows.

RCO011_1583429966-1The two combatants grapple as they sink. The Disciple holds Prophet in a bear hug and energizes its body, electrocuting both of them. Enraged, the hero throws the villain off of him. He then pulls a metallic bo staff weapon. It snaps to full length quickly. He then whirls it around, aiming it like a rifle. The tip fires a devastating energy burst at the shocked enemy! The Disciple floats, unmoving. The warrior emerges from the icy waters. He carries the battle-damaged cyborg on his shoulders like a macabre trophy! (I won’t even crack a joke here about the dangers of shrinkage.)

John Prophet carries the limp being for a distance from the other enemies. He then drops it into a clearing in the snow. Taking the padding from either side of his face and pulling, they unattach, revealing wiring underneath! He takes the wires from his temples and attaches the other ends to the battered Disciple’s head. It awakens with a jolt. It then speaks. It claims that it now serves Jonathan Taylor Prophet! (And here I thought those things were earmuffs or something!)

RCO003_1583428076-1-1The next issue, we find ourselves back at Ragnarok HQ. Philip Omen stands, lit cigarette in hand, surveying all around him with extreme satisfaction. (Why are supervillains in comic books always holding a goblet or glass of wine? Sorry. The cig just reminded me of it. Is it to represent that they’re just so relaxed and at peace with being evil? Nah. They’re just so evil that, even in their off time, they have to do something naughty.)

Why is this madman smiling more than usual? Because Judas, the female winged terror from the future, has come to present day with a message. She tells him that, in her time, his Disciples rule all and that he is seen as a type of messiah. She is but his servant. Her mission? To kill John Prophet before he can become a threat! After she departs on her “holy mission” Omen turns and speaks to the hologram of a red-skinned being. The being, Darkthorn, is pleased with these recent developments, but to make sure that his and Omen’s dream in fact becomes reality, he will be sending someone else to assure it. (Damn! Sexist much? Like Judas can’t get the job done because she’s a woman?! I am appalled! I believe that women are our equals! They are not just pretty faces! Plus…Judas is hoooot!)

RCO007_1583428076-1Elsewhere, back in the forests of Colorado, Kirby and the remaining Disciples search for Prophet. When they approach the frozen lake, they are met with a boobytrap! (Hehehe! I wrote the word “booby”! What? I’m getting old, but I can still find pleasure in the simpler things.) Prophet’s reprogrammed cyborg bursts through the ice! It opens fire on Kirby’s companion Disciple! Then, as if from the heavens, Prophet drops from above firing upon his once-ally! Not to be defeated, Kirby blasts Prophet’s minion and throws himself onto John’s back! Prophet throws Kirby over his head and the battle begins! The two warriors unleash  holy hell upon one another until both are covered in their own blood and the blood of their opponent! Finally, both pull twin firearms at the same time! The standoff begins.

RCO014_1583428076-1That’s when D.O.C.C. finally comes back online! The artificial intelligence calms Prophet’s rage. He lowers his weapons. Kirby sighs with relief. The two soldiers quickly make amends. They then decide it’s time to return to their shared mission. Omen and Ragnarok must be stopped!

While the heroes decide their next course of action, a portal opens not too far away. A monster of a man emerges. He is obviously the one Darkthorn spoke of. His name is Crypt and the war has now truly begun!

To be continued…..

RCO017_1583428076-1

Dedicated to my nephew, Blade Lee Miller, for his 21st. birthday! Happy birthday and I love you! Now go forth and make the bars sorry they ever invented their “free birthday drink” policy! Mwahahahahaha!

“And So It Was Written….” part 3

prophet-4-variant-nm-5-1-1

Well, here we are again. You. Me. And….him. You know, in writing my third article about the man, John Prophet, I believe I’m beginning to feel a type of kinship with the character. Yes. That’s it. I feel that I’m inside his head. So much so, that I believe that I too am on a holy mission. A mission to bring you, the loyal Unspoken fans, my musings on the subject. And who knows, maybe (in the far-off future) someone will discover these words and take them as a type of scripture. Becoming a warrior for what’s right, inspired by my words.

(Yeah. And maybe Batman fans will stop using “prep time” as an excuse…)

When we last left Prophet, he and Kirby had been battling the super-powered soldiers of Bloodstrike, but the fighting came to a screeching halt when Prophet saw his long-lost love Mary.

RCO003_1583780159-1Now Prophet awakens in anguish. He finds himself nailed through the wrists and ankles to a mighty tree, a large chain holding him in place! He struggles but it’s all in vain. That’s when he spies the robed men approaching him. Peering closer, he sees that these aren’t men at all! No, they appear to be demons! Before he can react, one of the human-looking demons pulls a long spear. He wastes little time as he pierces our hero through the heart!

Prophet truly awakens from his nightmare. (That’s what this guy has nightmares about? Damn! And I thought my dream about having a Big Mac for a head was scary!) The first word on his lips is: “Mary.” As his vision clears, he sees that only Kirby stands over him and that his surroundings have changed drastically. When he questions his partner, Kirby replies that they are now within a titanium-laced prison cell, held by the U.S. government! This bit of news doesn’t seem to bother the big man at all. Instead, he questions Kirby about Mary. Kirby doesn’t have much to add to the conversation before the two are interrupted.

RCO008_1583780159-1The cell doors open, and among several highly-armored, gigantic guards stands “Mary” and… (Note to self: Pausing for dramatic effect is a fantastic stalling mechanism when pretending to pass yourself off as a professional writer) the man who stabbed him through the chest in his nightmare!

The man introduces himself as Philip Omen, director of a government-funded research and development program called Ragnarok. He also introduces “Mary” as a Ms. McCormick of the FBI. Kirby and Omen then get into a verbal battle about their rights (or lack thereof) as prisoners. While this is occurring, Prophet keeps his eyes fixed upon the woman. Omen finally finishes by remarking that the two heroes should get comfy and that they gave up their rights when they attacked a government installation. He leaves the cell with a smirk. “Mary” is then left to question the two. John wastes no time in asking if she is in fact his Mary. (Way to beat around the bush, John! Geez! You know what? That’s cool. I was tired of typing her name in quotations anyway.)

The woman admits that her name is in fact Mary (thank God!), but she has no idea who he is. She then goes on with her questions. After she seems satisfied and turns to leave. Kirby decides to get a bit mouthy with her, but she verbally puts the small man in his place and exits. As the cell doors lock in place and they are alone once again, Prophet tells Kirby that Omen is Doombringer, the very one that he was created to stop and who is prophesied to usher in the end of all things! (Wow! Talk about a cool nickname! But does the moniker “Doombringer” really fit a guy with that haircut though? Look at the picture above for the answer.)

RCO016_1583780159-1Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., a strange woman stops her trek through a filthy alleyway. She places a canister-like object on the ground and opens it. Bladed projectiles shoot from the device’s innards forming strange, metallic wings on the woman’s back! She declares that she is called Judas and that John Prophet’s days are numbered! She then soars away, like an angel of death!  (Wonder how I knew her name was Judas? She talked to herself literally the whole page! I know that comics aren’t supposed to be very realistic, but, the whole page? Get some therapy, lady!)

RCO020_1583780159-1The board of directors for Ragnarok meet to discuss the possibility for creating more advanced soldiers, like Jonathan Prophet. Omen, however, has other plans. He declares that he would rather move forward with his pet project. This would entail androids with sophisticated A.I. to pose as humans, to get close to their targets, and to assassinate them with perfect efficiency. (So, basically he plans on creating Terminators? Real original idea there. Wait! How about taking it a step further and creating cybernetic police officers? We’ll call them Robocops!) To illustrate his point, Omen rips the flesh from his face, revealing a robotic skull underneath! The real Philip Omen then enters the room, confident he has made his point.

Later, the prisoners are are approached once again. They are told that they will now serve Ragnarok as they see fit. Kirby replies that they’ll do it, but it will be on their terms. The deal is cemented with an ominous handshake.

RCO023_1583780159-1We begin the next issue with Prophet attached to a futuristic-looking device. He watches them like a hawk from his restraints as they take samples and put him through test after test. (Think Clockwork Orange on steroids! I mean, look at the picture below! He looks more pissed than afraid. Hell, I’m nervous to have a filling fixed!)

RCO003_1583550316-1As the testing continues, everyone is watching with wrapped fascination. From the higher-ups at Ragnarok, down to even the soldiers. Kirby is also allowed to watch, but he grows more angry by the moment. Omen decides it’s best to now test the subjects’ mind in virtual battle scenarios. As the program begins, D.O.C.C., the orbiting satellite that powers and also keeps Prophet in check enters his mind. At first, it attempts to keep him calm and collected. But when Prophet suddenly finds himself in the winter of Nazi Germany, during World War Two, the warriors mind takes over instinctively, pushing the mechanized voice out. He is now fully reliving his bloody memories!

(Crap! Omen really screwed up big time, huh? Because it’s always wise to force a superpowered soldier to dredge up his buried wartime atrocities! Yep. This guy’s a genius on par with the old man in Jurassic Park!)

RCO007_1583550316-1-1The warrior stalks his prey, hungry for their screams and the spraying of their life’s blood! He almost pities the enemy. Almost. He strikes without hesitation or mercy! He unloads shell after shell into their bodies, still warm as they drop, in broken pieces, to the cold snow beneath their feet! And then, suddenly he finds himself in the hot jungles of Vietnam. Once again, he watches the enemy before striking. He fires automatic hellfire upon them, dropping their corpses like flaming, tattered ragdolls! (I feel so unmanly as I write this. I wasn’t even a Boy Scout! Excuse me as I weep like a wee child…)

RCO010_1583550316-1Omen is warned again and again by Kirby and the others around him, but still he pushes Prophet deeper into his own raging mind. Prophet spies a woman running from him in terror! His soldier mind takes over. She is the enemy. She must be slain. Looking closer, he sees that she is with child. Prophet battles with his conscience as she flees! But his instincts win over his humanity. He pulls the trigger! He turns. Suddenly, his father, a man of God stands before him! He exclaims his utter disgust at his son’s actions. He then tells John that only Hell awaits his soul now. He turns and disappears. Prophet roars for his father as he fires his rifles to the heavens in rage and misery! (Damn! I gots me some writing skills! I’m all goose-pimply at my descriptions! Yay, me!)

RCO019_1583550316-1That’s when the machines that are hooked to him read that he is dead! The installation instantly goes into an uproar! That’s when they discover that John’s not dead, he’s disconnected and running free! Armed with only two bladed weapons, he cuts his way through the seemingly endless groups of heavily-armed guards! Soon, he bursts free of the compound! Now acting only on animal-like instinct, he takes possession of an advanced tank. And so, just like that, Prophet was free once again!  (Whew! Action-packed, eh, folks? I know! I’m so excited, I peed myself a little! Umm. Note to self: Delete this sentence before this article goes to print.) We end this tale with Omen trying frantically to come up with a plan. That’s when the small man, Kirby, pipes up. He’ll take Prophet down himself!

To be continued….

This article is dedicated to my son, James Miller. Without his constant scolding and attempts at teaching, I would never be as good as I am at “first person shooter” games as I am today.  (A solid 0.5 out of 10 in skill level now!) Prophet would be so proud! Thanks for the fun and nerve-wracking times, Boy!