Sunday, June 24, 2018

Short Lived Comic Series #7 - The Prospector

As I've said before, and as those who know my affinity for comics are aware, I am a huge fan of independent comics and their creators.  Indy comics are not tied down to decades of continuity, they aren't forced to fit into company cross-overs or specific political correctness that permeate the Big Two publishers of comics today.  Simply put, the indy comics of today usually have much better stories, much better art, and all around much better comics.

The Prospector, by writer Darren Neely and art by Philip Burnette, proves my point.

I had the good fortune to meet Mr. Neely at MegaCon last year (2017), and he was so enthusiastic about his comic that I couldn't help myself.  I picked up all five issues of the series and just recently had the chance to sit down and read them.  I honestly wasn't sure what to expect, as it has been more than a year, and quite frankly, I could not remember anything about what the story was about.  So I went into this totally blind, and I walked away from it with a sense of enjoyment and satisfaction from a story well told, both in aspects of the writing and the art.

A university professor.  A small town old-timer.  A hidden secret in an old cave.  An attempt to make that first contact.  All the makings of a great X-Files tale, and quite frankly, by the end of these five issues, I felt very much like I had just read an X-Files story, minus the Mulder and Scully, but with some great storytelling and plenty of twists and surprises.

Professor Betsy Dunn of the Ancient Studies Department is just trying to figure out what's going on.  Why did Jeremiah Tally use dynamite to destroy a cave that could have housed any number of ancient artifacts?  Who is creeping around campus in all black, using the Professor's ID badge to get access to the school?  Why did Tally invest so much money into the university's first fully-integrated radio and optical telescope array?  Are we truly alone in the universe, or is the university's president correct in her belief that there is life out there?  Who, or what, was "The Society" who founded the institute?  And just what in the world is Tally keeping in his basement?

And, the all important question - why does Professor Dunn not remember any of this?

As the X-Files so aptly put it, the trust is out there, and Professor Dunn is determined to find it.  Tally is keeping secrets, and Professor Dunn knows it is something big.  But what she ultimately discovers in this five-issue tale is that nothing is ever quite what it seems, and she ultimately finds herself allies with the old-time, prepared to protect his secret at all costs!

Neely has an interesting way of telling the story, alternating between present, distant past, present, recent past, and so forth - sometimes with clear transitions, and other times it is left for the reader to discover that there has been a shift in time (the characters don't shift, the story does) - so that the reader only gets bits and pieces of what is going on, but it definitely all pays off quite nicely in the end.  Plus, the first issue is told from Professor Dunn's point of view, while the second issue is from Tally's point of view, and thus, the reader learns quite a bit from the two characters, all leading to pretty much the same point by the end of each issue, so that by issue three, you have a feel for the two protagonists and the story can really get moving.

The art is a bit rough, but frankly, it creates the mood for the story, giving the characters and the setting a very western feel to it.

Overall, it was a great read, and I'd more than recommend it for someone wanting an out of the ordinary comic to read!

RATING:  9 alien pick axes out of 10 for taking a chance with an unusual tale that mixes several genres but definitely keep the reader's interest - and leaves just enough plot threads for more story to come (hopefully!)

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