My life feels like a snake leaving its old skin behind. I’m an adult now, in my new adult skin. It’s exciting. Our future is a blank slate. Anything is possible.
The above quote perfectly encapsulates not only what I believe to be the theme of “Prophet” writer Brandon Graham’s ambitious new Image Comics mini-series “Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity,” but it sums up my feelings as I get lost in his fully-realized yet purposefully incomplete world – anything is possible in this comic. This is creativity unleashed. This is an artist unhinged. This is freedom. This is authenticity. And this is where comics should live.
“Multiple Warheads” is a road trip through a Moebius-inspired Russian wasteland. We meet Sexica and her “werewolf” boyfriend Nikoli and as they encounter humanoid cows, cthulhu-esque surgeon general/FDA enforcing creatures, singing cigarettes, and so much more. Sex and Nikoli are simultaneously running to and running from something. Sex is on the hunt for change. She’s looking for something new. Something that will define her. Something that will make her happy.
We need a smoother life. I need to find something to get smooth at.
They’ve split from their old neighborhood just before the “sky fell” on their heads. Their old friends are gone and they had nowhere to go but…nowhere? This is a roadtrip into nothingness. From this issue it appears that Sex and Nik’s existence is made up of cigarettes and junk food and driving and not much else. And they’re fine with that. Sex just wants to keep moving. She wants to find where she belongs. She wants to find herself. But is there anything to find in this world? It seems unlikely. Sign posts point to “regret” or “revenge,” water is pretty much useless, posters line city walls that read: “Options: 1. Run 2. Die Like A Man,” men get massaged in “Misogyny Parlors” and there’s a hardcore organ trade going down.
The issue is divided between Sex and Nikoli’s road trippin’ and the mission of a decapitated-head-toting bounty huntress who needs to find the owner of said decapitated head. How the stories come together is yet to be seen, but it’s apparent that Graham has a plan for this. And even if he doesn’t have a plan, he’s created a environment that is so rich, so creatively impulsive and so easy to slip into, that literally anything can happen and it could work.
Graham’s art is extremely dense, yet loose and free. It takes confidence and true understanding of one’s own fictional world to create such detailed environments that don’t feel stifled by an anal-retentive hand. To say that Brandon Graham’s art and storytelling are “up my alley” is a massive understatement. This is what I crave – a creative, fearless, random, colorful and straight-up weird world that’s anchored by likable, relatable characters. Brandon Graham is a major talent and I look forward to see where “Multiple Warheads” is headed over the course of its 4 issues…and beyond?
“Multiple Warheads” is available Wednesday Oct. 24 from Image Comics.