"Impressive stuff. Check it out."—Frank Santoro on Malachi Ward's Ritual Three: Vile Decay, The Comics Journal
A collection of hauntingly beautiful science fiction and horror short stories by Prophet and Ritual artist Malachi Ward. Collects stories from Mome, Study Group Magazine, Sundays, Best American Comics 2013, and more.
In a dozen stories Malachi explores and blends the classic themes of fantasy and science fiction using a range of illustration techniques and styles. In "Utu" a Shaman arrives at an outpost with prognostications of a terrible war. He claims his visions come from a mysterious god, but can he be trusted? In "Hero for Science" a time-travelling rescue mission turns dour when a team member goes native. In "The Scout" while retrieving information in a remote cave, a scout encounters another version of himself.
Malachi Ward is the creator of the Ritual comic book series from Revival House Press, The Expansion series with Matt Sheean, The Scout, Utu, and Top Five, which is included in the 2013 edition of Best American Comics. Malachi has done work for Brandon Graham's Prophet, Mome, Nobrow, and Study Group Comics. He is currently an artist on the Image Comics series Prophet Strikefile.
This collection of short SF comics by indie comics veteran Ward (Prophet Strikefile) will invariably draw comparisons to The Martian Chronicles, both for its subject matter and its flash fiction approach to storytelling. Like Bradbury, Ward offers brief insights into worlds far away, both in distance and time. He clearly delights in dreaming up these distant places, though he only inhabits them for a few pages at a time. The stories work best when they juxtapose the fantastic settings with the banal lives of those who live there, such as the astronaut who weighs the absurdity of various Star Trek episodes in a running monologue while exploring an alien world. The b&w art is reminiscent of a more tightly inked Brandon Graham, with whom Ward sometimes collaborates. The stories don't always feature an obvious payoff, but each has its share of interesting ideas, aesthetically or plot-wise, and they invariably leave the reader wishing Ward would expand a few into longer, more developed pieces.