Kingdoms #3: The Prophet's Oracle

Kingdoms #3: The Prophet's Oracle (2008)
by Zondervan
160 Pages - Black and White [ Biblical / Politics / Action ]

Author - Ben Avery
Artist - Mat Broome, Harold Edge

Publisher summary: 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles tell the history of Israel and Judah following the Davidic dynasty through the exile in Babylon. Against this historical backdrop of the rise and fall of maneuvering kings and warring empires, the fictional series Kingdoms traces in vivid manga style the saga of the dedicated advisor Iddo and his descendants. As he remains loyal to the memory of the just King Josiah and labors to keep his nation faithful to the Lord, Iddo struggles to protect his own family. Destruction looms from the East... while danger lurks within. When the Lord calls him as the prophet to the nations, Jeremiah doesn't know that faithfulness to God often results in mistreatment from others. As he proclaims the word of the Lord to Judah, false prophets and royal officials try to silence him. But as Babylon's army surrounds Jerusalem, the king and people of Judah must choose either to heed God's instructions, or suffer destruction.

Reviewer: UC Pseudonym | Contact | 6 March 2008

By this volume, Kingdoms seems to have evened out. If this is representative of what we can expect from the rest of the series, anyone who has followed it this far will likely find the experience worthwhile.

More so than in the past, it is very obvious that certain panels are reused. This isn’t a problem normally but can disrupt the flow of reading if done poorly. One must wonder if the artists are being pushed by the release schedule and forced to use such tactics. Otherwise, things remain roughly the same in the art department. One minor complaint is a blood spatter that is too weak to feel effective. Also, I noted just how often the story uses a page entirely filled with tall thin panels.

Jeremiah is the focus of this volume, which gives it a coherent feel and narrative spine. Unfortunately, this also means that our “main character” basically disappears. Toward the end Iddo appears and develops his subplot (off to get the exilic prophets, it seems), but it is apparent that this series is about the biblical narrative, not one person within it. Meanwhile, we have the last volume’s story of Jehoahaz referenced, which I liked because it will help the volumes feel interwoven.

The nature of Jeremiah’s career gives them quite a few plot elements to work with, and these are only embellished somewhat. I liked the additions, as they help to illustrate the historical context. Jeremiah’s governing priest, for example, was well done. They also didn’t do a bad job of Jehoiakim cutting up the scroll, but the scene is drawn in such a scattered way that I suspect any reader without knowledge of the story will have no idea what is going on for a while.

Iddo is directly aligned with the prophets here, which is fitting. Presumably he will begin writing the records that give us his name at some point, but that may be reserved for the end of the series. Consequently I have no real theological objections, though I was somewhat disappointed by a literal hand appearing to touch Jeremiah’s lips. The series has treated the divine very subtly up to this point, so I found this jarring. For those who like the nature of the story, however, this volume is more polished than the previous and should give “hope for tomorrow.”

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