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on March 10, 2004
I'm still enjoying this series. The art is good, the story is engaging, and it's just a bit more literate than most comics. The women in this story are a lot more believable than most. Barabara (I'll miss her) lacked the customary hourglass figure, as does Sophie - though in different ways. Maybe Sophie shows a bit too much delicacy and refinement, and maybe Barbara showed a bit too little. I like the human flaws.
Promethea's quick trip through the major arcana of the Tarot was interesting. The oracle is meant to be interpreted in many ways, and the creation story was a different spin on it. Moore's connection of the Tarot to the hebrew alphabet eludes me, but I'll keep reading.
As much as I like Promethea, a few things jar - Promethea seems to buy hats where Galactus does, and shares an eye color with the Silver Surfer. These are little things, though, and don't really bother me.
One passage did bother me, though. I have no problem with a few Tantric moments, but I am shocked at the attitude towards safe sex. The idea of condoms came up, but was discarded since the man involved promised to hold back. WRONG! First, it's pretty easy for any guy to get carried away. Second, a few sperm can leak out even without ejaculation - a quick way to put any woman on the "mommy track". Third, condoms prevent exchange of disease in both directions. Maybe Promethea is so magical that she's immune to conception and other little living things, but maybe Sophie isn't. The book's reader's certainly aren't. It would not have hurt the narrative flow to demonstrate a little adult responsibility as part of the adult pleasures.
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on December 29, 2003
Alan Moore is perhaps the most groundbreaking and innovative comic book scribe in the history of comics. Sure, the field has provided many groundbreaking and innovative comic book artists (from Windsor McKay to Will Eisner, from Jack Kirby to Frank Miller, from Alex Ross to Steve Ditko, and many many more...), but in my opinion, no other comics writer (emphasis on the term "writer") has brought so much to this often maligned art form. Alan Moore has proven that sequential storytelling can be as interesting, thought provoking, inspiring and imaginative as prose storytelling (and indeed, even more at times, since comics have one advantage over prose alone: imagery).
Alan's best known work is of course "Watchmen", often copied and emulated but still unequaled in depth and richness after more than a decade. However, it must not be forgotten that Alan has provided his avid fan base (and an immense number of casual comic book readers from all walks of life) with many delightful comics works since Watchmen. Of these, Promethea stands apart as a very emotional and personal work from its author.
This series is a vehicle for Alan to explore and expose to the readers many themes presumably dear to him. To be able to do so, he has devised a rather interesting trick for the story, creating a framework in which the primary characters (Promethea and her immediate supporting cast) evolve and convey the message to us readers (at some point, the so called "fourth wall" is even breached, much to the delight of Scott McCloud's fans). This trick consists, in fact, of a gigantic road trip through various realms (that is, places the characters visit during the stories) existing outside of our perceived "real" or physical world.
These places can be called psychic realms or metaphysic worlds or the imagination space, they are intended to convey Alan's views concerning various concepts such as the Kaballah, the numerous earthly religions and their impact on us, the relationship between magic and technology (hint: they are two sides of the same cosmic "coin"), mysticism and spirituality, the liberating power of imagination, the neglect of our spiritual sides, the divine nature of womanhood, etc.
This mind bending road trip makes for a unique comics series, and through it all we get to see what are Mr. Moore's views and beliefs. For those willing to put up with the non-traditional approach in words and pictures (the artists, J. H. Williams III and Mick Gray show us how superb draughtsman they can be, adopting many different styles throughout the series - an aspect of this comics series worth the price of admission in itself) Promethea makes a fine and enriching read! Not only do I highly recommend this series, but I recommend the purchase of all the trade paperbacks, and the reading of them in sequence, preferably over a few days... A guaranteed mind trip!
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on September 16, 2002
This is the second collected volume of the series. It's probably best to start with volume one. :-> That said, this continues the story of the living legend Promethea, as currently embodied in an alternative, technologically-advanced 20th Century. The 1999/2000 New Year's Day celebrations take place in this volume, for those wishing to keep score.
Each issue is becoming more jewellike and perfect, it seems to me (though I haven't gone on to the third compendium yet). One entire issue/chapter in this volume is given over to an exploration of humanity's history through the metaphor of a modified tarot deck, as told by the snakes on Promethea's caduceus, Mike and Mack (Micro and Macro - who speak in rhyming quatrains of iambic pentameter, flawlessly, each keeping his recognizable viewpoint towards either the big picture or the minutiae). Along the bottom of each page is both an anagram of Promethea's name that is pertinent to that page's content, and a serialized joke whose phrases again echo and reinforce the other three threads on each page. Another issue is given to an extended tantric sex scene (nothing is explicitly shown but boobies, though MUCH is implied), with a discussion of the theory and practice of magical symbolism and chakras ... which leads to a priceless last-page joke.
It's not a traditional narrative comic book. It's not even as traditionally-narrative as the first volume. It's ... dreamlike, and dense, and strange, in a way that is entirely appropriate for a work purporting to be about the world of imagination, and how that world interacts with our own through its avatar. It's not everyone's cup of tea, no. But if you like Neil Gaiman, you might well enjoy this too.
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on July 28, 2001
When I reviewed the first volume in this series, I described the general idea in the following way: 'Promethea' is an attempt to render the female super hero in an archetypical form. This book has a strong mystical or spiritual theme, with the female lead cast in a pluralistic role: she is both Sophie Bangs, student, and Promethea, imagination personified. Our Promethea is not the first, there is a whole line of Prometheas stretching back to ancient Egypt, and we get to know some of the earlier ones in this book.
This volume collects issues 7 through 12 of the series. If anything, it tops the previous volume.
Alan Moore and JH Williams III are firing on all cylinders here - we get quite a detailed examination of spiritual themes, contrasted and compared to quantum physics; some superheroing; one of the most sensual comics you're likely to see, and a diverse cast of characters.
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on March 14, 2002
Sweet Christ.
If the Harry Potter book-burners only knew about Promethea.
Here we have a character who explores the history of magic via a sexually-transmitted lecture before Alan
Moore stops the story completely in order to take a 10-issue detour into the Kaballah.
Promethea is as innocent as Little Nemo and so sweet that it's been endorsed by Trina Robbins. It's also arguably the most subversive comic around, not so much because of the sex or magic, but because it celebrates intelligence and personal responsibility, which is a definite double no-no these days, at least in America.
And get this, Book 2 is even better.
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on March 25, 2003
Oh my goodness. Somehow I'm not surprised, given his history. It seems inevitable, now that it has happened. Alan Moore has turned into an Aleister Crowley wanna-be. Comic books mixed with pseudo-mysticism. Two laughable genres that taste ridiculous together. This is too rich. Moore's pseudointellectual pretentions mixed with Crowley's b.s. Pick this up the next time you need a laugh at how low popular culture can sink.
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on March 18, 2002
I liked this book's exploration of metaphysics and spirituallity. The only reason I gave it four stars instead of five is the open ending.I hope the next one comes out soon.
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