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Monday, 28 December 2009

Promethea Volume 1

Writer: Alan Moore
Penciller: J.H.Williams III
Colourist: Wildstorm FX, Jeromy Cox, Alex Sinclair, Nick Bell, Digital Chameleon
Inker: Mick Gray
Letterer: Todd Klein
Additional art by Charles Vess 
Publisher: DC Comics

What's it about?
Set in an alternate, near future world, college student Sophie Bangs is researching Promethea stories for a school project - Promethea is a recurring character in many different pieces of literature over the centuries.  Sophie tracks down and meets with the widow of the last writer to focus on Promethea.

At this meeting Sophie discovers that there once was an Egyptian girl named Promethea, and furthermore, when Sophie writes poetry about Promethea, that is when she uses her imagination to connect with the idea of Promethea, she becomes her.  Moreso, there have been Prometheas created like this, before her.  Sophie as Promethea gains mystical powers and can travel to a realm called the Immateria, a world of myth and fiction where ideas have reality.  Within the Immateria Sophie learns about the history of Promethea and is trained for battle with the demons who are out to destroy Promethea and all her vessels.

What's good about it?
Now running to five volumes this series can be seen as an excuse for Alan Moore to give us a philosophy lesson.  However, for those not inclined to such topics, and I include myself in that category, the first volume is less straightforward philosophy and more pure wonder.

The alternate world he has created has enough in common with ours to be recognisable but with enough new aspects to be enchanting.  Alan Moore is very good at world building.  Science features heavily within this culture, but at the same time there are enough layers within the text and enough background information is supplied that we also come away with a pretty full knowledge of the pop icons, the fashion fads, the entertainment facilities and the streetlife of the city.

For those of you interested in ideas, meanings and the realm of the imagination this book's discussion of reality, reason, and fiction will probably appeal.

There is lesbian subtext, battles, magic, medieval romances, homages to 1920s pulp fiction and some incredible art. 

What is bad about it?
It is more complex than your average comic and people looking for a quick read probably don't want to start with this.  However if you want to be challenged you could do far worse than start here.

What's the art like?
Vivid, intoxicating, powerful and colourful.  J.H.Williams III is not your average comic hack.  He plays around with layouts and creates borders for the panels that complements and develops the featured scene.

J.H.Willams III uses the realm of the Immateria to full effect and produces some truly surreal characters.  Within this world here exists snails with German World War II helmets for shells, playing cards that transform into butterflies, eyeballs peering at you from bushes, fish swimming through the air and magic aplenty.  The colourists and inkers take the pencils and layer the rest of the art upon it until the readers get to revel in the end product.


Other information
Price: £11.99
ISBN: 1563896672

1 comment:

  1. One of my all time favorite Alan Moore books.

    Yes, over Watchmen or V for Vendetta!
    I take the entire ABC line over any of his more well known mainstream books!