Promethea is a fictional character, a heroic woman as well known for her brave deeds as her stunning beauty. However, this particular fiction can become all too real. When the writer or artist visualises Promethea, they become possessed by her spirit and physically become her, changing their size and body shape into that of the heroine’s.
Throughout history different artists have tried their hands at the character, and all these Promethea’s exist in a seperate dimension, waiting for the time when they’ll be summoned once more. The latest version of Promethea that we see in this book stems from the imagination of Sophie Bangs, a student writing a thesis on the character’s recurring nature.
As we rejoin the story, which carries directly on from the previous volume, Sophie’s Promethea is being shown around her world by Prometheas of the past. In the mean time, her arch enemies are trying to track her down and kill her, and she has a lot to learn about her new powers and how she fits into the world.
This is Moore’s imagination run riot. Plot plays second fiddle to his ability to create an entire, coherent mythology and present it to us chunk by chunk, as Promethea/Sophie is learning about it. Sure, she has the odd adventure on the way, but whole swathes of this volume are taken up with discussions on magic, which can be heavy going and are only entertaining in the loosest possible sense of the word. You know, unless you’re Aleister Crowley or Alan Moore.
As before, the artwork is beautiful but partially spoiled by the binding. Many pages are full two-page spreads, designed to be flattened out and appreciated as a whole. In the paperback edition this isn’t possible because of the binding, so some of the impact is spoiled. What we can see though is great looking, with Williams’s decorative attention to detail standing out.
You have to be in the right frame of mind for Promethea, and if you’re interested in magic and mythology then you’re probably there. For the more down to earth, there’s more mythologising than story telling going on here, so if you want to read a ripping yarn, try something else from Alan Moore’s canon instead.
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