Current Reviews


Promethea #26

Posted: Sunday, July 13, 2003
By: Shawn Hill

"Later "

Writer: Alan Moore
Artists: J.H. Williams III (p), Mick Gray (i)

Publisher: America's Best Comics

I know a lot of people got really bored with this title while Moore was using it to explore each level of the Kabala/Tree of Life; but I didn't. One, because he often inserted heroic/deadly goings on back in NYC. And two, because each issue had a theme relating to Sophie's journey, and Williams' amazing art matched Moore in both ambition and creativity. Williams feels free to orient the page any way he needs, and to let panels become whatever sort of frames he needs, even though his figures are generally realistic and convincing. So we got the red issue about war and evil, the gold issue about Apollo, the silver issue about Hermes, the underwater issue about Venus, the hand-painted issue, even white-out pages about heavenly peace.

Now we're back in the world, though, and as a real a world as possible. Sophie has a job. She has an average boyfriend. She watches the Sopranos and eats takeout. She gets high and has a visit from the first ancestral incarnation of Promethe-yeah, that part's weird.

This issue uses unusual monochrome coloring to depict Sophie Bang's new life (since fleeing Moore's revved up NYC because of federal pursuit) in Millennium City, hometown of Tom Strong. Each panel is mostly one color, shades of green, blue or brown, heating up to red when Strong and his family go in pursuit of Sophie in the final pages.

It's an interesting choice, a way to reflect the tedium and drab ordinariness of Sophie's daily life in hiding; everyone thinks her name is Joey, she works a depressing job in a drab video store, and she hasn't turned into Promethea, her personal science heroine in months.

Seems ordinary life is not to be, and Moore only shows us Sophie's calm to shatter it utterly. Sophie can't just stop being Promethea. And even if she could, she's got Agents Ball and Brueghel on her tale, who believe she's a terrorist, kidnapper and possibly a demonic whore of apocalypse.

Strong is their chosen agent, as he knew an earlier incarnation of Promethea. This was the least interesting aspect of the book for me, as I know nothing about Strong (another in Alan Moore's stable of ABC books). From his appearances here, he seems to be another Superman analog with a multi-cultural super-family. Fine, but let's hope next issue Sophie actually takes up the mantle of her responsibility again, cause then we can see Moore's Superman deal with his version of Wonder Woman. Hmm, I wonder who's side he'll ultimately take?

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