Book cover

Some time ago I reviewed Batman: The Killing Joke. It was not a positive review. This, my first experience with Alan Moore, left me unwilling to sample his work again; even when I heard that Joss Whedon adored one of his series, Promethea. (Usually, if Joss Whedon advocated jumping off a cliff, I would assume there was a really fun trampoline at the bottom or a dimensional portal into fairyland on the way down and act accordingly.)

My views on The Killing Joke do not seem to hold wide sway in the Fanverse. My negative review on Amazon is one of the only sour pickles in a sweet barrel, and more than a few fanboys have told me how wrong I am in some comic book store or other. So imagine my glee when I heard, a few months back, several very trenchant quotes from a well-known comics writer about TKJ, along the very same lines as my diatribe. That writer? Alan Moore. Oh my. Apparently he rather hates TKJ himself, even as legions of his devoted worship it as one of the fewmets of the Great Dragon.

This, along with the praise of my own Great Dragon Whedon, put me in a more positive frame of mind towards Mr. Moore, and so when I found myself in a comic book store with a gift certificate in my hot little hand and the colorful cover of Promethea before me, I gave it a try.

‘Oh my’ is right. Promethea, at least the two volumes I have thus far read, is a stirringly wondrous story about the power of myth and the imagination, set in a drolly imagined [Well, parallel timeline with more advanced technology, and scienceheroes, and magic. Whatever!|text|near-future], and fashioned with great care and love. It’s beautiful, funny, intelligent, and resonant. On top of that, the art actually lives up to the idea (not always the case in comics/graphic novels) and even the color adds to the wonder, mystery, and eldritch loveliness (again, not always the case. Sandman, I am looking ATCHOO!)

I am unsure how much to reveal of the plot, because I went into it blind and hugely enjoyed the journey. Let us just say, it’s about stories; the ones we create and the ones that have dwelt for long centuries in the cauldron of our mythologies; their power over us and our power over them. It’s an empowering story for bookworms :)

So far, if I had to name a fault in Promethea, it would be that the stories and mythology, the history of the mystical and physical worlds, are rather occidentocentric, and not just in areas where it would reflect the characters’ bias. I’m hoping this changes in later volumes; for the moment, it puts a strange regional cap on concepts and themes that otherwise seem to stretch majestically on into the infinite and universal.

Bottom line: If you love myths and playing with them; Mage: the Ascension or even Sandman, you owe this story a try. And especially, oh especially, if you’re an English major and want to be told how important that is. grin


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