Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Promethea Book Four Hardcover Review

Promethea Vol. 4
DC Comics - America's Best Comics
183 pages
$24.95 (2003)
$14.99 (2003)
$99.99 (2010) Absolute Edition Vol. 2
$99.99 (2011) Absolute Edition Vol. 3
ISBN 9781401200329

Contributors: Alan Moore, J.H. Williams III, Mick Gray, Jeremy Cox, and Todd Klein

Reprints: Promethea #19-25

Synopsis: Sophie Bangs was a regular college student in a future New York City where technology has advanced at a faster rate due to the influence of science-heroes.  Modern society prizes its sophistication, but Sophie learns of a deeper philosophy which has existed since the beginning of time - magic.  She seeks information on a forgotten heroine and falls headfirst into the underlying tapestry of the universe by becoming that heroine!  Now Sophie shares an existence with Promethea, a demi-goddess of imagination who lives in the Immateria.  Many incarnations of Promethea have existed throughout history and their spirits educate Sophie in her newfound abilities.
Sophie and Barbara continue on to another plane of existence
Sophie left the earthly plane to pursue the spirit of her direct predecessor, Barbara Shelley, after she died.  She drifted off into the afterlife instead of joining the other former mortal hosts of Promethea in the Immateria.  Sophie finds Barbara in the lower planes of reality and the two go on a quest to find Barbara's long lost love who they suspect is on a higher plane.  Meanwhile back on Earth, Sophie's best friend, Stacia, has been bonded with a former Promethea at Sophie's request to make sure New York is safe while she's gone.  The problem is the former Promethea likes being back in a physical body too much.
The two come to a vast precipice and must choose to continue
Sophie and Barbara are near the top of the spiritual structure of reality, but dangers still lurk within its complexities.  The pair must make a profound leap of faith in order to continue and their ordeals will be great.  Will they ever finish their quest and what awaits Barbara at the top of the universal structure?
Meanwhile back on Earth the two FBI investigators interrogate
the Smee from the first issue
Sophie's Mom is worried sick about her and Stacia is running amok as Promethea. Can Sophie regain control of Promethea or will Stacia fight to keep it?  What amount of collateral damage could two Promethea's battling with all their mystical might create?  Get ready for a nasty fight and the aftermath!    
Yet another beautiful and entrancing plane of existence
Pros: Great art by Williams, every issue has a cool new cover design, Moore packs every issue with high concept and metaphysical writing, Stacia's relationship to Promethea is pretty interesting, some great moments for both Sophie and Barbara
Things get really abstract the higher you go
Cons: A lot of spiritual/metaphysical themes from Moore, high concept and a lot of issues covering this story arc (continuing from the last volume), art by Williams is highly creative although sometimes harder to visually read
Two Prometheas spell trouble!
Mike Tells It Straight: Okay, we've got the fourth installment of Promethea by Moore and Williams.  The pair continue their epic metaphysical tale through the myriad levels of existence.  It's a lot of high concept stuff as Sophie and Barbara keep going up and up with each issue dedicated to one plane.  I have to say the ideas are pretty interesting, but it's a lot of issues and a long journey.  Impressive stuff and my hat's off to Moore/Williams for telling such a complex story, but I've got to say it can get a little tedious and I was happy to see the finale.

Trade paperback cover
Getting back to Earth was a nice treat and the reader knows the reunion between Sophie and Stacia was going to be explosive.  The last two issues dealt with the resolution of having two Prometheas running around.  It was a welcome change from the incredibly dense explanations of various aspects of spiritualism.  Promethea is a unique book and transcends the comic book genre.  It's not just about superheroes and exposes the reader to a whole new (for most) set of possibilities for how life works.  It feels like a true labor of love for Moore and Williams is pushing himself to the absolute limit.  No wonder this book got the Absolute treatment.  If you've made it this far then only one volume remains and if you're reading this review before starting the series then go back to the beginning with Vol. 1 Vol. 2 Vol. 3. I'm looking forward to the final volume.

TO BUY and Recommendations: