on 28 December 2003
The idea of mixing superhero and deep mythic themes is a pretty familiar one, and Moore is one of the pioneers of that style of writing. Pleasingly, this is one of the best treatments of the genre. The book doesn't get lost in it's own cleverness, and keeps the story anchored and easy to understand the details, if not the specifics--there are none of the confusing, unexplained veers into symbolism or outright weirdness that marred the otherwise good 'Invisibles' series, with the weirdness instead advancing the story and providing the basis for some very memorable, thought-provoking, and downright funny parts.
The first volume is mostly setup, of both the cast and the two worlds the book takes place across. When both of them are as good as they are here, that's not a problem.
Overall, highly recommended, and a good refutation for the comic format being unsuited for serious themes.
on 2 July 2002
What sets this book outside any other comic book series?
Well, for one, the main characters are very believable. You instantly click with them and can sympathise. Good ol Moore has a real skill when it comes to making characters. But his real talent isn't just that.
Yes, it's very witty. You'll notice some excellent satire, throwing a jab at things like indie media to superhero characters. But that's not the real prize, not yet.
The writing's exciting, it ropes you in and keeps you asking "What's next?" And here's where the best part comes into play, the truly astounding merging of modern neo-mysticism with the storyline. Elements such as tarot suites are explored (cups, swords, wands, coins), and that's only the beggining. By the second and third book you're delving into the mysteries of Kabbalah, Tantra, and taking a viberant visual journey through the ten Sephirot.
All in all, this is perfect for anyone with an intrest in mysticism, with a good sense of humour and can appreciate the witty set-ups of anything from 30s B-Movies to little jibes at Crowley.
Of course, you COULD just sit back and enjoy some comics with the Increadable Hulk breaking things. But some of us will always enjoy books like this, which encourage us to think, and rope us in with viberant and believable characters.
on 1 August 2006
That's the only explanation. Magic. Moore writes excellent stories, just really good gripping, engaging storytelling. He draws in the reader with his humanity and his wit and his (not wanting to ostracise the action-men, here, but...) LOVE. What really sets Moore head and shoulders above all other writers, though, and I don't just mean comic book writers... what really sets Moore head and shoulders above ALL other writers is the overwhelming abundance of ideas. Ideas just coming tumbling towards you. An avalanche of ideas. Buy these books and buy a helmet.
on 7 August 2009
This comment is about books 1-5 in general.
I am interested in spirituality and alternative religions, but this series is hard, hard work. Don't get me wrong, I admire the very strong artwork and I appreciate the resplendently feminine/feminist storyline, but I really felt like I was wading through this one. It's not bad, it's just deep to the point where I wasn't so much swimming in the story as being pulled under, choking.
If you're interested in magic and kabbalah (amongst many other themes) go for it, you'll be blinded by the erudition and fascinating concepts. If you're looking to be wrapped up in a rip-roaring story, stay away. It's the opposite of light entertainment.
on 9 October 2001
Alan Moore... how many amazing ideas and stories does he have floating around that crazy mystic head of his? This one is one of the furthest reaching, a superhero comic that is far from conventional. If the rest of the comic-creating community were even half as revolutionary as Alan Moore, I'll wager comics wouldn't be in the place they are now...
Read this and discover not only why comics are literature, but also why Alan Moore is without doubt the finest English writer since Shakespeare.
on 31 August 2011
This series is absolutely incredible! I feel like mere words don't do it justice. The story, writing, and artwork are all unbelievably imaginative and fascinating. Like nothing else I've ever read, graphic novel or otherwise. This is really a must-read!
Having been blown away by 'Watchmen' and 'V for Vendetta', I have been trying to absorb the rest of Alan Moore's backlist. After being slightly disappointed by 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen', I hadn't really held out much hope for the first in the unsung Promethea series but since I'd bought, I thought I'd better read it.
I'm certainly glad I did; it's wonderful. The pictures are bold and faintly retro, tying in with the central idea that Promethea has existed in fiction for many years. The story frankly is mind blowing. Promethea hails from a world just beyond ours, a world created by the imagination; The Immateria. The story focuses on Sophie, Promethea's latest Avatar as she tries to come to terms with her new alter-ego.
The text is laden with references to mysticism and contains some quite complicated philosophical concepts, relating to reality and existence. Despite this, Promethea is incredibly readable and due to the depth of the text and the richness of the artwork, it is certainly re-readable. A triumph.
on 26 December 2013
I got this one for Christmas from my sister - I requested it specifically when she asked what I wanted, based on a recommendation from YouTube's Comicbookgirl19, specifically their plopcast 13, where they talk about occult in the world of comic books, and the disagreement between Alan Moore & Grant Morrison.
Way back in ancient times, there was a little girl whose dad worshipped the old gods of Egypt, and he gets martyred by a bunch of Christians - although as it happens it's like he's dictating their words, making it happen. The little girl runs off into the desert, where she encounters her father's gods. They offer to make her immortal, by making her into a story. In so doing she gains access to the world of the imagination, the Immateria, where all stories are real.
Throughout history, Promethea, the story-girl, takes a "vessel", a real human female, through which she acts, much like a Voodoo Loa rides their mount. She possesses them, and they become a sort of hybrid entity, able to communicate with earlier Prometheas in the Immateria.
Promethea is very much grounded in the Thelemic Ceremonial Magick tradition, and as we get into the first book, she is attacked by Goetic demons, which she repels easily enough, and then begins to train in the four magick weapons - the sword being the first. I imagine the next few books will deal with the others. We also learn that she will bring about the end of the world. Whether this is a good or a bad thing is ambiguous - it's the next phase of human life, like when life moved from the sea to the land.
Anyway, hopefully that's piqued your interest. This series has a wealth of Thelemic knowledge bound up in it. It's full of great morals & lessons about how the world works, without being preachy. You can read it without bothering too much about magick but if you do have a basic understanding of what it entails your eyes will light up when reading this series. It is beautifully drawn, and the protagonists sympathetic, the bad guys awesomely threatening. Put it this way, this is Alan Moore at his finest, really good stuff. Well worth buying all 5 volumes. I'll get the last ones once I get paid next month.
on 26 August 2011
The novel's beautiful and inspiring artwork and experimental panel layout is fresh, enjoyable and absorbing to boot. Each page is full of little jokes, surprises, hidden details, references to pop culture, previous Alan Moore titles as well as all manner of mystical and magickal references.
The story is intelligent and very fast paced. The usual Alan Moore story telling tropes are there - in house songs, poems, sub stories, letters, extended monologues... but they are so much more concise and succinct than in works such as Watchmen and V for Vendetta... making it a much more fast paced reading experience... but then only part of the story is told by the words... part of the story is told by the background detail of the artwork.
I highly recommend this novel, it's fresh, exciting and sunny. Whats more, just like Watchmen and V, it will give you lots to mentally chew over and you will find yourself flicking through this again and again.
on 6 November 2010
I absolutely loved it.
It has much more of a conventional "comic book" feel to it than later books in the series.
There is a clever plot and Moore almost sneaks in his lecturing to us. Lots of snappy dialogue as well. I normally find that origin stories can be a bit dull but this didn't drag at all. It is very original and I certainly haven't read anything like this before.
Truly outstanding artwork. Maybe the best I have seen.