Promethea vol. 3 TPB – Alan Moore

3 out of 5

Sophie, as Promethea, goes searching for Barbara in the afterlife, and then the two of them go on a Kaballah tour – through various layers of “reality” / sephirots – in search of Barbara’s husband, Steve.  Meanwhile, on Earth (excuse me, “Malkuth”), Stacia is gifted a Promethea identity in Sophie’s absence, and goes all punk rock, slaughtering demons with mass swagger.

…And my opinion on Promethea remains unchanged.  Well, that’s sort of untrue; I became especially disinterested in this volume, as we move even further from any pretense of this being a comic book: Stacia’s storyline seems to be building toward some type of conflict, but it’s wholly separated from Promethea’s lesson book exposition on the Kaballistic Tree of Life, and the small hints that there might be a connection are dashed away an issue after they arrive.  In Comic Book’s stead are J.H. Williams III’s experiments in paneling and style, which are “cool” but not necessarily fun to read (again, for those of us wanting a comic – wraparound / wandering panel structures are cool as juxtapositions to other pages, but become rather tiring when they make up the majority of a book), and Alan using Sophie and Barbara to take us through his explanations of realms beyond, step by step.  But because I have this bias where I clearly am not interested in this type of book (I bought Promethea when collecting Moore’s stuff, and have decided to finally dig in), it’s not really fair of me to rate it based on the above complaints.  Thus, this is almost exactly the same review as the one for volume 2: pretty pictures; intelligently related complex topics, presented in a graspable manner; only works if you’re interested.

That last statement may seem like a “duh” inclusion, but that’s where I would legitimately knock the book down in its ratings: presenting this in comic book form, as part of the ABC “Universe,” suggests, to me, an attempt to bring these ideas to a wider audience, and to that extent, it should, ideally, be open enough to draw me in.  But it’s not.  These aren’t ideas woven in to a larger story; they’re ideas with a frame.  And the frame is lacking in any real sense of awe or stakes, it’s just a character, essentially, talking to us.