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CerebusWriter: Alan Moore

Artists: Various

Publisher: America's Best Comics

Synopsis: College student Sophie Bangs has uncovered an interesting fact while researching her thesis. A character named Promethea shows up in a wide range of stories and poems, from a romantic ode of the early 19th century to pulp fantasy magazines to comic books. But Sophie is about to get a little closer to her research than she'd intended: she's about to discover that Promethea is real--and Sophie must become her.

How Is It?: Yet another great premise from writing wizard Alan Moore, as he dabbles into Neil Gaiman's territory of fantastic realms and goddesses incarnate. The idea of storytelling making heroes of the writers is a clever one, as is the idea of a "subconscious hero" buried throughout the past two centuries of literature. There are some odd choices--I'm not sure why Moore decided to insert another team of superheroes into the background, and "the Immateria" does seem perilously close to Sandman's "the Dreaming". But there's too much imagination on display for me to kick, and the storylines are only beginning to be revealed as this volume comes to an end. I can't help but wonder where Moore is going to go from here--his choices seem a bit limited--but that just leaves more room for surprise. Since I sound like I'm bashing this book which I in fact enjoy a great deal, I'm going to applaud the artwork (can't go wrong there) and mention that Moore's trademark creation of tiny details is on full display here. I look forward to learning more of Promethea's past and purpose.

Top Ten, Vol 2

Book Two

Synopsis: The storylines from the last collection wrap themselves up as Sophie must battle an army of demons (while the Five Swell Guys tangle with the Painted Doll) to protect her friend Barbara at the hospital. From there she'll take on the mysterious organization known as the Temple, make a bargain with Jack Faust, do battle with a supercharged techno-blob called the Pseunami, and take journey through human history, as told by a pack of cards...

How Is It?: Here we see Moore starting to dive more into Promethea's stated purpose of being a primer in the occult disguised as a comic book. Two whole issues of this TPB are more like lectures in "Magick"--one of which is an extended sex scene! This kind of thing isn't usually my bag, but Moore makes it wickedly entertaining, partly by interspersing it with a nifty plot that has a lot to say about the relationship between "Magick" (or the imagination, if you prefer) and technology, which goes far beyond the usual "Technology bad!" type sermons. I especially like his use of the superhero team The Five Swell Guys, who have their own comic-book style problems, as a metaphor for some very old ideas that are being played out in the main plot. And what happens to the multiple-personality Mayor Baskerville is highly amusing, and sets the scene for some interesting future plots. I remain in awe of Moore's ability to keep planting the threads of new plots as he wraps up old ones, and the art continues to impress. Promethea gets more and more dazzling as it goes.

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