Apocalypse Rising

Promethea Book 4, written by Alan Moore, illustrated by J.H. Williams III and Mick Gray (2002-2003; collected 2004): College student Sophie Bangs’ research into the recurring mythological/fictional/comic-book character Promethea, who’s been popping up in different incarnations in fiction and in the real world for centuries, caused her to become the current avatar of Promethea back in Volume 1.

Now Bangs and Promethea seek to discover how magic works — and, more importantly, why Promethea is slated to bring about the end of the world. But a problem looms.

Bangs has left her friend Stacia and one of the previous, now-dead, Prometheas in charge of protecting the Earth while she goes on her cosmic odyssey. But this new kick-ass Promethea, having cleaned up a whole host of supernatural enemies, doesn’t want to go back to normal life (and un-life). Promethea vs. Promethea action looms! However, Promethea’s existence has raised red flags in the government and in other places. While the FBI seeks to track her and her friends down, Promethea must resolve her issues with, um, Promethea — and come to metaphysical grips with her role in the coming apocalypse.

Heavily didactic and expositional, Promethea isn’t for everyone — but the art is gorgeous and complicated, as is Moore’s writing. As Watchmen showed a group of limited heroes set against a looming apocalypse, so does Promethea: but the stakes and the meanings have all changed. And violence solves nothing. All this and Weeping Gorilla!!! Highly recommended, but not for everybody.

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