Promethea, Vol. 3

Promethea, Vol. 3

The third thrilling collection of the critically acclaimed, award-winning PROMETHEA is back, offered as a softcover version of the original hardcover! PROMETHEA BOOK THREE is a 224-page trade paperback from AMERICA'S BEST COMICS reprinting PROMETHEA #13-18, written by Alan Moore with art and cover by J.H. Williams III & Mick Gray. Featuring the first half of a cosmic...

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Title:Promethea, Vol. 3
Author:Alan Moore
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Edition Language:English

Promethea, Vol. 3 Reviews

  • RB

    In the third volume of Alan Moore's "Promethea" we spend most of the time in the immaterial world as we're shown through and told about the tenets of various magical systems. And this is where the story was leading and this is where, in the story, readers seem to either fall in love, stop reading, or are simply confused and that's fine, for with this leap in narration we are given some of the most startling inventions in graphic art (for instance, the infinity symbol is used in a way that forces

    In the third volume of Alan Moore's "Promethea" we spend most of the time in the immaterial world as we're shown through and told about the tenets of various magical systems. And this is where the story was leading and this is where, in the story, readers seem to either fall in love, stop reading, or are simply confused and that's fine, for with this leap in narration we are given some of the most startling inventions in graphic art (for instance, the infinity symbol is used in a way that forces the reader to be constantly flipping the book up and down and sideways). We are also treated to a newer, darker, more interesting take on Grace and we also get to meet the loud-mouthed hippie guardian angel that is Barbara as a teenager looking over an older incarnation of her. Like the previous two volumes, this is packed with ideas and challenging concepts. And while I may not be on board with some of Moore's views (souls do not exist, and I do not believe we have individual "selves" since we have no free will) it does not make what he's selling any less interesting or valuable.

  • Summer

    I actually liked this a lot more than when I first read it. A lot of readers dropped Promethea at this point because of the endless tarot/kabbalah/etc. references , but it's not supposed to be a superhero comic. It's supposed to be a spiritual and literary allegory, and it's extremely well-constructed.

  • Tobey

    Welcome to my review of

    Volume 3, or Why I Know More About the Kabbalah Than Most Rural North Carolinian Baptists.

    Issues 13-23 of

    are basically Alan Moore’s illustrated TED talk about the history, symbols, and philosophy of magic. Each issue has maybe 4 or 5 pages of Sophie’s friend Stacia fighting crime back on Earth while channeling the most militant incarnation of Promethea. The rest of the time we follow Sophie/Promethea and the newly deceased previous wielder of

    Welcome to my review of

    Volume 3, or Why I Know More About the Kabbalah Than Most Rural North Carolinian Baptists.

    Issues 13-23 of

    are basically Alan Moore’s illustrated TED talk about the history, symbols, and philosophy of magic. Each issue has maybe 4 or 5 pages of Sophie’s friend Stacia fighting crime back on Earth while channeling the most militant incarnation of Promethea. The rest of the time we follow Sophie/Promethea and the newly deceased previous wielder of Promethea’s powers, Barbara, as they traverse the ten emanations of the Kabbalah, an ancient system of Jewish mysticism. Each of the ten issues feature these two women, eventually joined by Barbara’s guardian angel, as they work their way up the sephirot, a symbolic tree that was intended to lead followers to the Godhead, connecting them with the infinite. To reiterate, this is a comic book that was sold next to issues of Batgirl.

    Each issue is beautifully illustrated in a different style that connects to the theme of the emanation of the sephirot that is its focus. The ten emanations, or sephira, are each connected to one of the planets, the moon, or the sun, and the twenty-two paths between them that Promethea and Barbara travel are connected to the twenty-two cards in the Minor Arcana of the Tarot, and the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Got it?

    Moore’s primary goal is to break down all ten levels into a collection of symbols, and dissect all of their layers of meaning through discussion between Sophie/Promethea, Barbara, and the characters they encounter along the way.

    Issue 13 takes place on Earth or

    (meaning Kingdom) the material world and lowest level of the sephirot as Sophie asks Stacia to be Earth’s temporary Promethea while she goes to find Barbara in the afterlife.

    Issue 14 has Sophie/Promethea finding Barbara in

    (meaning Foundation) which is the emanation connected with the moon, and which Moore peoples with the ghosts of fictional characters. In this issue we learn the greater goal of this story arch. Barbara’s deceased husband has headed up the sephirot to enlightenment, and Promethea decides to help Barbara find him.

    Issue 15 is one of my favorites in the whole series. One of the things I love about comics is that they are such a flexible medium. In its most basic form it’s just pictures and words, and whereas most authors are content to stick with the standard left-to-right panels and word balloons, Moore uses these issues of

    , where not a lot is actually

    , to really play around with the art form. Promethea and Barbara reach the sephira

    (meaning Splendor), which is associated with the planet Mercury. The pair get trapped on a Mobius strip in a beautiful two page spread which sees them walking on the path for what may be an eternity, hearing themselves on on the other side of the strip and referencing the conversations that they just had that they are hearing. Only in comics could an idea like this work, and only a mad genius like Moore could pull it off. Later they meet the god Mercury who is made out of, what else, mercury. He has a great speech connecting hieroglyphics to modern comic books, and there is an amazing moment where he breaks the fourth wall to speak to the reader, leaving Promethea and Barbara to wonder who he’s talking to. I still remember that moment rocking my teenage world when I first read it, and it still packs a punch now.

    Our travelers visit an emotional ocean,

    (meaning Victory), in issue 16, and are almost overwhelmed by their feelings in this feminine sephira of Venus until they learn to surrender.

    In issue 17, Promethea and Barbara reach the golden sephira of

    (meaning Beauty), which is the sephira of the sun. It is the lowest level of the Sephirot that God can visit, and the highest that man can visit, and it is also the emanation connected to resurrection. Here Barbara meets her guardian angel, Boo-Boo Ramirez, a cussin’ tokin’ representation of Barbara at age 15. Boo-Boo explains that Tiphereth is the home of all the gods that are resurrected, Baldur from Norse mythology, Osiris from Egyptian mythology, and the connection of God and man... Jesus Christ. They see him on the cross and are all moved to tears. “Our highest point. The best in us. The gold. And it’s nailed writhing on the cross of the world.” But even at the crucifiction, Boo-Boo says, “At the lowest Auschwitz ass-end of what humans are, and what humans do... our highest point is still here with us. There’s light. Always remember that. There’s light at the bottom.” Heavy stuff for Alan Moore, the proudly professed Pagan.

    The Volume 3 collection ends on the 6th sephira out of 10,

    (meaning Strength). As Promethea, Boo-Boo, and Barbara traverse the hellish landscape of the sephira of Mars, they encounter demons who are not exactly what they seem. This issue looks crazy. Except for the word balloons, everything taking place on Geburah is illustrated in solid black and solid red, which is quite an assault on the eyes.

    I noticed a few things during the reread that I didn’t the first time through. The Major Arcana (swords, coins, cups, wands) show up in the background of almost every issue in some form. Some scenes on Earth with Stacia feature long zoom-ins and outs in the panels, which is cool.

    On to the last four sephiras in Volume 4.

  • Ted

    Moore is definitely getting more into the philosophy of his material at this point. It's about 75% philosophical exposition, and 25% narrative. While the two are wonderfully intertwined and I'm certainly excited to read all of it, his intentions are certainly clear at this point.

    I find myself referring back to previous issues, as well as outside material on the Kaballah, tarot, and the various literary/historical references Moore is making practically on each page. Moore is never guilty of doing

    Moore is definitely getting more into the philosophy of his material at this point. It's about 75% philosophical exposition, and 25% narrative. While the two are wonderfully intertwined and I'm certainly excited to read all of it, his intentions are certainly clear at this point.

    I find myself referring back to previous issues, as well as outside material on the Kaballah, tarot, and the various literary/historical references Moore is making practically on each page. Moore is never guilty of doing anything halfway, and I can only applaud his attention to detail and ability to bring so many sources under one cohesive umbrella (where else would you find Baron Manchausen, the history of chess, and a non-traditional exposition on Christ's sacrifice all in one book?).

    Admittedly (and I never thought I would say this), I wish this had some sort of appendix like 'From Hell' does. I never got very far in 'From Hell' because I was so overwhelmed by the information, but my interest in all of the various references is certainly heightened, and I know I'm missing some of Moore's and Williams' more peripheral references.

    Once again, the creative team pushes the boundaries of sequential art storytelling with the double-page spreads of the Mobius Strip (infinite loop) and Sun's orbit (circular sequence, read in any direction, starting from any point) sequences. And the fourth wall is broken twice, too: first with Promethea and Barbara meeting the 'reader' at the Lunar Rail Station, and again when Hermes addresses the reader. Experimenting with the limits of the medium is rarely accomplished with this level of success, and it's quite impressive.

    This issue isn't my favorite of the series thus far, and it tends to get repetitive with Sophie's and Barbara's odyssey through the Immateria. While there is so much that's great about it, I admit that Moore's worldview is beginning to seem founded more on singular stories and concepts rather than universal ideas.

  • Calista

    I am enjoying this. It's my cup of tea. The story just keeps getting more trippy and more trippy.

    Sophie is Promethea. The previous Promethea died and when Sophie visited the higher realm she saw the previous one named Barbara going on into the world beyond the veil, basically into source and symbols. Sophie decides to journey with her. The Promethea council OKs the decision and a Interim Promethea is sent back to Earth. She is intense and willing to kill and be a little more brutal.

    Sophie ends

    I am enjoying this. It's my cup of tea. The story just keeps getting more trippy and more trippy.

    Sophie is Promethea. The previous Promethea died and when Sophie visited the higher realm she saw the previous one named Barbara going on into the world beyond the veil, basically into source and symbols. Sophie decides to journey with her. The Promethea council OKs the decision and a Interim Promethea is sent back to Earth. She is intense and willing to kill and be a little more brutal.

    Sophie ends up in this after-after world place and she realizes that it is the tree of life and there are 10 zones corresponding with that symbol in Kabbalah. I have done a brief amount of study into the Tree of Life and I enjoy it. Caroline Myss combines the Chakras and the Tree of Life together for great effect, but still, she does not go into details about the Tree of Life. Alan Moore is exploring the Tree of Life in such a cool way. I want to know more about it after reading this. I loved the world that was a Mobius strip and see them looping through time. This is some very cool stuff.

    I'm glad I'm able to get this story from the library and I totally want to finish off the other 2 books in this series. The story is a surprise and not what I expected in any way. Each issue keeps surprising me and I think this is a great story so far. I hope it has a great ending.

  • Wealhtheow

    Oh god, yet more monologues about mysticism and myth. How fascinating, Mr. Moore! Please, spend the next five comics reciting everything you have ever read about this subject!

  • Ryan

    Moore's interest in the occult takes over the book, and its quality suffers a great deal as a result. The "plot" still exists in some form, as Sophie travels up the kabalistic tree of creation, but it is second to Moore's attempt to synthesize Egyptian, Judaic, Roman, Greek, Norse, Christian, etc. mythologies into a complete system for understanding the world. It really starts to fall into the morass of new age mysticism and hippie simple-mindedness, complete with faux-insightful comments such

    Moore's interest in the occult takes over the book, and its quality suffers a great deal as a result. The "plot" still exists in some form, as Sophie travels up the kabalistic tree of creation, but it is second to Moore's attempt to synthesize Egyptian, Judaic, Roman, Greek, Norse, Christian, etc. mythologies into a complete system for understanding the world. It really starts to fall into the morass of new age mysticism and hippie simple-mindedness, complete with faux-insightful comments such as, "It's like, we don't have emotions; emotions have us, you know?" That's an actual quote. Moore seems to be very impressed with himself, even having the characters compliment each other on their "deep thoughts" by saying -- and again, this is an actual quote -- "Wow, that's really deep!" I would love to think that this is all just Moore taking the piss, but I know that, unfortunately, he thinks that this stuff is actually meaningful. It's not that various occult systems are not interesting objects of study; all the ways that humans attempt to organize and interpret reality are interesting. Moore just takes it all so seriously despite the fact that his "insights" are so obviously fabricated and require him to stretch and distort various mythological systems to conform to what is essentially a very conventional, and essentialist, Western understanding of human nature. The identification of an essential "father-masculine" force and "feminine-mother" force as the motive powers of the universe is perhaps the most egregious example of his anthropomorphic, heteronormative, and Euro-slash-JudeoXian perspective. But, the artwork by Williams continues to excel and, despite the story's major weaknesses, the graphic storytelling is truly cutting edge. It's just sad it doesn't serve an interesting plot.

  • Jedi JC Daquis

    Volume 3 of Promethea can also be called as "Alan Moore's fruity-weird beliefs are just amalgams of different philosophies, religions and new age-esque concepts." It's just a long imagination roller coaster. But the artwork and colors are as great as ever.

  • Keith

    It's rather tryingly didactic, though I suppose that has the virtue of providing a better means for some people to get a handle on the correspondences of Hermetic Qabala

    than the more typical, tedious manner of attempting to memorize

    by brute force. Also, the aesthetics are better.

  • Graham

    This is the same kind of pseudo-mystical masturbation that made me furious with

    . The art continues to be astonishing, though.

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