This is five volumes of graphic novel that I read over a period of about a month or so, and — OK, you know how we all thought that Watchmen is Moore’s magnum opus, at least in comic terms?1
We were wrong. Promethea is the best thing Moore has done, by some margin.
In my humble opinion, of course.
The character Promethea is sort of a personification of the human imagination. She has manifested through various women in history, called from the immateria into the “real” world by an artist — usually unknowingly, at least at first — when she is needed.
There are, of course, forces ranged against her, from demons to the FBI. The Earthbound part of the action takes place in a sort of alternative comic-book New York, where there are “science heroes” like the Five Swell Guys.2
University student Sophie Bangs is writing a term paper on the recurrence of the character of Promethea through myth and literature and comics, when she is attacked by a mysterious shadowy entity. A version of Promethea turns up to help her, and… well, read it and see.
And as well as the storytelling, the art is incredible, with some wildly challenging layouts; but it never gets in the way of the story. It is magnificent, spanning all of fiction and myth and religion and magic, and reminding us that those are all the same thing. Looked at one way, anyhow.
After Mary & Bryan’s biography/autobiography hybrid about Mary herself and James Joyce’s daughter, they added another collaborator to write this fictional life story about a woman at the heart of the suffragette movement. Compelling, moving, and educational. What more could you want?