“Don’t They Know It’s the End of the World? (It Ended When You Said Goodbye)”
Writer: Alan Moore
Artists: J.H. Williams III (p), Mick Gray (i)
Publisher: America’s Best Comics
Promethea arrives at Manhattan, but the prophesied ending remains attenuated. Her presence (possibly due to the strong EM field she generates) is triggering mass hallucinations in the populace, including those agents hot on her trail. Yet even she seems not quite clear on what the cataclysm will bring.
This is another issue of build-up with no release. Moore is really masterful when it comes to manipulating the pace and developing story in this title. I imagine, after the endgame, that reading the whole thing as a book will be very rewarding. As it is, one is required to remember details from literally years ago as Promethea rescues all those imprisoned because she’s touched their lives, and gathers them together in her mother’s innocuously normal home.
Artistically, kudos to Mick Gray, whose solid black inks anchor a story full of hallucinations and jumps through time and space. His careful command of space and depth compliments Williams’ pencils fully, and keeps us interested in the minor characters who tremble in this newly scarlet Promethea’s wake. Praise also goes to Williams for the psychedelic collages that run across several pages in the issue, though Moore’s flowery prose in this section is next to unreadable.
Plot-wise, Agents Ball and Brueghel take a harrowing mind-trip, while the Four Swell guys fight through the Promethean mental haze to put two and two together from way, wayyyy back. Remember when the Living Doll killed Bruno Smiliac? No, me neither (I’ve got some back issue perusing to do), but I do remember the Living Doll being involved in some quite cool action-packed issues before Promethea got lost in the Kabala for a year and change.
Well, this issue, the Four (formerly Five) realize they’ve been betrayed from within, just as (in a suitably corny and cartoonish sequence) Tom Strong re-assembles his old team of science heroes, this time with a surprising new addition. In other words, Moore is guest-starring the rest of his ABC line in this presumably ultimate Promethea story, though at the rate it’s going I don’t expect an actual confrontation for possibly several more issues.
Oh, yeah, and we find out what that ominous water glass was all about, sort of, in an homage of sorts to one of the strongest of the early Promethea issues (the one featuring wizened mystic Faust, one of Moore’s strongest characters). We’ve also got Dennis (who killed the 50s Promethea in a rage of sexual confusion) and Stacia on hand, so I’ll venture to say all the players are in place for … well, whatever Promethea has in mind. She’s never been known to play by any recognizable rules thus far, so I’m sure I won’t see it coming.
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