“The Radiant, Heavenly City”
Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: J.H. Williams III
Publisher: America’s Best Comics
It’s the denouement part one, as the apocalypse has already happened, and most people are pretty happy about it. I rather feel like I missed something, but maybe it’s just the bait-and-switch of how happy everyone is, unexpectedly. As some old characters make last minute returns, others question Promethea’s ongoing role in the new world order.
What’s most interesting:
Yet another variation in art-style from the endlessly inventive Williams III, as the painted sections of revelation give way to a light and airy, shadow-free cartoon style that fits the renewed mood of hope in post-apocalyptic New York. It’s like the goofy late-Giffen style done right.
I’m a bit hard-pressed to target the overall changes or point of Promethea’s fictional revolution, except for some very significant reversals of fortune for several of our main characters. The line between the living and the dead seems to have been abolished, allowing Sophie’s mom to enjoy her haunting by her dead husband, and that’s just one of the ecstatic couplings that Promethea’s loving climax seems to have wrought.
Stacia has yet another new girlfriend in agent ex-agent Lucy, the Living Doll has become one of the Five Swell Guys, worst-trip-ever victim Karen Breughel is now a famous esoteric authority, and Uvula Cascade and Sonny Baskerville are now co-Mayors (well, Mayor and First Husband, I suppose) of the rejuvenated, multi-denominational city. We learn all this in several pages of mostly optimistic newsbytes from “Texture,” the ongoing subliminal info-source for all residents of Sophie’s city. As Sophie herself says, “It’s okay to worship everything” now.
Further examples of this freewheeling spirit include a happy nuclear family ending for Sophie, as her boyfriend from Millennium City (where she lived while trying to avoid the apocalypse she knew Promethea was planning) has come to stay with her, as well as two magical children encountered on her long journey through the pathways of the Kabala (that extended corollary that comprised the largest portion of storytelling in this never-quite monthly series).
It’s been going on since when, 1999 or so? Next issue may offer some closure. Or, it may not. As Moore would say, we all made it up together anyway.
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