A comics fan must never say never. In a world where heroes are annually resurrected and prequels to Watchmen are soon to exist, just about anything is possible. Still, even I doubted that Alan Moore and J.H. Williams III's criminally under-read masterpiece, Promethea, would receive the Absolute treatment: DC Comics' deluxe, red carpet packaging for its most treasured stories. Promethea is my favorite comic series, but I'm well aware of how under-the-radar it flies. Yet in October 2009, DC and its imprint, WildStorm, released the first volume of Absolute Promethea, with two more installments promised to come. I was giddy. One year later, a second volume followed. Huzzah! Was this really happening?
Alas, the publication date for the third and final volume came and went. WildStorm sadly folded. Another month passed. I began sending panicked emails to DC. Promethea's epic tale of imagination, empowerment, inspiration, magic, and weeping apes couldn't remain unresolved, could it? As 2011 neared its close, I resigned my hopes. I said "never." Then Absolute Promethea: Book Three arrived in the mail.
Since I began writing for Omnivoracious (closing in on four years, yikes!), an inordinate amount of bandwidth has been devoted to Promethea (see our spotlight on the entire series plus posts on previousAbsolute editions). If you've made it this far with protagonist and avatar Sophie Bangs, I salute you and promise not to belabor this unprecedented and rewarding denouement's apocalyptic plot. Instead, I'll highlight what Absolute editions do best: the supplemental material.
- A brand-new illustrated slipcase and wrap-around cover by J.H. Williams III.
- A two-page introduction by Eisner Award-winning writer and artist Eric Shanower.
- A pull-out, double-sided poster of issue 32's individual pages, pieced together to display their grand form.
- 12 different variations of the poster.
- A two-page "making of" feature on the final issue.
- All of Steve Moore (no relation) and Eric Shanower's "Little Margie in Misty Magic Land" stories (twenty-five pages), plus two pages of character design sketches.
- "Promethea in the ABC Universe," a ten-page focus on Promethea's appearances in Alan Moore's other series (only downside: Tom Strong's final issue, very much a necessary tie-in, is truncated due to size limitations).
- A three-page look at the design of Promethea's action figure and statue.
- A five-page retrospective essay from J.H. Williams III, including numerous in-process pieces of artwork.
- And lastly, Alan Moore's complete script for issue #29--a fan's dream.
To the purists out there: yes, this edition sports a sewn binding.
It's taken several years, but this concludes our coverage of Promethea. I'm so sorry that there isn't any further material to look forward to or books to place on my wishlist, but I'm so happy that it received such a fitting send-off in this final volume.
Yes, Promethea's fiction. Nobody ever claimed otherwise. I never lied. I'm at least an honest fiction. A true fiction...I'm an idea. But I'm a real idea. All the wars, the romances. The masterpieces and the machines. And there's nothing here but a funny little twist of amino acids, playing a marvelous game of pretend. Nothing here but me and you. Me and you, little lifesnake. By the fire where we've always been since this room was a cave. Do you remember?
I should have known better than to say "never" when Promethea's involved"”with her, it's "always."