By: John C. Mayberry
The sci-fi genre alone is responsible for some of the comic book industry’s greatest tales, and with good reason. Writers take the opportunity to provide the reader a mind-bending experience, with ideas and concepts that are sometimes inspired by subjects like current events, or even a person’s worst fears, for example. Promethee 13:13, an original graphic novel from Comixology, masterfully blends the sci-fi thriller together with the question of what any of us would do to save the people we care about, and adds to that concept an impending extra-terrestrial doom to unleash fear, anxiety, and desperation for not only the characters of the story, but for the readers also. The further I go into the Comixology library of original comics and graphic novels, the more I am liking their content, and Promethee 13:13 is by far one of the best works featured on the site.
A prequel based on the graphic novel series Promethee by Christophe Bec, with the writing talents of Andy Diggle, artwork by Shawn Martinbrough, with colors by Dave Steward and letters by Simon Bowland, Promethee 13:13 centers on several characters: Darla, a woman who was abducted as a child but was convinced that everything she saw was a hallucination, and the crew of the space shuttle Atlantis, whose purpose in the main story becomes clearer as the reader continues.
Taking antipsychotics as an adult, Darla suppresses her visions, which seemingly depict the end of the world resulting from an alien invasion. When appearing on television, Darla tells the audience none of her visions were real, which causes a belligerent audience member to attempt to rush at her, inducing a panic attack in Darla. In her panicked state Darla once again sees the nightmarish vision of wanton destruction more vividly than she ever had before. Leading to a series of events that leaves Darla not knowing who to trust, not knowing whether she should trust her visions, or what it is she can do to save her remaining family.
Simultaneously readers will also follow the story of the crew aboard the space shuttle Atlantis, whose involvement in the greater scheme of things is made more prominent, leaving some of the crew in shock and in utter disbelief over the impossibility of their current circumstances. With the creative team involved on a story based on the unique graphic novel series, Promethee 13:13 is a perfect introduction to an unforgettable saga that brings a unique concept to the ages old sci-fi genre, in graphic novels or any other form of entertainment. Not only speaking as someone who is a huge nerd for comics and graphic novels, but also as someone who loves a good post-apocalyptic sci-fi tale, Promethee 13:13 is great addition to any Comixology library, and one of many reasons why getting a subscription is completely worth it.
Artwork – The artwork of Shawn Martinbrough, the coloring of Dave Stewart, and the lettering of Simon Bowland combined with each other creates an artistic style that perfectly illustrates the story’s events. The artwork is simple and very expressive, with the coloring adding more depth, helping to make that personal connection to the readers. The lettering is also used to effective degree in adding drama and action to the events being depicted.
Story pacing – From how the page layout is designed to how the story itself is written, the pacing is the right amount of steady and swift. It is not so slow or so fast that the reader is taken out of the tale but is instead more invested with the characters and story.
Character and story development – Being a prequel to the Promethee series, the characters and story of Promethee 13:13 are developed in such a way where readers are given a brief glimpse of who the story’s main characters are and to where the story’s events will ultimately lead. By the end you will find yourself wanting to see more and inevitably looking for the rest of the Promethee series by Christophe Bec to see how the story progresses, and how the events change the main characters going forward.
Unique plot – Although the sci-fi thriller has been done before, or any story for that matter, Promethee 13:13 writer Andy Diggle wrote the story in a way that can instill dread since the invaders seem to operate in a way that strips people of their rights and individuality. A great example of this where a character is told he would be “inducted, inoculated, and indoctrinated”. Themes like this in media have always had a deep resonance with audiences as they connect to a universal fear; a literary tool that Mr. Diggle has used to a great degree of success with Promethee 13:13.
OVERALL RATING – 10 out of 10
I have absolutely nothing bad to say about Promethee 13:13 whatsoever. The creative team behind this have truly done a service to the original series on which this prequel is based. If you weren’t previously a fan of the sci-fi genre, I promise you this story will change your mind immediately!