And here we get to the meatier stuff of the saga…after having a lot of setup adventures in Vol. 1*, Cerebus arrives in Iest with a sackful of gold and finds himself set up in the Regency Hotel, with a new job as Diplomatic Representative of Palnu in Iest (given to him by his employer/nemesis, Lord Julius) who, through enough machinations to fill a volume such as this, turns into a gig as Prime Minister of Iest.
I can see here Sim getting better at his draftsmanship (though he hasn’t yet acquired his co-illustrator Gerhard yet), and he’s getting more confident in his plotlines (as he writes in Vol. he has a real “affection for the political process”). Cerebus deals with:
- his political sparring with the goat (yes, an animal goat) Lord Julius runs against him. (And I apologize for the quality of the scans- remember I’m scaning a softcover telephone book over here.)
- Astoria’s manipulation of him into the Prime Minister’s seat. (no pic for this, sadly)
- Petuniacon (certainly Sim’s fictionalized experiences of being at a comic convention)
- Artemis (the Moon Roach) killing off his plans to get out of debt.
And damned if I’m enjoying the characterization of most of the funny minor characters more than the major ones…
Almost as if he relaxes when the Big Story plot points are set up and lets himself have a little fun with the small plot points. He has a real ear for dialect as well…
If I had to say the thing that bothered me the most about this volume was how some of the details of characterization felt to me like they came out of nowhere. For example, meeting Jaka again, and Jaka’s sadness at him betraying her.
I must say this comes out of nowhere for me. Maybe Sim decided he needed Jaka for more than just a walk-on role that she had back in Vol. 1. Which is fine – don’t get me wrong. I just think there should have been more setup for this moment earlier on (after all, sir, you have 300 issues to fill, and looking ahead at the volumes I have in my hands, Melmoth seems to be a digression from the plot you already are working on.)
* including him meeting Jaka for the first time — an oversight from my review of the first volume. I’ve revised the review for the first volume to reflect this, as I now realize that she’s a big part of the overall arc of the comic (and yes, I’m peeking – how do you expect me to review a comic with thousands of pages if I don’t look ahead? DON’T JUDGE ME!)