Archive for July, 2009
From Wikipedia –
Second part of the story-arc Mothers and Daughters. Cerebus crashes back to earth. He is assisted by a mysterious old woman who is being openly spied upon by the Cirinists; she sends him to a bar to hide. This story arc includes a parody of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman (DC Comics/Vertigo), with The Roach playing “Swoon” (a parody of Dream (DC Comics)” and Elrod playing “Snuff” (a parody of Death (DC Comics)”. Astoria and Cirin symbolically duel in a dream realm. The book includes excepts from books written by Astoria and Cirin that describe their differing beliefs. Cerebus flies across the city to slay Astoria, but is interrupted by the physical arrival of Suenteus Po.
Yeah. Sums it up all right.
Maybe this is why Sim keeps coming back to already established characters for comic relief/exposition…
Would explain a lot (although with 6000 pages, one would think that Sim had the room to do a large cast – but chose not to). The comic relief goes on and on, diluting the seriousness of the Ascension/Cirin/Astoria subplot for people like me who are at least willing to give Sim a chance with what he’s doing. Pity that, since this volume gives me some things to like about Astoria’s character.
In my opinion – another placeholder session. It’s going to take some time to review Reads, since there’s huge sections of the volume in text, and in comic form, which for the sake of my own sanity I’m going to read separately. At least the text there isn’t overly-hard to read…
First part of the story-arc Mothers and Daughters. Cerebus’s return to Iest and slaughter of Cirinsts leads to a very brief failed revolution.
Cerebus ascends into darkness and speaks with Suenteus Po. Meanwhile, Cirin works to manage her sect and arrange her own Ascension. Artemis, with Elrod as his sidekick, also stages his own impromptu revolution under his new persona “PunisherRoach,” a parody of the Marvel comics character The Punisher.
A placekeeper of sorts – art as gorgeous as usual, but apart from Cerebus’ failed revolution, not much to interest me.
Instead of staying with Cerebus to keep the suspense up, we get exposition of Cirin’s character and the Cirinists…
Long…long…stretches of exposition by Suenteus Po…Galvanized yet?
And more comedy relief by the PunisherRoach and Lord Julius. (No grabs for that – sorry.) Just more maddening flip-flops in tone for this volume, overshadowing the well-written parts, like this one: Cirin has decreed anyone who has seen Cerebus alive is to be killed – I thought this was an awesome exchange between one of the Cirinist soldiers and an eyewitness (right side of page)…
Further evidence that Sim is losing interest in the title character.
From Wikipedia –
This short volume (which Sim has referred to as a “short story”) concentrates on the last days and death of Oscar Wilde, attended by his trusted companion, Robbie Ross, rather than on Cerebus himself, who puts in only a minor appearance. Believing Jaka to be dead, a catatonic Cerebus spends his days mourning on the patio of a café. At the conclusion of the volume, Cerebus overhears a conversation by two Cirinist jailers insulting Jaka. Enraged, Cerebus murders one of them and then springs into action.
Again, a really well-written (although, since Sim used excerpts of Ross’ correspondence in the creation, is “writing” the proper term for those vignettes dealing with Oscar? Would “selection and illustration” be better terms?) volume, especially in the nuances of the minor characters.
Cerebus, being catatonic, doesn’t do much until about page 149 of this edition (which is I think the fifth printing, 12/1995)*.
Here’s also where Sim jars me (at the least) again – the Cirinist** telepathy angle…
I know all about the “gimme” rule in Science Fiction (or fantasy, call it what you will) – “Gimme the existence of one thing (faster-than-light drive, aliens, telepathy) and a story can be written about it that doesn’t bring the reader out of the story saying, ‘that’s stupid’ “. Problem is, I thought Cerebus himself was supposed to be the “gimme”.
Especially after the events of Church & State.***
Where did the telepathy come from? I notice that in the flashback scene, Cerebus has his long nose circa issue #1 or so. Sim trying to cover up why he didn’t have anybody mention it in passing when Cerebus was discussing Cirinists with Suenteus Po back in Mind Games II? (High Society pg. 49, First printing, 6/1986 )
* I wonder if this is the first page of a new issue, and Sim decided to put more of the story into action here?
** Terimist? Look! Now Sim’s got me talking like the world he depicts really exists!
*** and I fully realize that I’m sounding like an idiot here – let’s see, the talking aardvark, the Regency Elf, the monsters, the wizards, the ascension into godhood subplot – all that shit – didn’t phase me. But the telepathy…?
And now up to this volume – which I have to admit, is one hell of a piece of writing (aside from the tonal shifts that I write about below)…
From Wikipedia –
Under a brutal Cirinist dictatorship, the fallen Cerebus runs into Jaka again. She is illegally working as a dancer in her landlord (Pud’s) tavern; he treats Jaka kindly but secretly spends his days lusting after her. Cerebus agrees to live with Jaka and her husband Rick as their houseguest. That story is interwoven with unreliable tales of Jaka’s childhood told by a writer, representing Oscar Wilde, using notes and stories provided by Rick. In the end Cerebus disguises himself and travels to the Lower City; while he is gone, the Cirnists find the tavern, kill Pud, and arrest Jaka, Rick, and Oscar. Jaka is made to sign a confession of immoral behavior, and is reunited with Rick; however, the Cirinists reveal to Rick that Jaka aborted the son that Rick always wanted. He lashes out at Jaka and is allowed to divorce her (although he is maimed for striking her). Jaka returns to Palnu, and Cerebus returns to the inn to find it in ruins.
While reading this, I started to think, Well – he’s starting to lose interest in Cerebus.
Most of the characterization I found interesting was focused on characters who were not-Cerebus: Pud (who Sim wrote in sympathy to “much of the comics-reading community” due to his repressed sexuality. (more than a grain of truth to that characterization, Mr. Sim – kudos).
The Oscar Wilde stand-in, Oscar…
The really well-done scene between Jaka, Rick, and the Cirinist inquisitor Mrs. Thatcher…
And some characters who are hanging over Sim like albatrosses – for one, Lord Julius. Fun as far as he goes, but when he keeps recurring as a character antagonist to someone we’re supposed to care about – Jaka – the effect for me was jarring.
In fact, the turn-on-a-dime tonal shifts of this graphic novel (this being part five of same) do really grate. I understand that Sim supposedly had the whole thing planned out, but the tonal shifts seems to be telling a different story.