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Review: Melmoth (Cerebus Vol. 6)

July 24, 2009

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.

Melmoth 1

Cerebus, being catatonic, doesn’t do much until about page 149 of this edition (which is I think the fifth printing, 12/1995)*.

Melmoth 2

Here’s also where Sim jars me (at the least) again – the Cirinist** telepathy angle…

Melmoth 3

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…?

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