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Review: Minds (Cerebus Vol. 10)

August 4, 2009

Clarity, finally.

From Wikipedia:

Fourth and concluding part of the story-arc Mothers and Daughters. Cerebus and Cirin ascend, then are separated by a mysterious force. As Cerebus flies through the solar system, he is shown images from his past and is forced to reconsider his actions and his faith. He then encounters a disembodied voice calling itself “Dave” that acknowledges itself as Cerebus’s creator.

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“Dave” shows Cerebus the history of the Cirinist movement, revealing that Cirin is actually named Serna and was the best friend of the real Cirin (the old woman Cerebus encountered in Women), but usurped Cirin’s leadership and effectively exchanged identities with her. “Dave” then gives Cerebus information about his past, showing that Cerebus unwittingly ruined his original destiny, causing chaotic repercussions which have influenced most of his adventures. Cerebus demands that “Dave” make Jaka love him; in response, “Dave” shows Cerebus visions of possible futures between himself and Jaka, all of which are disastrously flawed for both of them due to Cerebus’ nature. After a period of penance and self-reflection on Pluto, Cerebus asks “Dave” to place him in a bar he remembers from his mercenary days.

I wish the exposition of the Serna/Cirin backstory had not come as a Deux Ex Machina moment in this book.  “Dave” telling Cerebus this information feels to me a bit like grasping straws – “What do I fill the issue with now?” or alternately, “I don’t want any of the backstory I made up for the novel that no one may ever see going to waste – howabout inserting a little into the current issue?”. So we are treated to a great deal more exposition about how much of what Cerebus has experienced in the preceding issues fits into his life (Inviso-text follows)

…such as Elrod (who disappears in Reads) being described to Cerebus by “Dave” as being “a manifestation of your self-deception, incompetence and bluster”. Lame.

Sim gets points for introducing the old “injury to the eye” motif in an interesting way (in fact, the series’ later volumes are peppered with small homages to comic history).

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If  Sim could only have resisted the impulse to insert himself into the comic – again – at the end, and given his character something of a grace note to end the story on, Sim would have been free to focus his creativity on anything that suited his fancy.  However, the story goes on…for another 100 issues…

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