Monday, 21 May 2018

Reading Cerebus #21: "Fluroc" Issue #18

Hi, Everybody!

"Hey kids! What time is it?"
"Time for a really quick column with no images from the book, because you're pressed for time?"
"Ya damn right!"
Courtesy of Kevin's co-worker
Kevin Kimmes:

Welcome back to “Reading Cerebus”, a some-what new (mostly) weekly column here at A Moment of Cerebus. The goal of this column is to bring a fresh perspective to the 300-issue saga of Cerebus as I read through the series for the first time and give my insights into the longest running independent comic book series of all time. Think of this as part book club, part lit-crit, and part pop culture musing. Let’s continue.

"Fluroc" - Cerebus #18
"Fluroc" - Cerebus #18
Let it never be said that Cerebus isn't cunning. It's this chestnut that's at the center of this week's reading. With Fluroc now in the control of Cerebus and the T'Gitan horde, what could possibly impede their progress on to Palnu? Why, merchants, of course!

Hail Storm...Err...Hail Stromm!

This week's tale starts off with the explanation of someone else's mythology: Stromm. Cleverly based around the Norse god of thunder, Thor, we learn the details regarding Stromm as well as his first follower, Gudre. Lions die, wine bottles are bitten, and Stromm's word is carried forth by his first disciple, Gudre. We also learn that a mighty belch from Stromm could spell the demise of half an army, so you know, no fizzy drinks for the big guy.

Also, worth noting: Having met these two in the previous issue, this all sounds like a bunch of bullshit!

Take A Look, It's In A Book

While Graus tells the tale of Stromm, Cerebus has other matters to attend to. Foremost on his list is trying to find any information that may be useful in the overthrow of Palnu. However, checking the libraries of the most well-to-do homes in Fluroc has not been turning up the information that Cerebus had hoped for.

"I Have Some Bad News For You, Gorce..."

We get a quick aside with Lord Julius at this point, as he doles out responsibility of raising an army to Gorce of Vessariat. While Julius makes plans for a hasty retreat ahead of the fall of Palnu, Gorce plans to save the city and see Julius hung out to dry in the process. If treachery was a tradable commodity, it could be the chief export of Palnu. Just sayin'.

The Plague You Say

As mentioned earlier, this issue could have been smooth sailing for Cerebus if it weren't for the unforeseen arrival of N'Gamin merchants. Then again, if that were the case, this wouldn't be much of a Cerebus story.

Always looking for ways to turn lemons into lemonade, Cerebus decides to explain away the copious amount of dead bodies laying around on a recent plague that ravaged the village. Doubling down on this story, Cerebus is even able to convince the lead merchant into believing that he himself has contracted the plague, and that Cerebus is the only person with the cure.

A short negotiation follows with Cerebus getting the merchants wares as well as the helms of the hired mercenaries who are protecting the merchants. Sometimes all it takes is a little ingenuity and a cup full of blood to really sell your illusion.

Final Thoughts

This issues really felt like a bit of a world builder. We get to hear about Stromm's mythology from those that follow him, we learn a bit about the merchant culture of the area, and we learn that there is even more layers to the unrest in Palnu than originally suspected.

The issue incorporated a good amount of humor into what is not a very action packed story. This really seems like one of Dave's strengths to this point: Holding the reader's interest even during the quieter story beats. In the hands of a lesser writer, these moments can become a real drag.

Join me back here next week as I take a look at issue 19, "She-Devil In The Shadows".

Currently Listening To: Grateful Dead - Dick's Picks Volume 8 - Harpur College, Binghamton, NY 5/2/1970

Kevin Kimmes is a lifelong comic book reader, sometime comic book artist, and recent Cerebus convert. He can be found slinging comics at the center of the Multiverse, aka House of Heroes in Oshkosh, WI.

Next Time: Hey wait column 21? Reading Cerebus is legal! Drinks are on it tonight!!! 

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