Monday, 28 May 2018

Reading Cerebus #22: Issue 19

Hi, Everybody!


First, Thursday, June 7th Comiclink. You. Dave Sim. All your money.
Wow! What a NEAT design! You can get it on a T-Shirt here.
Second, speaking of T-Shirts, I've set up a webstore for A Moment of Cerebus, where you can get the New AMOC logo on all sorts of stuff.

This one, created by Ben Hobbs
Right here. All profits get split 50/25/25 between Dave, Ben, and me (I'm only keeping a quarter to cover paying the tax man.)

Just imagine how groovy you'll look at the San Diego Comic Con, or S.P.A.C.E., or your niece's bat mitzva in an "official" A Moment of Cerebus T-Shirt. ("Who the fug is Matt D?" "What the fug's a 'Cerebus'?" "Really Jeff? What the fug is wrong with you? What part of 'black tie' was unclear?" It'll be great.)

And there'll be a "retro" "Tim W's A Moment of Cerebus" shirt coming for all of you who like "the earlier, funnier" AMOC and want everybody to know. (Tim has graciously said that he wants his quarter of the profits to go to Dave. Because he's a gentleman, and better than me...)

Third, "Hey kids! What time is it?"
"Aw shit! It's Reading Cerebus time!"
Man the 90s were fucking weird...
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.

"She-Devil In The Shadows" - Cerebus #19
Cerebus #19: "She-Devil In The Shadows"
With the merchants baubles now safely in Cerebus possession, Cerebus and Graus head to Togith to see how many warriors their 100 pounds of jewelry will buy them. However, it doesn't take long for Graus to become more of a liability than an asset as he is drawn in by a fortune teller, who it is implied is turning tricks on the side.

Courtesy home of the Cerebus Chess set
Two Sides To Every Story

While Cerebus impatiently waits for his spoils to be totaled up, Lord Gorce sets about building an army to take Fluroc back from Cerebus and the T'Gitans. He quickly cuts a deal to gain the support of the armies of Seaf in exchange for favors to be granted after Gorce unseats Lord Julius as the leader of Palnu.

With this bit of dirty work accomplished, Gorce then sends the word out to double the pay of those who swear exclusive loyalty to him, while those who remain loyal to Commander Sarte are to be executed. Something wicked this way comes!

Curse your inevitable betrayal!
If You Know What It's Worth Then There's No Fun In Cheating You
Finally sitting down with the Duke of Agerden, Cerebus finds out that most of the jewelry is worthless in trading for troops due to a glut of jewelry in the market and troops trading at a surplus:

"Everyone...I mean everyone...seems to be having a war right now..."

One piece, however, does have some value: the owl seen in last issue. As we find out it has a twin and would command a sum of money if sold as a pair. The twin idol resides with a Master Hortne who lives in the basement of The Brugel Arms Tavern. Two problems: Everyone who has entered Hortne's residence in the past few weeks hasn't returned, and Hortne isn't who he claims to be.

You Again
Gathering the required armaments and placing a 20:1 bet on himself, Cerebus enters the gloom only to encounter...Red Sophia? Locked in deadly combat, Cerebus quickly notices a door in the distance and uses it to break from the conflict before him. Behind that door he finds "Hortne" who is actually none other than Sophia's father, Henrot (see, Dave mixed up the letters, a technique that will be used countless times in future creative efforts such as the use of "Nilbog" in Troll 2).

Henrot proceeds to explain how "Geet-a" (Borealan for "She-Of-The-Foul-Mouth-And-Dynamite-Knockers") came to be a surrogate for his daughter, but soon became a guard dog that even he lost control of.

Cerebus' anger winds up being the key to his escape as he concocts a plan escape using Henrot's Gerbies against Geet-a, but before his escape he needs that damn owl, the one Henrot melted down a long time ago. As a favor to Cerebus, Henrot fashions a temporary owl, which will cease to exist in six months, more than enough time for Cerebus to get what he needs from it.

Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down

With the quest at hand complete, Cerebus goes to retrieve his and Graus' packs from the fortune teller, but the fortune teller has other plans. The issue ends with Cerebus out cold and Graus in possession of a note to bring to Gudre. Good night, sweet earth-pig, good night.

Final Thoughts

There is a cool use of duality throughout this issue's story. We get the two commanders trying to each raise forces in an escalating conflict. We get Red Sophia's "sister". We get twin owls.

These long form story issues are really hitting home with me as we are seeing more world building and character development which was mostly absent in the early stand alone stories. It really feels like Dave has hit his stride in creating his opus.

Join me back here next week as I take a look at issue 20, "Mind Games".

Currently Listening To: Rhythm Devils - The Apocalypse Now Sessions

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.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Good review, Kevin! Now, see if you can't go find Geet'a in some other issues, like when Sophia channels her when she's married to the Pope (oops! Spoiler Warning!)

Now, boys and girl, that oughta keep Kevin busy for awhile. Heh. These comic-book store owners--send 'em on a back-issue search, and you've got free-rein of the store for at least a half-hour...