Cerebus 4 — “Death’s Dark Tread”
This issue introduces Elrod the Albino, the Elric parody that talks like Foghorn Leghorn. Fortunately the force of Elrod’s personality keeps this issue moving along at a brisk clip, because the story itself is very thin. Death (apparently THE Death) is after Cerebus because Cerebus has a gem (again!) that Death needs. Death gets a “personality with no subtlety” to retrieve the gem (unwittingly, I say, unwittingly so) in Elrod.
Elrod has a ton of great lines, from thinking that Cerebus is a kid in a bunny suit, to the joke about the name of his sword, to the classic “mind your manners son, I’ve got a tall pointy hat! Status, boy!”
From what I understand, Wendy Pini praised Dave’s parody here, as she apparently told him that it’s dead-on because Elric talks non-stop. What she didn’t realize was that other than some comics adaptations, Dave had never read any Elric. He just happened upon the combination, it seems.
Without Elrod, this issue falls apart, but with him it’s quite entertaining.
And since this post is a little short (just like Cerebus, nyuck nyuck), I’ll mention that I read the first six issues in one go in prepping these first posts. I was surprised at how brisk the pacing was for most of them. Even the less intriguing issues (like 2, for instance) move along nicely and distract from the fact that the plot is less than compelling at times. It’s even getting me to reconsider the received wisdom that the first phone book is skippable, which seems to be the general consensus amongst some Cerebus fans. Let’s look at this aspect further in depth, say, at the end of February, when I should finish up the first 50 issues of the book.