Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

365 Days of Cerebus, Day 9: ‘Cerebus’ 8

After missing another day, I return with a new day of looking at Cerebus for y’all.  I’ll catch up eventually….

Cerebus 8 cover

Anyway, after a retread of the last issue’s showdown with the giant spider, with a different outcome (thankfully a hallucination!), we find that Cerebus has been found by the Conniptins, a group of soldiers being led by the king’s son on a mission to conquer.

The king’s son is a guy who hasn’t proven his worth yet, possibly because he’s a pampered guy who communes with the gods via a white “powder of the gods”.  (It’s interesting that cocaine, or something like it, is introduced into this world. It’s sort of an anachronism that I don’t know helps the world-building, but the parody of that cokehead lifestyle helps the humor of the book.)  The son wants to wait for a snowstorm (uh, literal one) before the soldiers attack, so that the icky blood won’t show on the snow.  He also requests too much of the soldiers.

After being bossed around one too many times, Captain Turl of the soldiers under the king’s son’s command is ready and willing to revolt, and with Cerebus around, he thinks he’s found someone who can be a figurehead for a revolt.   Particularly when the punishment for refusing to be a Conniptin leader is to be disemboweled.

The Conniptin ideals, by the way, are “Might Makes Right! Might for Right! Might for Might! Right for Might! Fight! Fight! Fight!”, which, as Cerebus thinks, at least makes them good cheerleaders even if they aren’t good soldiers.

Cerebus gets in front of the soldiers, makes a stirring speech about going south to the Sofim River and conquering the city port of Imesh.  The inspirational words include “don’t screw it up or Cerebus will have you all flayed alive”, which leads Turl to tell another soldier to start Cerebus with some diplomacy lessons.  (I suspect Cerebus’s method works better, though….)

After thinking things through, Cerebus realizes that to a certain extent, he’s a prisoner here, and his thoughts are instinctively to escape, to call no man master, but his reason leads him to thinking that sticking around for warm food, good wine, a soft bed, and the chance for battle is worth sticking around for.  Self-examination isn’t Cerebus’s strong point (it’s about as appealing as debating theology with a Panrovian monk), and in the end, he decides to put off a decision.  Of course, as Rush also later told us, no decision is a decision.

While this is a fairly “quiet” issue, it’s got plenty of comedy.  Besides the king’s son’s proclivities, we get a nice riff on the Bones “I’m a doctor, not a (fill in the blank)”.  We also get Cerebus musing on the meaning of life — is there more to life than just food, drink, sleeping, and a sack of gold?  Mayhap… 2 sacks of gold?  Which is such an obvious solution to that query, it makes Cerebus think it’s probably wrong.  There’s also that Conniptin cheer that’s pretty funny stuff.

Overall, this issue is a strong one that moves the characterization of Cerebus forward as well as setting up the next issue.  Will there be battle?  Check it out next time!

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