Monday, September 28, 2009
When we last left our hero things finally seemed to be working in his favour, but this entire sequence was called Cerebus' Six Crises, so that state of affairs could not possibly continue as we were only up to Crisis Three.
Astoria meets with a foppishly dressed member of the pretentious Intellectual Revolution (are they ever anything, but?). Her meeting over, Astoria goes into Cerebus' office has to wake him up and then delivers a document called The People's Manifesto of Demands. One thing you should never ever do to Cerebus is demand anything. The manifesto provokes the expected temper tantrum, but with Astoria's diplomatic influence that's as far as it would have gone, except for the fact that the thoroughly deranged Roach was literally hanging around outside the window listening.
In his current incarnation as Sergeant Preston of the Northern Iestan Mounted Police (one I never felt really worked. He dressed like a fuzzy Moon Knight and he still had the habit of using the Kevitch personality to commentate on his movements, so calling himself Sergeant Preston, a character based on the matinee hero Sgt Preston of the Mounties didn't make an awful lot of sense) the Roach busts into the revolutionary headquarters and beats the living daylights out of everyone there, letting them all know that he is doing this on behalf of Cerebus the Prime Minister of Iest.
The Isshurian mercenary commander returns, and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't see him as anything other than Commander Krull with a bigger jaw. I think Dave may have been extending himself artistically and there are only so many people you can draw before you find some of them start to look the same. The Isshurian has used nearly all of the money he and his men liberated from New Sepra to pay himself and his men. Cerebus isn't happy, but there's not a lot he can do about it. Especially when a message from Palnu arrives informing the aardvark that Lord Julius has significantly devalued the currency of New Sepra due to Cerebus' smash and grab invasion. During a discussion with Bran, Cerebus comes to the realisation that he has been played yet again by the wily Palnan bureaucrat. The fact that he can't work out if whatever move he makes is actually playing into Lord Julius' hands effectively ties his hands and leaves him largely powerless.
As his financial advisor, Filgate advises Cerebus that to get around the devaluation he has to get the banks to agree to work with him against Lord Julius. This was a sound strategy and would have worked had it been allowed to start. Unfortunately once again the Roach heard the conversation. This time he heavied the director of the Bank of Iest into signing a document that would make him loyal to the Prime Minister. The director does himself no favours when he points out that any document signed under duress is not legally binding. The Roach very nearly breaks the man's arm making him sign a second document that the first one was not signed under any coercion.
Cerebus frets because his major hope against the revolution in New Sepra that was forcing his army out, led by Bran, has not contacted him and it is past time. The local revolutionaries rise up because of how the Roach treated them and now Cerebus also has no hope of getting the banks to cooperate with him again because of the Roach's late night visit to the director of the Bank of Iest.
One by one the dominoes begin to fall and Cerebus is forced to sign away concession after concession just to keep his position. He believes that Bran has made it through and done the right thing for Iest, only to discover that they are being invaded.
Dave had done it again. I sometimes wonder if he really hated his hero, because every time things seemed to be going right for him the rug was pulled out from under him and he ended up in a worse position than he started in. I can't deny it was huge fun to read, though.