Friday, September 11, 2009


If Alliance was a tour de force I found the follow up; Conflict just a bit disappointing.

Predictably enough Cerebus and the Bug end up in a fight, once the Roach has surprised the aardvark in the arms of his lady love Astoria. Seeing all her carefully laid plans disintegrate, Astoria breaks the two up, and orders the Moon Roach to his lair to wait for her. She and Cerebus turn on each other, and Astoria tries to play on Cerebus’ feelings to win the argument. She should have known by now that Cerebus has very few emotions beyond rage. The aardvark remains unswayed by her tears and apparent breakdown. Astoria recomposes herself, and the two declare an uneasy truce, knowing that they both manipulate people to get what they want.

Cerebus soon finds he has other things to occupy his thoughts. The Elf has struck again. In large glowing letters placed prominently in the foyer of The Regency are the words: ‘Cerebus wee wee’s in the sink’, it’s signed ‘you know who’. Cerebus retires to his suite to try and work out what would placate the Elf: a bathtub full of whiskey, pixie dust, a boy elf? I laughed out loud at the boy elf option.

Alone and without Astoria’s guidance, with only Kevitch to talk to, the Moon Roach doesn’t know who to direct his anger at, or who to drop giant crescent moons on. Astoria gets urgent word that someone who shouldn’t have, has met with a Roach driven end. Cerebus immediately leaps to the conclusion that the Roach has killed the wrong person, and the house of cards that he and Astoria have built is about to come crashing down on them. Astoria tells Cerebus to pull himself together, and to stay in The Regency while she tries to sort everything out.

While Cerebus stews, one of The Regency staff comes to discuss the matter of the graffiti in the foyer. They have put six layers of wallpaper over it, and the letters just keep on glowing through, they have also appeared elsewhere. Cerebus asks where, and is told that the newest message is over the gates of the city. The aardvark goes for a walk to clear his head, and just when he thinks things can’t get any worse, they do. A familiar voice hails him, and walking towards him is a tall, skinny albino wearing a pointed hat.

Astoria is one of the most interesting characters in High Society. Dave based her on the actress Mary Astor, and her name is derived from the actresses surname. There are definite similarities between Astoria and Mary Astor as she appeared in The Maltese Falcon; playing femme fatale Brigid O’Shaughnessy. At times, most notably in scenes featuring the Moon Roach crouching high in the city, High Society has a noirish feel to it, and maybe that is what prompted Dave to portray Astoria as an actress who was most famous for her role in one of the definitive noir films. The Maltese Falcon connection also led my thoughts back to the duck. Could it be possible that the duck statue is Cerebus’ Maltese Falcon?

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