Monday, September 7, 2009

Mind Games II

Return to the Seventh Sphere. You can tell Cerebus is in the Seventh Sphere because there’s virtually no background, just a number of indistinct black and grey shapes. I wondered if Dave was going to take Cerebus to the Seventh Sphere every time he lost consciousness. Not that I really minded. When I first read them I didn’t much like the Mind Games stories, with a greater appreciation of how they fit into the whole story, and possibly also because I am now older and better read, I appreciate them far more these days.

In some ways they’re Dave being a bit lazy, he doesn’t have to worry about drawing backgrounds and other characters, just Cerebus in various poses, as he travels through a dreamscape, having a conversation with the mysterious, evasive and maddeningly vague mystic Suenteus Po.

What we do get in Mind Games II, as in Mind Games I, is a detailed description of the socio political landscape of Estarcion. There’s also a lot of foreshadowing as to where Cerebus life is heading.

Cerebus has questions about how the last time this happened to him he was knocked out in Togith and woke up weeks later in Beduin. This is one question Po either can’t, or refuses to, answer. He does however give Cerebus a wealth of information about the Cirinists, the two factions of Tarimites, one is far more liberal than the other, he also throws in some detail about a Cirinist offshoot called the Kevillists. Cerebus begins to talk about his own religious aspirations, although he himself doesn’t realise it at the time. We find out a little more about Cerebus’ past. During his studies with Magus Doran he ran the gauntlet of energy globes in Imesh twice. That struck me as an interesting concept, it’s rather like Han Solo’s boast of having completed the Kessel Spice Run in record time in Star Wars: A New Hope. It’s highly likely that neither George Lucas or Dave Sim could explain exactly what either of these phrases mean, but they do sound impressive. It appears that Cerebus had the makings of a more than competent Magus, but never completed his training, and in fact has done nothing of a magical nature for over 10 years. I wonder if Cerebus' magical training is what made him into such a cynic or whether he was always like that. It also made me wonder how old Cerebus is. He completed 3 years of magical training, but that was over 10 years ago, and somewhere along the line he became a hard bitten mercenary, ranged all over Estarcion, made and lost a few fortunes, and ended up a blademaster as well. It sounds like an eventful decade. In fact there’s more experience than most could fit into a mere 10 years. Po also gives Cerebus the history of the Pigts, which makes it even more curious that they worshiped an aardvark idol, for some reason Cerebus lies to Po about the size of the idol. Po’s reaction to probing about his current whereabouts gives Cerebus the idea that the Illusionist’s physical location is somewhere in Iest, possibly even The Regency.

As with the last time Cerebus and Po lost contact just when things were getting interesting. I wonder where Cerebus will wake up this time?

I gained new respect for Dave as an author and his ability to construct a long reaching, complex story with this chapter. I was almost sad that Cerebus had to leave the Seventh Sphere.

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