Saturday, September 12, 2009

Three Days Before

Cerebus is suitably horrified and annoyed to see the walking irritation that is Elrod step back into his life. He promptly knocks the albino unconscious mid sentence, and bundles him into a cab, (coincidentally driven by the same cabbie that took Cerebus to the Rams Lords Tavern the night he arrived in Iest) with orders to put him on a ship going somewhere very far away.

Once safely back behind The Regency's doors, Cerebus heads for his room to stay out of trouble. Before he can get there he is accosted by a well dressed and groomed young man who starts spouting some sort of prophecy at him. Initially Cerebus has no idea who this is, until he introduces himself as Bran Mac Mufin (despite the fact that he's spelling the surname differently it is the leader of the Pigts, last encountered in issue #5). Convinced that any association with Mac Mufin (these days due to a derogatory nickname supporters of my Aussie Rules team; the Richmond Tigers, have bestowed upon the less than brilliant Jordan McMahon, I have problems disassociating the two, in fact I think I'd rather prefer that we had the Pigtish leader on our list) will only cause trouble Cerebus waves him away, and continues onto his room. It appears that people from the aardvark's past are popping up all over Iest. The reason for this will become apparent at the end of the chapter.

Thinking that he has now successfully avoided all possibilities of trouble, and can tell Astoria 'Nyah-Nyah!' when she returns, and he is sitting quietly in his room doing nothing, Cerebus enters the room only to find a dripping wet Elrod waiting there for him. About to throw Elrod out the window, Cerebus is startled by the Moon Roach appearing there and vowing to kill everyone who attempts to help the aardvark. Cerebus is about to climb out the window, and give chase when Elrod tells Cerebus that the Roach can't possibly carry out his threat, because Cerebus' actions in bringing the Inquisition to it's knees has garnered him more friends and allies than the Moon Roach could ever wipe out single handedly.

Astoria reenters, and before Cerebus can stop him Elrod introduces himself to her, and then takes his leave. Instead of being angry with him, Astoria asks Cerebus how he managed to cultivate the most charismatic swordsman in Estarcion as a friend. Cerebus cannot believe this. To me this illustrated that ever since he arrived in Iest Cerebus has been so busy concentrating on his own issues that he never even thinks about the greater world outside of himself. Cerebus only cares for one person and that is Cerebus, he often does this to the exclusion of all else. At times the aardvark seems completely cut off from the world around him.

Cerebus demands an apology from Astoria for remaining out of trouble while she was gone, she's about to grant it grudgingly, and mentions telling the desk clerk to cancel all her appointments while she was gone, when suddenly Cerebus remembers that he didn't do that.

Astoria goes downstairs to try and put right what missing all her appointments has messed up, and comes back to tell Cerebus that she's going to need 500 crowns. Cerebus has 1,000 crowns that she gave him on the day the Elf left, so gives Astoria 500. Once he's gone Astoria opens a hidden safe, and puts the 500 with the neat piles of crowns that Cerebus is obviously unaware she has hoarded. While she is closing the safe Elrod reenters to give Astoria an invitation that he forgot for Cerebus.

Astoria looks at the invitation, and sees with wide eyes that it is an invitation to Lord Julius' Petuniacon at The Regency with guest of honour King Elrod of Melvinbone (Lord Julius' nominee to be the next ranking diplomatic representative of Palnu in Iest).

The bit about Petuniacon made clear to me the title of the issue (Three Days Before), and why people like Elrod and Bran from Cerebus' past had suddenly bobbed up. By this stage in the life of the comic I'm betting Dave had been to his fair share of cons (short for convention, they're very popular amongst sci-fi/fantasy fans and comic book collectors), and this was his little joke about them. It was a successful stepping stone of an issue and had some very interesting things: Astoria's hoarding of money, Cerebus' growing popularity, Elrod's fame and relationship with Lord Julius, and the reappearance of Bran Mac Mufin.

There are some characters in long running TV shows, book series and comics that make fans react when they reappear. In Cerebus Elrod was one such character. Most fans like him. I never really did. Once you got past the fact that he bore a similar name to a popular Moorcock hero, and looked like the same character, but was totally incompetent, and spoke like Foghorn Leghorn that was it, joke over. By the time he came back into the book in High Society I felt that the character had outlived his usefulness. He was still wearing the outdated medieval style dress that made him an anachronism in cosmpolitan Iest, which favoured an almost 19th century Victorian mode of dress and lifestyle, yet we were supposed to believe that people saw him as a dashing, charismatic heroic type. Yet the fans and Dave liked the character enough that this would be far from the last time we saw the albino.

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