Thursday, October 1, 2009
The 6th crises and the final chapter of High Society began in an unusual fashion. Cerebus was all alone in a cavernous hall, even his words echoed down the empty spaces. Eventually he found Astoria with the Conniptin commander. Because no one brought Cerebus his breakfast he has come to the conclusion that something is wrong.
Astoria is drinking wine and it is obvious by her manner that the glass in her hand is far from the first of the day. She informed Cerebus that the churches exodus inward had ended. The church has united and taken all power. Blakely and Filgate scared of the consequences have gone home. Cerebus' cabinet is now composed of Astoria and the Conniptin. Cerebus believes that the Conniptins give him the military strength he's wanted. However the forces of the combined church outnumber the Conniptins significantly and they'd be cut to pieces if Cerebus were to attack. Cerebus last hope was the anarcho-romantics, but they had been rounded up, arrested and were waiting trial or begging the Pontiff for his forgiveness.
Astoria says that Cerebus only course of action is to go to Lower Felda, as they are the only people willing to support him as Iestan Prime Minister in exile for the express purpose of embarassing the church. During the course of the argument that the conversation becomes we see some of Astoria's real reasons for orchestrating all this in the first place, she's a feminist, she wanted women to get the vote. I wonder if this was the beginning of Dave's anti feminist rant. The one that would get him in so much trouble later on.
Cerebus insists that he's not going to Lower Felda, he's going to Eshnospur. I don't think he really cared where he went, but he stuck on Eshnospur because Astoria wanted them to go to Lower Felda and he took a stand to prove that he did make the decisions for himself, not just blindly follow or agree to Astoria's plans.
As Cerebus leaves Astoria asks him what he's going to do and he says he has someone to find. Astoria correctly guesses that he's going to go looking for Jaka. She tells him that there are things he doesn't know about her. Cerebus responds by saying that he knew she was Lord Julius niece. Astoria's counter to that is that she too was once Lord Julius 'niece', he's had a number of 'nieces' over the years, the big difference between Jaka and Astoria is that he married her. I have admit this made me a little ewwwww! I'd always seen Lord Julius as Dave first presented him; a fantasy version of Groucho Marx. Groucho was undeniably sleazy, although Chico was sleazier, and he flirted all the time, but he was ultimately harmless and humourous. Jaka was twelve when she left Lord Julius.
Cerebus walked out on Astoria and found himself back in the Ambassador Suite in The Regency with the Elf. The Elf, as always, praised Cerebus, telling him that he was the best Prime Minister ever and who cared about the crummy ol' church. It will serve them right if Cerebus stays there for the rest of his life playing wickets with her. Cerebus tells her that he can't do that, he's leaving. The Elf asks if he will at least come back and see her. Cerebus says yes, but not soon. The Elf tells Cerebus that she'll miss him, will he miss her? The Cerebus did something I'd never expected to see. He started to cry, he said he had soot in his eye, but he was crying. He really loved the Elf and he hated leaving that life behind. The Ef held him until he composed himself. He picked up his sword, put on his vest and medallions, then kicked the sack of junk that he got from the mad artist. It fell open and the contents spilled out. Amongst the bangles and cups and plates was a statue of an albatross. Cerebus picked it up and threw it into the city where it shattered.
The book finished with some of the documents that we had been seeing throughout the crises, something that had been written by an anarcho-romantic who remained loyal to Cerebus. We didn't realise until this point who was writing those. These ones told the story of the author's arrest and imprisonment on a false charge of blasphemy. The final page was a ragged man in a dungeon cell writing on his walls by candlelight. The last panel is the word liberty.
Wow! That was one hell of a ride. Dave was going to find this a hard act to follow. To remain relevant, tight and funny for another 250 issues, that was going to be fun to see.