Sunday, January 16, 2011
I was surprised and a little delighted when I opened up Flight and discovered that my copy was both signed and numbered. How I managed to get one of the signed, numbered, first editions I have no idea. Just lucky I guess.
The story begins with Cerebus fighting for his life against the Cirinists. When the first rumours of the battle reach Cirin, who is busily burning books with her assistant Clarinda (I wasn’t sure if this was the same Clarinda who attends Mrs Thatcher or whether it’s just a common Cirinist name), she refuses to believe it because how could a 3 foot tall creature take out 8 of her crack soldiers? What’s more impressive is that he did it with one arm, because he refused to let go of Missy. The aardvark’s struggle draws attention from the local townsfolk and they rally behind him. The initial rebellion is put down hard and quickly, but before they can catch Cerebus he disappears.
Sparked by Cerebus’ actions normalroach remembers all his past incarnations and who used or inspired him and changes again. This time he’s Punisherroach (a take on the Marvel vigilante The Punisher, how Dave never got served with more cease and desist orders I do not know). The Punisherroach is armed with pearl handled, semi-automatic crossbows and they’re also remarkably accurate, or so he says. When he went into battle against the Cirinists I fully expected them to not work and for him to be massacred, that’s generally what happens to the Roach. This time the crossbows did work and he became a one man wrecking crew as far as the Cirinists were concerned and a rallying point for the fed up populace. Elrod still wearing his roach suit takes charge of the new saviour and leads him a brot…cleansing centre and introduces him to a pros…spiritual advisor called Blossom. The Roaches encounter with Blossom causes him to morph quickly into Loboroach (Lobo), Cableroach (Cable), Venomroach (Spiderman’s evil alter ego Venom) and finally Ghostroach (Ghostrider) before becoming a milder, slightly more lucid version of the Punisherroach persona. As an amusing aside the Cirinist commander who delivered Iest to Cirin was called Normina Swartzkof.
The Cirinists are starting to fragment as two of the most powerful members of the church (Mrs Thatcher and Mrs Kopp) jockey for position and Cirin herself becomes obsessed with the still imprisoned Astoria because of her knowledge of Cerebus.
Readers get to see a number of other characters who have featured throughout the book: Kcorr the mad ruler of Imesh, Death as he was portrayed way back in the early days, The Elf (yay!), she’s still at the Regency looking for the fake Elf, Dan and Drew McGirt who are not faring well in a Cirinist controlled Iest, we see Posey’s sad, final fate. I felt sorry for him, he never hurt anyone and just tried to keep himself alive, he did believe in Cerebus, though and it was ultimately this faith that led to his death, George who is arguing with himself about just what his actual purpose is, Lord Julius, who spends his part of the book trying to dodge a Cirinist assassin and is saved by his assistant, even the Andy Warhol inspired artist makes an appearance.
The Pigt story started back in issue #3 seems to come to a head as they arm and march on Iest, but when the omens don’t quite work out as they expected argue amongst each other and decimate their own forces.
While all this is going on Cerebus is back in the Seventh Sphere. He won’t be misdirected by Po this time. He’s going up, exactly where up will get him he doesn’t really care, he’s going to do it. He eventually ascends to the Eighth Sphere and comes face to face with Suenteus Po…and he’s an aardvark! Po is the 3rd aardvark. The legendary mystic has lived through a number of incarnations, it’s not clear whether he is an aardvark in all of them, though. It’s not even clear if he can exist on any other plane other than the ones he appears to Cerebus in anymore. He explains his life to Cerebus and also cautions him against believing what George told him as he’s not the most reliable or impartial of commentators, no matter what he claims.
Just as Cirin and Astoria are about to go head to head Cerebus returns to this sphere of existence with a loud POIT!
There were two passages that stayed with me from Flight. One was Posey’s death. That really rocked me. The other was one part of the aftermath of Cerebus’ rebellion, just after he disappeared. The fact that a 3 foot tall creature fighting with one arm could kill eight of the previously unbeatable Cirinist troops and give people hope was not good for the controlling regime. They had to quarantine the entire section of the city that had seen it. Cirin gave the order to move all mothers and children under 5 out of the area and kill everyone remaining. Plague was the pretext used. There’s a moving encounter of a young girl who doesn’t believe the plague excuse, she has to see her mother and baby brother moved out and pitifully asks her mother to tell her brother when he’s older that he once had a sister, she then willingly goes to her execution. Despite their rhetoric the Cirinists were no better than the equally repressive regime that they replaced.