Sim, Dave – Cerebus Volume 3: Church and State Part 1
How do you review a story when it’s only halfway through? Well, seeing as how this whole series is ongoing and a lot of things are going to change, I guess it isn’t that big of a stretch. This is the first half of the biggest Cerebus storyline of them all. This half goes pretty much everywhere. Cerebus after he’s forced to give up being the Prime Minister all the way to Cerebus becoming the Pope, this volume gives the impression to me of not that much happening. That’s probably just because he’s a lot more active in the other books, what with trying to take over the world and all. He mostly sits around and tries to collect gold in this one. What makes this book notable is how much farther the plot advances here. It’s obvious that Dave has settled in for the long haul in this one and that he has a definite plan for the whole series. He sets things up in this one that aren’t dealt with until Mothers and Daughters (#151-200), if then. Suentes Po and Cirin and both major parts of the story and we don’t see them until much later in the series, but they’re both talked about plenty in this one.
So what happens in this one? Well, certain things are wrapped up and all that usually does is raise more questions than it answers. This also introduces Bishop Powers, Bear, and Boobah, and it features appearances by almost everybody from his past once again. Another incarnation for the Roach with Wolveroach, which got Sim in a lot of trouble with Marvel back in the day. Some folks say that a lot of Cerebus is padding. You could point to the two dream issues where almost nothing happens, or you could point to the fact that you can usually sum up the plot advancement in two or three sentences of 4 or 5 issues, and I just don’t think that’s a valid reason to slam this book. Look, he knows exactly what he’s doing. I’ve had my doubts along the way, but he has come through every time and I’m perfectly content to give him the benefit of the doubt. I’ve seen a lot of what pacing can mean to a book with Lone Wolf and Cub in the past year, and I think that’s basically what he’s trying to do. He’s having fun with dialogue and the characters, and he’s making it a lot more interesting than just saying “time passes”, basically. Suspend your disbelief, try not to see the man behind the curtain and you’ll get along just fine. As for the actual review of this series well, obviously I’m going to do that after I read the next book.