Bloodshed! Mayhem! Wanton brutality and murder! All the things you’ve come to expect from Cerebus. Well, not really, which is what makes this book such a departure, especially after a three year span (as far as the comic is concerned) without Cerebus doing much of anything. This one starts off with a bang, with him on the run from basically all the Cirinists and with them all after his head. Those sword fights are pretty realistic (it seems) too. Most movies and other media just show swords killing people without going into detail about how it’s done. This is all shown brutally in this series. And the Roach is back, and Elrod, and Suentes Po, and Cirin, and plenty of people where I don’t want to ruin the surprise. We get a few glimpses into why things are as they are, and plenty of things that seemed completely unimportant at the time are brought back for a brief spell. You’d have a hard time finding any character to ask “whatever happened to them?” after this whole story is over.
How does it stack up? Well, it starts off possibly the best large storyline of the series, at least so far. It’s not easy to pull off constant action for as long as Sim did and have me buy it either. That’s one other thing that I’m getting when I’m re-reading all this. He knew exactly what he needed to do to make this a hit (at least with his diehard fans) when he started this thing. He could have easily spent the rest of the series after this dealing with Cirin and everyone and with the politics of Iest, but instead he chose to take all kinds of chances. Still, that’s a review for another time. This one has anything that any fan of the series could ever want: a starring role for Cerebus, more plot advancement (at least as far as the “main” plot goes) than you could shake a stick at, and the return of almost every character who has meant anything to the story. All this while still going light on the giant blocks of text! This is a real crowd pleaser, and probably the right one to start someone with who isn’t convinced of this series and also has a short attention span. There are better books, sure, but most of what happens in them leads up to the event in the Mothers and Daughters story.