Cerebus: Going HomeA comic review article by: Glenn Carter
Plot: Cerebus and Jaka take a journey, then change their minds!!!!
(This trade paperback collects issues 232 to 250 of the monthly Cerebus comic.)
I wonder why I read Cerebus now. I think I only really read it because of morbid curiosity as it has been gradually disappearing up Dave Sim's arse since the end ofChurch and State, and Going Home merely represents another point in the curve.
Perhaps I'm being a little unfair; after all, the artwork is superb as ever. The combination of Dave Sim's bold character drawings and Gerhard's finely detailed backgrounds make Going Home a rhapsody in black and white which is truly a joy to look at. It is maybe a little unclear in places, but I doubt that anyone could have any serious reservations about the artwork on the whole.
And admittedly, there are some fine moments, like the scene with the Lord Julius "like-a-look", which are as amusing as any of those times when Dave Sim was at his funniest. Those parts at the reception that Jaka has to attend recapture some of the more sinister moments from earlier Cerebuses. These vintage moments are but brief and few and far between in Going Home and serve only to remind you of happier, more innocent days, when Cerebus was actually any good.
It's not that it is not clever or well-observed, merely that it is a struggle to read, boring and badly constructed. All the cleverness in the world cannot make up for what is essentially a tedious story, and to me this is sad.
It is sad because I know what Cerebus once was and is no more. You see, I really wanted this book to be good. I wanted this book to rock! I wanted this TPB to be a ray of sunshine in what has been for years and years, an overhung and grim sky. Unfortunately, it is not that.
What it is, is pages and pages of Cerebus and Jaka arguing and making up, travelling around and staying in pubs. Then at about the half way point it all changes and not for the better. Then it gets really awful as Dave Sim attempts to fulfil his literary pretentions by dissecting the character and work of F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Still, upon reading the second half of the TPB you can at least feel better in knowing that you don't have to read the pages and pages of notes the author took on his research for the character, which he unleashed on the readers of the comics. These really turn mindless drivel and tedium into a new art form.
You can gather by the rest of the review what I thought of this book, however, do not dismiss the entirety of the Cerebus works out of hand. Some of the earlier works were true masterpieces of the comic book medium and the series may yet surprise us by again becoming the magnificent work it once was. Hope springs eternal.
Not so bad it's a crime, but bad nevertheless. Buy High Society instead.