- Series: Cerebus (Book 9)
- Paperback: 247 pages
- Publisher: Aardvark-Vanheim; Second Printing edition (January 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0919359159
- ISBN-13: 978-0919359154
- Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.5 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #665,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reads (Cerebus) Paperback – January 1, 1997
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The ninth volume of the Cerebus the Aardvark series, Reads, is the penultimate chapter of the larger Mothers and Daughters story. This is one of the most powerful editions in the series and one of the most ambitious narratives that Dave Sim has ever attempted.
In addition, Reads is the most controversial volume of the Cerebus series to date because of a parallel narrative involving two characters--Viktor Reid and Viktor Davis--who are both alter egos for Dave Sim. This controversy is a shame because the offensive section in Reads--which explores the relationship between men and women--represents only one possible view of this subject. When read as part of the whole series, the passages that may have seemed shocking to some, appear (like all points of this narrative) to question and provoke rather than offend. Viktor Davis is far from a reliable narrator, an idea that is reinforced by the final paragraphs of his narrative and demonstrated by the scariest of all Cerebus practical jokes. Are Viktor Davis or Viktor Reid representative of Dave Sim or simply aspects of his persona? The ending suggests the answer.
Meanwhile, Cerebus, Po, Cirin, and Astoria debate the important stuff, including our aardvark friend's genitalia, the history of Illusionism, the nature of power, and the fate of Astoria's child. Despite the bad rap, Reads is Cerebus at its finest. Like the best of art, Reads has the power to shock, surprise, amuse, and offend--and it even has a whiz-bang fight scene. What more could you want?
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I don't want to truly delve in to the many issues that I have with this work, because really, who cares? There is a lot to like about this book, and I will finish the series, and Cerebus will remain one of my favorite comics, but in the end "reads" just left me feeling mildly insulted. It's a lot of fairly dry reading to get through to be left feeling insulted.
in the intro dave sim suggest that a paperknife might be needed - and he is partially right. half (or is it more?) of this volume is text/musings/retoric for mr sim (using two persona to do it). So, quite a break from the norm, and at times rather distracting from the (actual) 'toon storyline. A shame really, since there are some amusing points in his yapping, but for most of the time i found myself half-skimming it to get back to our furry hero.
almost reminds me of the "moral reflections" in the Drizzt book by RA Salvatore - they add voice and character/background, but can/should be skipped first time round (or if you find bashing to be offensive... ...but then why are you still reading Cerebus ?!?!)
overall this volume moves the story into gear, has some great sequences and a bit of extra fluff for those long lazy days of winter. A slightly weak 4 stars for now.
On a final note I believe that one of the main things to consider of Cerebus is that all the characters are fallible. This reasonably would also apply to the Author I would think.
First off, what is a "read"? In the world of Cerebus, a read is a form of literature in which the odd pages are all text where the even pages consist of a single illustration. Dave structures the first part of this volume with about 16 pages of a read describing the life of reads author Victor Reid alternating with 6 pages of a continuance of the Cerebus story line. Like many things about Cerebus, this gives me another reason to be glad I didn't read the series "live." I personally don't mind this section; I find the Victor Reid story amusing. During this portion ***spoiler*** Po convinces Astoria to give up her ambitions for power. Philosophically speaking, this is not, as one might imagine, because Astoria is a woman, but because attempting to control others is ultimately self-defeating and pointless.
The second portion is essentially one extended fight scene between Cerebus and Cirin, interspersed with text from Viktor Davis, who is pretty much indistinguishable from Dave Sim. The text portions are essentially spiraling inwards until we get to the actual point, in #186. More on that infamous section in the comments.
Part 3 of the "Mothers and Daughters" four-volume series within a series.