The first forty pages are essentially an ilustrated version of Genesis with commentary by Sim in which he attempts to integrate quantum physics and his "male light/female void" theory into it. But in the introduction (which is equally painful to read), Sim claims he has proposed a legitimate "theory of everything" and believes that the only reason this breakthrough hasn't been widely reported is that the feminists want to keep a lid on his anti-feminist ideas (he really says this). Cerebus is extremely old, in a lot of pain, argues with himself a lot and it takes him a long time to do simple things. Sim conveys this by spending the vast majority of the volume showing Cerebus complaining about his ailments, arguing with himself and doing simple things very slowly.
Sim attempts to explain physics, the atom and the creation of stars (which are the light/spirit couple's attempt to be like God and recreate the Big Bang) as being not just allegories of, but actual copies of God's spirit, some of whom are repenting and some of whom are not. It's a pretty good ending to the series, I'd say. The very very very end of the book is actually kind of an interesting event. The commentary at the end is pretty good, although Sim does his self-pitying heroic thing, which is tiring.
Once Cerebus wakes, its clear weve jumped on again from the end of Latter Days. The portrayal of the ancient Cerebus, wracked with pain and wandering in and out of coherence, is handled with terrific empathy, and no little artistic skill. Sheshep finally arrives, and outlines his vision to Cerebus. I think Dave steps up right at the last and knocks it out of the park on this one. For a month we all awaited the return of Cerebus The Barbarian, going down in one last blaze of glory. A ghost Cerebus emerges from his body, and gingerly taps away from the corpse (I like that the spirit is depicted in classic costume). Spirit Cerebus eagerly runs towards to the light (changing into his Rabbi costume along the way, which I did not welcome as much as the waistcoat and medallions) before realising that its not quite everyone. Theres a lot thats good about The Last Day that has stuck with me over the years, and some less good stuff that Id let slip. It is streets ahead of its dire predecessor, but its still a long way from the heights Cerebus previously reached.
The last volume of Cerebus, collecting issues 289 - 300 of the stellar independent series. Cerebus was truly the first breakout independent title, the first comic to go 300 issues with the same writer and artist (I think the only one to come close would be the 190 issues of G.I. Joe written by Larry Hama- and thats not including the artist). And while I lambasted the previous volume, I believe this one comes back on track. It opens with a forty page spread of a new revelation by Cerebus on the creation of the universe. He was called a religious nut and paranoid, but in the end Dave Sim seems to be right about what is coming. Shep-Shep as he is called hasnt been to see Cerebus in close to fifteen years, but the latter cannot remember why they parted. She is the reporter who is talking with Cerebus about his ideas on the Torah and his past with the prophet Rick. One of the interesting aspects here is that Shep-Sheps mother, New Joanne, has inserted herself into Cerebuss history, rewriting the events to give herself a prominent role. The light opens, the spirit of Cerebus sees all of the figures from the past, friend and foe, with one exception. The prophet and messianic figure for Cerebus's religion isn't present, which gives our antihero pause.
I quit reading Cerebus back around the time that Dave Sim developed his obsession with F. The Introduction and The Last Annotations bookend the collection, and serve as a sobering and uncomfortable reminder that in its entirety Cerebus is more than "just a comic book"; it's nearly 30 years of one man's life bled out onto thousands of pages in a monumental undertaking that required an obsessive committment to individualism at all costs. Cerebus has always been as much about Dave Sim the real person attempting to organize his thoughts and work through his problems in his own way as it has been about the adventures of a fictional cartoon aardvark, and like the man himself it has changed a lot over the years, entertaining, challenging, exasperating and infuriating readers far beyond what anyone would have expected back at the beginning.
It reads like a fever dream, and from Sim's backmatter, lettercols, and essays I get the feeling that he's totally sincere about all this, but it doesn't really matter because, structurally, a fundamentalist fever dream turns out to be a great way to conclude Cerebus' disjointed life. The art is beautiful, and the innovative storytelling is returned to the forefront of the comic's presentation, and Cerebus dies at the end, so basically Sim has come through on all of his promises.
The bulk of the narrative concentrates on the final day in the life of Cerebus himself, and long-time readers will find at least some emotional resonance in the final pages. But despite his personal shortcomings, the 300 collected issues of the series represent an astounding achievement in graphic narrative, all written and drawn by Sim. Though this concluding volume is not quite as resonant as one might hope after such a lengthy, creative series, Sim's cartooning genius shines through these panels and may persuade readers to ignore his personal opinions.
The Last Day begins with a 40 page sequence where Cerebus is dreaming the word of an Old Testament creator who is telling him the story of creation. Dave Sim created a one of a kind series with Cerebus.
Nothing is left of any of it except a dull bitterness at the time that was wasted trying to get some sense of worth out of these last few books. It ends quietly and without fanfare and we are left wondering what the hell happened and why. The reader as well is left bitter and alone at the end, wondering what ever happened to the story of an aardvark barbarian trying to make his way through a world.