|March 1980: The Walls of Palnu|
|Writer & Artist||Dave Sim|
After a harrowing journey by sea, Cerebus reaches the city-state of Palnu. As a reward for rescuing his son, Lord Julius hires Cerebus as chief of security but gives him the title of Kitchen Staff Supervisor. As Julius explains, "When you're running a bureaucracy, the best way to safeguard your job is to make sure you're the only one who knows how the whole thing works." Cerebus's main duty is to prevent Julius's assassination, and he must perform this duty without assistance.
A group of municipal delegates arrives. Julius asks them to provide soldiers to meet an expected attack by Onliu. When they refuse, he states his intention to assign them to the Onliu border as advisers. They quickly reverse their position.
Cerebus has his own room in the Trade Center. Nothing happens for several weeks. At a state dinner, someone dies of poison. Cerebus identifies it as pentazin from Eshnosopur and finds the only shop that might sell it: Giepie's. He confronts Giepie, who flees. Cerebus watches the shop for three days and speculates that there might be a conspiracy. He sees a man sneak inside, leave with a valise, and go to the Trade Center. The man knocks on what looks like an ordinary bare wall, but a secret door opens to admit him.
Cerebus returns with a unit of soldiers. They round up the rebels, except for one whom Cerebus chases out a window and onto the ledges of the Trade Center. Cerebus corners the rebel outside the room of Lord Julius, who joins in a discussion about Cerebus's allegiances: he sells himself to the highest bidder, and currently that is Lord Julius. The rebel wrestles with Cerebus. His larger size begins to tell, but Cerebus uses his Earth-Pig Snout Punch to unbalance his foe. The man falls to his death in the street. Lord Julius is then treated to Cerebus's wet fur smell.
- Cerebus (last seen in Silverspoon story; next appearance in issue 15)
- Lord Julius (first regular series appearance; last seen in Silverspoon story; next appearance in issue 15)
- Lord Julius' Social Secretary (first appearance; next appearance in issue 15)
- representatives from Avers, Cihnu, Eniath, Jyclew, and Parmoc
- Giepie, a merchant
- several rebels
- Onliu -- shares a border with Palnu
- Serrea -- mentioned as the source of the quote "When the drunkard speaks, the sober man learns much."
- Eshtannin wilderness -- apparently supplies cinnamon
- Eshnosopur -- source of the toxin
Swords of Cerebus, volume 4, introduction to issue 14
"I remembered while reading the three Palnu issues what an immense task I had set for myself doing what was essentially a sixty-page story. At the time I tended not to see the book in terms of being one very long continuity. I was striving to hold to a reasonably fixed view of Estarcion, chafing at the constraints that course imposed. Many was the time I would be tempted to go ahead with a bit of funny business that contradicted the major continuity I was forming in my head. I appreciate the effort more in retrospect than I did at the time and I'm often surprised at some slightly twisted turn of phrase that hints at concepts I've begun to develop more fully in the last year or so. This was definitely the point where my awareness of Estarcion as a major fixture ... almost a central character ... in the story began to develop even more rapidly. I still have maps that my brother-in-law Michael had drawn up of the geography and cartography of Estarcion. Where possible I try to adhere to them and I have amplified them a great deal in the last few years."
- With this issue, Cerebus begins appearing monthly instead of bimonthly, and the page count goes from twenty-two to twenty.
- This story is the first part of what becomes known as The Palnu Trilogy.
- (page 1) The first narration box covers the events of the Silverspoon story, which takes place between issues 13 and 14. It ran at about this time in the Buyer's Guide for Comic Fandom.
- (page 3) Several cities--Parmoc, Cihnu, Avers, Eniath, and Jyclew--have sent delegates to meet with Julius. The names might be inside jokes or anagrams.
- (page 5) This is Cerebus's first visit to Palnu.
- (page 5) Lord Julius's titles include Grandlord Supreme, Baron of the House of Tavers, Right Honourable Prime Minister of Palnu, President of Parmoc, and Count of Cihnu. It's possible that he has titles in Avers, Eniath, and Jyclew that sound similarly impressive. The text makes clear that these titles mean nothing in themselves; they are sold as tokens of wealth and status.
- (page 7) The "Giepie Import and Export" sign is a parody of the "Geppi's Comic World" logo, a comic book store chain. Giepie the importer does not appear to be a parody of Steven Geppi, the chain's founder, though.
- (page 9) Neafon the Great is cited as the source of a quote but not apparently used again.
- (page 16) Cerebus says, "if the price was right, he [Cerebus] would follow a wood faerie in a religious crusade against the Onliu." Is it possible that the Regency Elf is such a fairy?
- (page 17) Lord Julius says "How dare you, suh!" Suh is not a name, it's an exaggerated accent on, or drawling pronunciation of, the word sir.
- (page 20) Cerebus says, "Cerebus agrees with him. You can't keep this city running if no one works." Him apparently refers to the man he just killed, but the man said no such thing. This is a case of Sim referring to background that he has developed but failed to present to the reader.