|August 1980: She-Devil in the Shadows|
|Writer & Artist||Dave Sim|
Meanwhile, in Seaf, Lord Gorce meets with that state's ruler, Commander Sarte. Gorce intends to defeat the T'Gitans, return to Palnu with his army, and oust Lord Julius, the current ruler. Sarte promises to loan his troops to Gorce in return for "a few small ... favors." We learn that Gorce has other plans, but they do not include Sarte.
Cerebus negotiates with the duke of Agerden, who will give Cerebus pikemen and cavalry in exchange for the jewels. There's a catch: Cerebus must bring him the twin of a golden owl that is among the jewelry. Good news: the current owner, Hortne, lives in the cellar of the Brugel Arms Tavern in Togith. Bad news: no one has returned alive from that cellar in the last three weeks.
Cerebus goes into the cellar. He thinks he sees Red Sophia (who last appeared in issue 10), but she attacks him as if possessed. He barely holds his own and, when he notices a door, escapes through it.
"Meanwhile, somewhere in Palnu" ... A man from the Palnu Crisis Board of Impeachment Inquiry has an audience with Lord Julius. Before he can even ask Julius to step down, Julius goes on the offensive. The man leaves, fearing for his life, and Julius thinks, "If they're all that gullible I should be able to hold out for years."
Behind the door Cerebus finds Henrot, father of Sophia. The woman outside is actually Geet-A, Henrot's magical clone of Sophia, who is currently serving as his gatekeeper: "This is the longest period of uninterrupted work I've managed since I was sixteen." Learning that Henrot's Gerbies feed on emotion, Cerebus gets the owl and sics the Gerbies on Geet-A so that he can leave.
After completing their deal with Agerden, Cerebus and Graus stop at Perce's parlor for their gear. She pours some wine ... Cerebus offers himself a cupful ... Cerebus passes out ....
- Cerebus (last seen in issue 18; next appearance in issue 20)
- Geet-A (only appearance)
- Graus (last seen in issue 18; final appearance)
- Henrot (last seen in issue 3; next appearance in issue 45), using the name Hortne
- Lord Gorce (last seen in issue 18; final appearance)
- Harker, aide to Lord Gorce
- Lord Julius (last seen in issue 18; next appearance in issue 35)
- Perce (first appearance; next appearance in issue 20)
- Commander Sarte, head of Seaf (only appearance)
- Griselda and other assorted Gerbies
- Prince Shomber, mentioned by Gorce
"This is when the story started to get a little weird. I'd like to apologize to all of you right now who had been reading Cerebus since the first issue and picked up 19, 20, 21 and 22 and figured someone must have slipped something in your drinking water.... Anyway, I started building the cornerstones for all this intrigue in this issue with Perce (she's not really a prostitute, but I won't go into that now). It was eventually to lead to my decision to do High Society in an attempt to frame a larger context for the story and find some way to address all the intrigues and power struggles at once. As I write this, I am half-way through issue 50 and it contains only one helpful line of dialogue. I tried to explain the problem a while ago by explaining that most of the factors involved are secret societies -- to put it in a more modern context, it is like a secret cell of Soviet spies in the U.S. government hiring North Vietnamese and Cuban infiltrators to find out if the Red Chinese embassy in Japan is really spying for the Lithuanians in an attempt to find out if the KGB was behind the plot to kill the Pope and hire more Afghanistan refugees to double-check the rumours about the John Birch Society joining forces with the Mafia to break the stranglehold the Teamsters have on the underground network of solidarity supporters in Moose Jaw. Come to think of it, three hundred issues might not be enough. ... I wanted to show that Lord Julius (like Elrod) always lands on his feet and that (unlike Elrod) it is as a result of his own sense of political timing and manipulation of the resources at hand, even if that's just his own imagination (as seen by page twelve). It was my way of indicating that he was to be taken seriously by the reader even though his earlier appearances painted him as an incompetent. After all, a leader who is perceived as incompetent is more likely to be under-estimated by potential rivals. The impact of his endless successes, domestically and in other parts of Estarcion can be seen in High Society. 'Nothing succeeds like success' as the saying goes." --Swords of Cerebus, volume 5, introduction to issue 19
- Geet-A is a parody of Frank Thorne's character Ghita, who bears a strong resemblance to his version of Red Sonja. Hortne and Henrot, obviously, are anagrams of Thorne.
- (page 4) "achievement" is misspelled as "achievment."
- (pages 6, 8, 20) In text passages at the tops of these pages, Cerebus tells Graus, in painful detail, to stay where he is and the consequences of not doing so.
- (page 16) According to Henrot, Geet-A has "hacked up two bill collectors, two encyclopedia salesmen, and my ex-wife." If this is the same ex-wife as Mrs. Henrot-Gutch (whom we'll see in Issue 57), she might be expected to have survived.
- It's more likely, though, that Henrot has two or more ex-wives.
- (page 18) Henrot claims he used the original owl for a spell. What he gives Cerebus is a duplicate that will only last six months.
- Six months in the future is around Issue 26.
- (page 19) In a visual gag, one of the Gerbies rushing out to feed on Geet-A's anger is holding a fork and knife. These creatures all have the appearance of aquatic creatures; they blow bubbles out of their mouths while they are "feeding," giving the impression that they are underwater (or partly in another, watery dimension).