|Oct 1981: Chasing Cootie|
|Writer & Artist||Dave Sim|
After the Moon Roach kills Holland M. Hadden (last issue), Cerebus chases him over the rooftops to an apartment. There Cerebus meets Astoria, who relates a story about how the Roach came into her life and how she tried to stabilize his multiple personalities (Moon Roach and Kevitch) by creating a new one, Artemis Strong, who would balance out and ground the others. She convinces him not to turn in the Moon Roach for murder. Instead he takes the costume, without which Strong can't become the Moon Roach--according to Astoria.
Cerebus heads back to the Regency. The ranking diplomat from Eshnosopur, Luzzo, stops him to warn him about the Inquisition. Hadden, it seems, was a "ward" of the Pope. The Inquisition is about to ask Cerebus if he received a contract from Hadden, which would be motive for killing him. Cerebus has such a contract (obtained last issue), which puts him in a bind. If he does not produce the contract, he will still owe the prime minister 29,000 crowns. If he does, the Inquisition will try him for murder. He tells the two priests that he has no such contract. CRUNK! They, like Hadden, are obliterated by a giant stone crescent.
Another rainy rooftop chase ensues. Moon Roach escapes by making a superhuman leap to "the outer rampart." Cerebus returns to Astoria's apartment but finds it empty. Back in his suite at the Regency, Cerebus decides that what he needs most is money. "If Cerebus was rich, he could start buying his way out of these problems. ... From now on, Cerebus intends to be taken seriously." The Elf begins laughing at him, although the reason seems to be his hair--she calls him Fluffy.
- Cerebus (last seen in issue 30; next appearance in issue 32)
- Astoria (last seen in "What Happened Between Issues Twenty & Twenty-One"; next appearance in issue 32)
- The Moon Roach (last seen in issue 30; next appearance in issue 32)
- Elf (last seen in issue 30; next appearance in issue 32)
- Luzzo, ranking diplomatic representative from Eshnosopur
- two Inquisition priests
In this issue's Aardvark Comment, Sim admits, "There is indeed too little information" about the background. He goes on to reveal information about the T'Gitan invasion, the source of Palnu's wealth, and how the Palnu bureaucracy works.
- Astoria, like the character played by Mary Astor in The Maltese Falcon, tells the truth only when it suits her purposes. The reader later learns that almost everything she says in this issue is a lie. It is unclear if she is aware of the connection between Cockroach and Cirin.
- Cockroach's "Moon Roach" persona is a parody of Marvel Comics' Moon Knight, whose own series had debuted in 1980 (he was created in 1975). Interestingly enough, a few years after this issue, the actual Moon Knight was revealed to have a second personality living inside his body.
- Holland M. Hadden's last appearance was last issue, but clearly he is a rather important figure in this issue.
- Apparently one of the Inquisitors is actually the Grand Inquisitor, although this is not hinted at until Issue 37.
- (page 3) Astoria's description of Moon Roach ("darknight caped crusader") is a reference to two of Batman's nicknames--Dark Knight and Caped Crusader.
- (page 5) "houseplants and antique draperies" - a callback to Issue 22.
- (page 5) At the end of her tale, Astoria says, "It felt, Artemis said, like he was having an origin." Possibly a pun on "orgasm".
- (pages 8-9) It's a nice effect how the first panels on these pages share the same continuous background.
- (pages 9-10) The package containing the Roach's costume vanishes after the Inquisitors are crushed. Cerebus has it under his arm in the last panel on page 9, but it is never seen or referred to again. The reader may infer that it was an illusion.
- (page 10) Luzzo's remark, "This is going to complicate matters somewhat," is an understatement; the Grand Inquisitor's power rivals that of the Pope, and his death will cause a chain of events that will lead to the Exodus Inward, which will in turn lead to a collapse of Iest's economy.
- (page 11) Kevitch provides a second origin, which may contradict or complement the one earlier provided by Astoria. This one is similar to that of Robin from DC Comics.
- (page 15) The rampart has carved heads in the Black Tower style.
- (page 16) The Elf is trying on Cerebus's medallions, last seen when he entered the hotel in Issue 26. Either the Elf can't smell or she's immune to the smell of wet aardvark, because she never mentions it.
- This issue includes an announcement that Cerebus will no longer carry Unique Stories, a backup feature showcasing new artists. A similar feature will return to the book later.
- p12: Cerebus to Moonroach: "Why are you running? Cerebus just wants to kill you a little."