By: Chris Roberson (writer), Francesco Biagini (artist), Stephen Downer (colorist), Michael Moorcock (creator)

The Story: It’s hard to call this a story. It was more of a prologue and introduction to the world of Elric, for free, courtesy of BOOM! Studios on free comic book day. Elric is lost in some sort of planar waste, and is delivered a call to action by an agent of balance in the form of a crow.

The Review: I am an Elric fan and the more I reread Moorcock, the more I realize what a powerful influence he was on my writing. His concept of the eternal hero, as well as the concepts of the albino prince with the cursed sword, the fifteen planes of existence, the Lords of Law and Chaos, are all top shelf, first class fantasy ideas. I don’t think that Moorcock’s ideas have really permeated fantasy, in that many other authors are inheriting them or reacting to them, but I think that this is because his worlds and universes are so dark, original and disturbing. For that reason, I am absolutely thrilled that BOOM! is doing Elric. He’s perfect for the serial medium form of comics.

What BOOM! offers us here is not much of a story, but a teaser. A mature, jaded Elric, the albino sorcerer, is lost elsewhere and else when, and can’t get home. Fortunately, he is attacked, providing souls for his cursed vampiric sword to consume so that it may strengthen him enough to cast a spell to go home. However, the Lords of Law and Chaos, never far from Elric, beckon him through an agent. Elric has a choice. Roberson uses this as an opportunity to introduce readers to Moorcock’s multiverse and the various forms of the eternal champion. It’s a taste, but it left me eager for more.

Why? Well, Biagini captured the visual flavor of Elric in the tall, black-leathered albino who kills with such heartlessness (Elric is, after all, one of fantasy’s finest anti-heroes). The setting is properly desolate and haunting and the black crow disturbingly evocative and texturally complex, right down to the scars on its beak. The magic and blood and gore evoke the power and the savagery of Elric as well. On the writing side, Roberson gave us a lot of words, but I don’t think he overstayed his welcome. The multiverse and the eternal heroes are complicated, but fascinating and need the space Roberson took not only for the explanation, but for the setting of a mood as stark as that shown by the art.

Conclusion: I’m not going to make a buy/don’t buy recommendation on a free book, but I definitely recommend picking up Elric #1 in July based on this prologue.

Grade: B+

-DS Arsenault

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