By: Chris Roberson (writer), Francesco Biagnini (artist), Stephen Downer (colorist), Shannon Watters (assistant editor), Matt Gagnon (editor), Michael Moorcock (creator)
The Story: Eric, a game designer, dreams he’s an albino sorceror prince called Elric, travelling through worlds overrun by chaos. At the same time, on another world, Hawkmoon, a retired warrior, finds out that an ancient enemy may be returning. Simultaneously, Corum, last prince of the Vadhagh, returns home to find a deathless companion in a tight spot. A war is brewing between war and chaos and Eric is at the center of it.
What’s Good: This series is for Elric fans, but also of Moorcock’s not-as-famous-but-still-quite-awesome other creations such as Prince Corum. Roberson captures the feel of Elric and even Corum (who, in my mind, is a more subtle character, and tougher to encapsulate). Roberson is ably assisted by Biagnini who has tough shoes to fill, as this is not the first time that Moorcock’s genius has been brought to comics. Many artists have tried to depict Moorcock’s spooky, eerie, unstable multiverse, most notably P. Craig Russell, but Biagnini brings the chaotic madness to life in not only to the plane where Elric is trapped (check out some of the monstrosities and the dismemberments), but the Corum’s supposedly normal homecoming, where the horror is not in the monsters, but in the behavior of the decrepit humans.
I think that Roberson launched issue #1 with momentum, as we have the mystery of the connectedness of Corum, Elric, Hawkmoon and Eric to unravel and each of these four is facing an impending disaster. The dialogue is tight, and changes style for each character: cynical and tense for Eric, noble and understated for Corum, bitterly self-aware for Elric, warmly familial for Hawkmoon and rabidly fascist for Garrison Bow (Eric’s brother). And while we don’t have all the information we want, Roberson delivers what we need, so our questions will pull us back for issue #2.
What’s Not So Good: Biagnini did some beautiful and eerie work for Elric walking between the planes, and on the monsters, but I didn’t buy all of the facial expressions and all of the character poses. There seemed to be very little range to the expressions, and that held back the reality of what was on the page. There was also an element of artificiality, as if some of the angles or proportions were slightly off. Moreover, I was wondering whether some additional shadowing would have given a little more texture and depth to some of the panels. On the writing, there was only one thing missing, but it’s an important piece. I didn’t find myself rooting for anyone yet. Elric and Eric, a pair of cynical, bitter men, are anti-heroes who are not easy to like right off the bat. And Corum and Hawkmoon, two of Moorcock’s more sympathetic unwilling heroes, weren’t seen enough for me to feel invested. For this reason, despite an impending menace for each, I wasn’t on the edge of my seat as I should have been.
Conclusion: BOOM! has delivered a fine offering for Moorcock fans. This was a strong enough opening that I (as a Moorcock fan) will be back for issue #2 and will decide then if I stick with the series.
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