Elric Volume 2 – Stormbringer (Michael Moorcock’s Elric) by Robin Recht, Julien Blondel and Didier Poli (graphic novel review).
‘Elric Volume 2 – Stormbringer (Michael Moorcock’s Elric), the second volume of the latest incarnation of Elric by Julien Blondel and friends is as accomplished as the first, Elric: Volume 1: The Ruby Throne’, and clearly a labour of love for all concerned. The artistic team has changed slightly as Didier Poli only drew the first twelve pages here but newcomer Julien Telo and Robin Recht, who inked the first issue, have kept the look about the same. There’s a note by the creators at the back for those who need more information. At the front, there’s an interesting preface by Alan Moore, entitled ‘Reflections In A Pink Eye’, in which his eminence dishes out a few thoughts on Elric’s history in graphic art form. In between are forty-six pages of magnificent sword and sorcery story in which the ancient, evil Melnibonéans who ruled the world for ten thousand years venture into the young kingdoms where mere humans reside.
Mad passionate love is what it’s about really. The mad passionate love of Elric for Cymoril that makes him chase his evil cousin Yyrkoon over land and sea when that wretch kidnaps her. Luckily, the sea god Straasha gifts Elric The Ship which sails over land and sea. It turns out not to sail so well over land but I don’t want to give away the plot. The albino’s other ally is the chaos lord Arioch, manifesting as a beautiful youth, who gives him the sword, Stormbringer. If you don’t know about Stormbringer you’re obviously new to Elric and I won’t spoil it for you.
I suspect most readers of this adaptation won’t be new to Elric, just old fans like me who like to see him in a different medium. This very graphic novel – as in graphic sex and graphic violence – does bring it home quite viscerally that Elric isn’t very nice. He never was exactly cuddly but the authors here have added an incident to make him even less so. I’m not sure it works as one’s hero should be at least a little sympathetic. Elric’s problem was meant to be that he was not as cruel as other Melnibonéans and that’s why Yyrkoon was contemptuous of him. The plot also skips a few incidents and artefacts found in the prose version and while the ending is essentially the same, the tone of it is different.
It’s an interesting adaptation of the original story. Michael Moorcock said it was the best in his intro to volume one. Alan Moore says it’s the best in his intro to this one because it captures the ‘pulp-paced dynamism’ of Moorcock‘s writing whereas other versions have emphasised the ‘luscious imagery’. Older now, I slightly prefer the luscious imagery to the blood and guts but this is a first rate book all the same.
(pub: Titan Books. 64 page graphic novel hardback. Price: £10.99 (UK), $14.99 (US), $16.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-178276-125-9)
check out website: www.titanbooks.com