Elric: The Balance Lost #3

A comic review article by: Ray Tate


Elric relates the story of a breach in the multiverse, and each avatar of the Eternal Champion, a concept created by Michael Moorcock in the '70s, tries to repair the damage before it swallows everything whole. The agents of law stand in the way of these practicers of chaos. In Moorcock's tomes, the law was the bad guy. That flies in the face of convention, but given the times in which he plied his trade, it's understandable how somebody can feel this way.

Elric: The Balance Lost #3

You may justly ask why the Lords and Ladies of Chaos are trying to repair damage to the multiverse and why their lawful counterparts engage in battle against them. Afterall isn't a repair the maintenance of order? Writer Chris Roberson isn't saying, but I have a suspicion that the breakdown of the multiverse will result in the uniformity of nothingness. Therefore the lawmen and women will score the ultimate victory over the variety of chaos. It's somewhat like the Time Lords' ultimate plan stopped by the Doctor in "The End of Time." The Time Lords saw an resolution to the Time War against the Daleks by ascending as pure intellect and laying waste to all matter. Talk about a scorched earth policy.

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Roberson introduces numerous realms to the non-Moorcock fan. In this sense Elric is like Kirby Genesis.However, the execution is far more precise, not to mention interesting. Roberson began the adventure with title character Elric. He then conveyed the idea of the Eternal Champion. Rather than drop all these avatars at once, Roberson built the cast one by one. Though the tale's split, each chapter mirrors the other. The faceless, armored police officers run by Beck's brother Garrison, a lawman, reflect the Order of the Fly in Dorian Hawkmoon's world and the Cult of the Single Arrow from Corum's lands. It's the same song and dance, but a different arrangement.

Elric: The Balance Lost #3

Elric and Sepiriz travel through an alternate New Orleans inhabited by bug people that foster reverse racism. Ideal angst for the albino Elric. Sepiriz proposes that they transverse the rest of the distance with a literal Meat Ship, disgustingly realized by artist Francesco Bagni. 

Eric Beck and O'Riley meet Colinda Dovero, bed companion to The Eternal Champion, who kept the sword that was and will be the entity known as Stormbringer. Stormbringer, incidentally, is not truly a sword. In the final Elric adventure, it becomes a creature that bids Elric farewell as he lays dying.

Corum and his friend Jhary ride the Splendid Mane "who can run as easily across sea and sky." Truly, Roberson captures the often poetic description Michael Moorcock honed and evolved in the Eternal Champion Cycle.

Elric: The Balance Lost #3

Hawkmoon and D'averc travel in an insectoid ornithopter to meet up with their comrade Paul Bewchard, blustery fellow that reminds one of Brian Blessed. Together they enter a tower's bowels where the Order of the Fly wear the heads of their namesakes to serve Beelzebub, the Lord of the Flies. Here again is a reversal of what's expected. The demons and devils of lore usually represent Chaos, but Roberson posits that what they want is their Order. Remember who created these hellions.

Elric: The Balance Lost #3

Unlike Kirby Genesis, Elric is a swell party. Blondie's playing in the background. There are lots of interesting, fashionable people dancing about and each has an intriguing anecdote to relate. The food's terrific, and you get to go home with a couple of pale blondes.

Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.

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