Monday, 30 January 2012

‘Elric: The Balance Lost’ #1 – Roberson & Biagini (Boom! Studios)

A bit of a shorter post than normal for those of you who turn up on a Monday to hear me moan about being in the office of a morning. No job equals no office to be in so things are a little jauntier today; I’m also feeling good because I’ve spent the last couple of days poring over a comic that I’d completely forgotten was on the shelves last year. Thank goodness for reprints or, in this case, other comics on the shelf that hid this one.

I had my eyes open for the ‘Balance Lost’ series, last year, so I don’t know how it passed me by. Perhaps it was the mention of it being written by Chris Roberson, I’ve never finished a book of his that I’ve started so I wasn’t exactly filled with confidence when I heard that he had control of the reins. Turns out I was mistaken; ‘The Balance Lost’ looks like it could well be another title to collect in trade format.

The set up is a familiar one especially if, like me, you’ve read the ‘Chronicles of Castle Brass’. The Cosmic Balance is threatened across the Multiverse and three incarnations of the Eternal Champion are slowly being summoned to combat whatever is behind the collapse. In our world a games designer, Eric Beck, dreams nightly of events taking place in other dimensions. What is his connection to the three Champions and are his dreams about to become reality…?

‘The Balance Lost’ #1 runs very much along the lines of setting everything up whilst giving nothing away of what the future holds in store. This approach verges on the tedious although I understand that this series is going to be a long running one so maybe taking one issue to set things up is understandable. I think what this is all about is catering to readers who aren’t all that familiar with Moorcock’s work and I guess that’s far enough really. You might want to bear that in mind though if you’re a long term fan.

Roberson makes up for all this though with the situation that he throws Elric into the middle of; you know Elric will escape but it’s set up as such that I really want to find out just how he does it. It’s also good to meet Dorian Hawkmoon (who is fast becoming a favourite Champion of mine) and Corum again and have certain gaps, in their history, filled in. the introduction of Eric Beck isn’t going to raise any serious questions amongst long term fans but the sub-plot with his brother looks like it could have some real potential. I want to see how it plays out in terms of echoing certain stories, of the Multiverse, that have already been told.

Francesco Biagini’s art kind of crept up on me when I was least expecting it. It started off looking a little too ‘Marvel’ for my liking but Biagini’s depictions of the raw stuff of Chaos really catch the eye. His portrayal of the Champions is a little more hit and miss though. Elric looks a little too cartoonish although his final panel really captures the essence of the Pale Prince. Hawkmoon though… I saw him and felt straight away that this was the man I had been reading about., Biagini captured him perfectly (war weary yet noble) as far as I was concerned.

‘The Balance Lost’ looks like it could be a series worth following then. A quick look on Amazon sees that Volume Two will be out in July, has anyone else been reading this series?

Eight out of Ten

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