Titan’s collection of the Elric comic book stories continues in this second volume, The Sailor on the Seas of Fate, another lavish adaptation of the novels by Michael Moorcock. Anyone who hasn't read the first volume would be advised to do so; we're dropped straight into the action and rejoin Elric alone, having left behind those he loves and a would-be usurper in charge of his kingdom. He's done so in order to learn more of the Young Kingdoms, but fate has something else in store for him.
Anyone who's read Moorcock will know what to expect, but those who've only met the albino warrior in his comic book form, the story may feel very different from what has gone before. The inner turmoil that made Elric so interesting is pushed to one side in favour of a more traditional quest adventure. This being Moorcock, there's more to it, as Elric joins the other Eternal Champions of the author’s creation to battle great evil that threatens not just Elric’s world, but the entire universe and all the dimensions that exist within in. It's a glorious concept, one that's ideally suited for comic-book interpretation, allowing the artists to have a field day with unconventional panel layouts and colours that border on the psychedelic.
Yet, Elric himself seems to lose something. He initially feels little more than a pawn, drifting on fate’s whim, and gone is the inner turmoil that makes him so interesting. Instead, he can only react to the events and situations that surround him, rather than drive them. Elric fans will rightly argue that’s the point of the story, but it sacrifices much in the way of its main protagonist. This improves as the story continues, however, and the familiar more tortured anti-hero returns.
All in all, it's another excellent collection that comes across as a genuine team effort, with all involved clearly loving what they're doing. Packed with images that stay with the reader long after the final page, it's a wonderful, almost dreamlike showcase of what can be done with the comic-book format. The third volume can't come soon enough.
THE MICHAEL MOORCOCK LIBRARY VOL. 2 – ELRIC: SAILOR OF THE SEAS / WRITER: ROY THOMAS / ARTIST: MICHAEL T. GILBERT, P. CRAIG RUSSELL / PUBLISHER: TITAN COMICS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW