BOOK REIVEW: ELRIC VOLUME 1: THE RUBY THRONE / AUTHOR: MICHAEL MOORCOCK, JULIEN BLONDEL, DIDIER POLI, ROBIN RECHT, JEAN BASTIDE / PUBLISHER: TITAN COMICS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
The Ruby Throne is the first volume of a French comic book adaptation of Michael Moorcock’s Elric stories. The adaption is written by Julien Blondel, with art by Dider Poli, Robin Recht and Jean Bastide. It is a thin hardback, lavishly illustrated.
For those who don’t know, Elric is Michael Moorcock’s famous albino sorcerer, an aspect of his Eternal Champion who wielded the sword Stormbringer and was subject of many stories in the 1960s and 70s. Over the years many artists have interpreted Elric visually; this latest project is a collaboration of French artists and has Michael Moorcock’s full blessing. Indeed, he writes a foreword praising this as the best realisation to date.
For those familiar with the original stories, this covers the early days on Melniboné, Elric’s love for Cymoril, and the treachery of his cousin Yrkoon. It sets out the decadence and corruption of Elric’s race as they hide away from the world in their city, with him as their Emperor. These are the last days of Empire and the city is attacked by various barbarians, allowing us the chance to see Elric as both a warrior and a sorcerer. The character portrayed is well realised if not quite the figure from memories of stories read forty years ago.
In terms of style, the first part of The Ruby Throne does focus on the shocking and the debauched, but once the action commences, and Yrkoon appears on the scene, the visuals are frequently stunning and really support the telling of the story of the doomed Emperor. The action sweeps the reader away and ends leaving you waiting for the next volume.This is a very good interpretation of the story that works as a comic and heralds what might become the definitive visual version of these tales. For long-term fans, we suspect that it will also remind people to go back to the originals. For those new to the character this is a thorough introduction – welcome to the tale of Eternal Champion!
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