And yet, he is a man conflicted, cursed with a conscience that will never let him forget those he sacrificed to Stormbringer, unwillingly or not. His inner turmoil is in marked contrast to the joyful violence he metes out in battle, and his frosty demeanor belies an ultimately lonely soul who, at one point, risks all for love. Despite a brooding, morose, and brutal nature, there are flashes of vulnerability in this dangerous warrior, particularly as evidenced through his friendship with his sidekick Moonglum. It’s the exchanges between these two, the spirited sense camaraderie and respect, that really grounds Elric, making his journey and ultimate end that much more tragic.
This new edition collects the author’s early works in the series, presenting them in the order in which they were first published though nevertheless offering a satisfying beginning, middle, and end to Elric’s epic tale. It also includes cover art by our friend John Picacio, James Cawthorn’s original artwork from those early publications, a foreword by Alan Moore, an early review, some essays and, most interestingly of all, an introduction by Michael Moorcock in which he sheds some light on his work, Elric, and the fantasy genre as a whole. It’s a great addition to any fan’s library (of which I am one) but I, of course, had the benefit of familiarity. I wonder how first-timers found this edition. Was it satisfying? Did the finality of the last story preclude the possibility of purchasing the second volume or did it, instead, instill a desire to “fill in the gaps”?
It’s been a while since I’ve read these stories, but I found them as engaging and fiercely imaginative as I did the first time around. An incredibly charismatic anti-hero, plenty of action, and a grand storyline – all set against a thrilling metaphysical backdrop. What more could you ask for?
So, those are my preliminary thoughts. What did everyone else think? Start weighing in with your opinion. I’ll be gathering questions for author Michael Moorcock until Wednesday, so start posting.