Thursday, 19 December 2013

‘Elric: The Balance Lost Volume 3’ – Roberson, Biagini (Boom! Studios)

One of the things that I really wanted to do with this blog was move slightly away from the new and shiny releases and concentrate on clearing the backlog on my shelves. That’s not to say that there isn’t a lot of ‘new and shiny’ on those shelves already but there’s also a load of other books that are worthy of mention too. The range of genre fiction out there is massive and it’s always worth stopping, every now and then, to appreciate just how much stuff is out there. I’m never going to read all of it but I reckon I’ll have fun trying.
‘The Balance Lost’ series kind of falls in between these two extremes then, being a very recent publication but also very much tying in to an older series of books that has influenced much of what you’ll read today. I’ve also got a ‘kind of resolution’ to finish series that I start and ‘The Balance Lost 3’ falls into that category as well (being the last volume in the series). It’s like I’m killing a number of birds with one stone here! So yeah, onto the book itself…

Following the events of the last two volumes (go and have a look for reviews of these in my old blog); Elric, Corum, Hawkmoon and Eric Beck have journeyed to another universe entirely to discover who has destroyed the Cosmic Balance. What awaits them there is beyond even the power of Elric’s black sword but can the Eternal Champions combine one last time to defeat this menace? While this titanic battle is being fought, it is Eric Beck’s final showdown with his brother that will have more bearing on the fate of the Multiverse itself…

If you’re a long term reader of the ‘Eternal Champion’ books then you won’t be surprised by the direction this book takes, a direction that Moorcock himself has followed more than once. This lack of surprise is countered though by a beautiful rendition of the ‘Three in One’ by Biagini whose artwork seems to getting more simplistic and straightforward as the series progresses. Having said that though, what Biagini’s art lacks in complexity is more than made up for in the way that he conveys a sense of sheer scale in the scale of the final battle itself and in the size of certain participants. Some of the panels are amazing in this respect. The story itself will be familiar to long term fans (perhaps a little too familiar?) but Roberson balances this out with a surprise appearance from a couple of favourites, a nice twist at the end and a real ability to tie the whole multiverse together with a few strategically placed panels. ‘The Balance Lost 3’ is a very short book (the big reason why I don’t have an awful lot to say about it…) but those few little mentions here and there make it seem like there’s far more to it.

The twist at the end was a good way to round off the series and ‘The Balance Lost’, as a whole, is a worthy chapter in the life and times of Elric. Now I just need to find copies of the ‘Stormbringer’ comic (much easier said than done I think) and ‘The Making of a Sorcerer’ for my collection to be complete(ish).

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