REVIEW: ‘Elric: The Eternal Champion Collection’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Elric The Eternal Champion

Elric: The Eternal Champion Collection is the sixth Michael Moorcock Library collection published by Titan Comics. Featuring two stories written by Michael Moorcock and adapted by legendary creators James Cawthorn and Phillipe Druillet. Having never been published together before, this is a perfect introduction to the world of sword and sorcery.

In the first half, we explore the story of Stormbringer. Named after the demon sword Elric so often wields, this story does not hesitate to spring into action and cannonball directly into the thick of mystic intrigue. In his sleep, Elric’s wife Zarozinia is carried away by chaotic beings in the middle of the night. Using alchemy, he asks the dead spirits for information on his wife’s whereabouts. With Zarozinia’s location discovered and Stormbringer in hand, Elric sets sail towards a war like no other.

Stormbringer transcends sword and sorcery and steps into the mythic levels of action, deceit, and deities. Our albino hero leaves no stone unturned in his perilous journeys, allowing Moorcock to thoroughly remove any normal constraints and make the stakes life or death, literally. No possibility is too farfetched, and no soul is left safe in the vicinity of the daemon blade. Not even Elric.

In the follow-up story, The Return to Melniboné, we see Elric return to his throne left in trust to his cousin, Yyrkoon, in his absence since his soul escaped him in the story. The grounds he returned to barely resembled the sacred land he left. His cousin notes the chaos blade still in Elric’s possession and leads him deeper into the newfound chambers he has created. Ignoring the premonitions he feels, Elric enjoys a moment of peace and romance before the beings of chaos ascend on him once again.

It should go without saying that Michael Moorcock’s writing is second to none. He is the eternal champion of sword and sorcery writing, and it is a treat to anyone interested in this genre to be able to access these collections. To see it adapted so well by James Cawthorn is especially gratifying. James Cawthorn truly encompassed the chaos in the battle fought by Elric and the bloody consequences that followed. His artwork is now the first thing that comes to mind when I think of bronze age sword and sorcery.

The latter story is a completely different artistic experience. Phillipe Druillet’s fully flexed his artistry in creating such massive, psychedelic monoliths and mind-bending imagery that dominates each page. This half of the collection flows faster due to each page having fewer panels and more large-scale artwork. Although the pages read faster, they are art museums themselves, with every available space in each drawing overflowing with detail.

My one gripe with this story would be the letters during the Stormbringer section of the collection. The letters themselves are beautifully drawn and resemble mythic runes on the page, but often they are stacked too close together and force the reader to reread certain passages. In the world of the Eternal Champion, we are constantly introduced to allies, foes, lands, and gods with unique names, so being able to fully discern those instances with clear lettering is a must.

Overall, Elric: The Eternal Champion Collection is a perfect introduction to one of the genre’s most revered heroes. For fans of Conan and other epic tales, prepare to follow the trail of souls emanating from the burning demon sword. The conquests of that fatal blade are just a small glimpse into the world of Melniboné’s albino antihero. Still, the colossal scale this story reaches is measurable only by a champion such as Elric! If you were looking for a sign to get into sword and sorcery, look no further.

Elric: The Eternal Champion Collection is available now wherever comics are sold.

Elric: The Eternal Champion Collection
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TL;DR

Overall, Elric: The Eternal Champion Collection is a perfect introduction to one of the genre’s most revered heroes. For fans of Conan and other epic tales, prepare to follow the trail of souls emanating from the burning demon sword. The conquests of that fatal blade are just a small glimpse into the world of Melniboné’s albino antihero. Still, the colossal scale this story reaches is measurable only by a champion such as Elric! If you were looking for a sign to get into sword and sorcery, look no further.