Comic Review: Elric, Vol. 1: The Ruby Throne

Elric Vol. 1: The Ruby Throne
Written by Julien Blondel
Illustrated by Didier Poli and Robin Recht
Colored by Jean Bastide
Lettered by Gabriela Houston
Titan Comics
Release Date: September 16, 2014
Cover Price: $12.99

As a fantasy enthusiast, I’ve always had a certain curiosity about Michael Moorcock‘s Elric of Melnibone stories, though I’ve never given them the time they deserve. With Titan Comic’s new graphic novel adaptation, Elric: The Ruby Throne, written by Julien Blondel, I thought it a perfect opportunity to finally delve into the world of the albino emperor; and I am not disappointed.

When Elric of Melnibone hesitantly sets out with his army to vanquish would-be intruders of his realm, he is betrayed in shocking fashion. Will he survive the venture, and if so, what will the deceit and prejudices against him for Elric to become?

Blondel’s story, as noted by creator Michael Moorcock in his passionate foreword in the beginning of the graphic novel, sets out to be a highly faithful adaptation of the novel series. The central conflict is ripe with philosophical and moral dilemmas, second only in execution to the characters who live and die within the disgustingly depraved city of Imrryr. Age-old quandaries regarding superiority of race and lust for power drive the story to a beautifully sorrowful dénouement.

Artists Robin Recht and Didier Poli, and colorist Jean Bastide, bring the epic tale of this shameless kingdom to life through grand views of the realm and vivid battles. Dark shades of red, gold, and grey fill the pages, helping to showcase magnificently tall depictions of the royalty, clothed in splendor, as well as the naked and dirty slaves and commoners.

The story can be very hard to read at times, especially when understanding that the gruesome and vile actions and events that take place in this graphic novel have happened in our own world in the past, and in some cases, still to this day; however, this is what intrigues me about Elric. It’s a raw and gritty story where all of the characters do questionable things; but there seems to be some hope – and I can latch onto that hope as much as the titular character can.

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