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ADVANCE REVIEW: Elric: The Balance Lost #2

Posted: Tuesday, August 2, 2011
By: Danny Djeljosevic

Chris Roberson
Francesco Biagini, Stephen Downer (c), Travis Lanham (l)
BOOM! Studios
ADVANCE REVIEW! Elric: The Balance Lost #2 will come out on August 3, 2011.

Comics need to be more fucking bonkers than they are. Movies are kicking our ass despite being at least 10,000% more poorly written and 50,000% less imaginative. These filmmakers, they're capable of doing pretty decent superhero movies and these days. They can adapt Lord of the Rings now, y'now. We gotta step our shit up or we'll get eaten alive.

Elric: The Balance Lost #2 is fucking bonkers. I know this because the issue opens with your basic "we must discuss the disorder in the universe" scene in a castle that twists around itself like a pained, misshapen tree, but one of the two amazingly mismatched characters is a tall, pale elf in a flowing robe, while the other is a devil-may-care lookin' pilot, representing something called the League of Temporal Adventurers. The details, the specificity make all the difference. That's why we like Grant Morrison comics -- because he bothers to think characters through to the point where they're distinct.

And then Elric continues his battle with the giant chimera-like creature with, among other details, a venus flytrap for tits and the gaping, toothy maw of a wolf for a vagina. This shit right here? This is what I'm talking about. I don't care whether Michael Moorcock or Chris Roberson game up with it -- all I know is that it's an outrageous monster happening on the comics page, drawn with furor and fluidity by Francesco Biagini. If Guillermo del Toro saw this, he'd think, "Fuck, I gotta step up my fucking game!" and rearrange the eyeballs on his newest monstrosity Look, Guillermo is foul-mouthed, alright?

Chris Roberson is a good guy; he doesn't skimp out on the content of Elric. Instead, he jumping around among the four antagonists of the book, spending a decent amount of time on all of them yet fully aware that every scene needs a giant horse or a shot of the multiverse or a giant rideable bird to spice things up. As someone unfamiliar with Moorcock, I don't know how much is him and how much is Roberson, but Roberson doesn't let his fandom get in the way of telling a story that's accessible to the uninitiated as well as the obsessives who are probably having nerd boners at the sight of stuff that I'm just regular impressed with.

Thankfully, Roberson and Biagini spend but a handful of scenes on the earthbound Eric Beck, fully aware that pretty much anything else in a fantasy comic is more interesting than Earth. Instead of weighting the story down, the Earth scenes only serve to further spice up the proceedings. I think that's due to a lack of overexposure, more than anything, considering in the page after an Eric scene we get man-eating skyscrapers. At least Eric is set to get a sword next issue.

I've pretty much been onboard with Elric since the Free Comic Book Day issue, but at this point I'm starting to feel like Chris Roberson is writing this comic as an Invisibles-like art-message to me: "Go check out some Michael Moorcock. It will make your head explode."

Or maybe I'm just as crazy as the comic I'm reviewing.

Ray Tate also reviewed Elric: The Balance Lost #2. Read his thoughts, too!

Danny Djeljosevic is a comic book writer, award-winning filmmaker (assuming you have absolutely no follow-up questions), film/music critic for Spectrum Culture and Co-Managing Editor of Comics Bulletin. Follow him on Twitter as @djeljosevic or find him somewhere in San Diego, often wearing a hat. Read his newest comic, "Sgt. Death and his Metachromatic Men," over at Champion City Comics.

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