Elric: The Dreaming City #2. Based on the novel by Michael Moorcock. Adapted and Written by Julien Blondel & Jean-Luc Cano. Art by Julien Telo. Colors by Stephane Paitreau. Translated and Lettered by Jessica Burton.
Last issue, Elric took a quick trip to The Sleeping City. As one would expect from any adventure involving The White Wolf, things went a little off the rails, once they got there. The issue concluded with an encounter with Elric's old pal Arioch, chaos sword god and all round ne'er-do-well. So, it's safe to say, I was rather excited to see where things would go, in issue 2!
Issue 2 begins as issue 1 did, in a tavern. The same tavern, in fact. The same tavern ON the same day. During the very same conversation, nonetheless!
But this time, we get to see how it all ends, and the horrors that come after. Because where there's Elric, there's ALWAYS horrors.
It seems this is no casual cocktail party. This is a council of WAR! taking place six months after the adventures shown last issue; Elric and his stalwart comrade Smiordan are gathering allies, for the final assault on Melniboné!
But, when you're dealing with Elric, the question is never "Will we achieve victory, this day?" Nope, victory is not in question... The only question you need to ask, is: "How much will this victory cost us?"
And I hate to tell you this, friends. But the cost this time is going to be HIGH.
Elric: The Dreaming City #2 is a bit of an odd one. I had to check to make sure I was reading the right book, and if it wasn't for the fact it started off with an almost identical scene to issue 1, I honestly would have thought I'd picked up the wrong book.
The tale contained in this issue seemingly bears no relation to the tale told in issue 1. Except of course that they both tell tales of Elric and his constant misfortunes.
We get one brief mentioned of The Sleeping City, where they throw away the fact that everything from last issue occurred six months before this scene, which then leads into a fairly epic battle sequence, and seemingly concludes this tale. All the while, totally ignoring everything that was set up last time.
It would be really rather annoying, if it wasn't for one small but vitally important fact: While this story is all but disconnected from last issue, that doesn't negate the fact that it's a fantastic story, filled with all the ups, downs, action, and horror that we desire, when we pick up an Elric tale.
Elric is one of my favourite tragic heroes in fiction, because while he always seems to try his best, no matter how much he pushes, things always seem to fall apart.
This isn't a tale about a brave hero succeeding despite impossible odds, it's a tragedy in the tradition of the ancient Greeks, where we see our lead try their best, and still fail. It's not a story about how you can do anything if you set your mind to it, it's about how you cope when things DON'T end happily ever after.
And honestly, given how the world is right now, I think that's a lesson we all really need to learn.
Overall, Elric: The Dreaming City #2 is a grand tale that delivers everything you could want from some of the best dark fantasy ever written. Blondel and Cano continue to work wonders adapting Moorcock's epic prose, while Telo brings it all to life with stunning art that manages to bring the best out of the characters, making them look like heroes, even as they do the most terrible things.
If you want to revel in the glorious disaster for yourself, you can pick up a copy of Elric: The Dreaming City #2 on September 8th, from all good comic stockists or online! Enjoy!