Abandoned to their own devices after exiting the living ship Spammer Gain, the four heroes of this latest saga of the Eternal Champion Cycle are left facing the forces of two armies and two elements of the Multiverse.
If you havenâ€™t been reading, this comic series is but the latest installment of Michael Moorcockâ€™s Eternal Champion cycle and features several incarnations of the Champion: Dorian Hawkmoon, Corum Jhaelen Irsei, a new incarnation (created for this comic) named Eric Beck and, of course, the titular Elric himself, who have joined forces to restore the Balance, lost as the forces of Law and Chaos battle for supremacy. Whichever one wins, the result would be disastrous.
The last couple issues of this book have been slow, mostly explanations of the workings of Moorcockâ€™s Multiverseâ€™s unique take on physics and the interweaving of the various planes of reality. Interspersed with this has been a bit of back story on some of the characters and their feelings about the collapse of all reality.
The current issue is somewhat similar, but centers around the four Championsâ€™ attempt to confront of the two alien â€œgodâ€ brothers whose game of chess, designed to settle a dispute between them, and make them realize that their game is deadly real for untold souls who inhabit the worlds they destroy.
We are left with a set up for what promises to be the final battle of the epic, as the armies of both Law and Chaos are transported directly to the game board for \what the alien brothers intend to be the decisive battle.
It bears repeating that artist Francesco Biaginiâ€™s work is simply magnificent. His rendering of both the classic Moorcock characters and those never before brought to life by an artist are both imaginative and true to Moorcockâ€™s descriptions in his existing work. Beyond that, his depictions of the various environments are as realistic as a fantasy book could want.
If you havenâ€™t been reading Elric, you probably wonâ€™t want to jump in at this point, but with the series (which I understand to be ending at 12) coming to a close, you wonâ€™t have long to wait before you can read the entire epic in a volume or two. At this point, I feel itâ€™d probably be best enjoyed that way.