Reviews – Boom! Studios: 5/23/12 by Jerry Whitworth
MICHAEL MOORCOCK’S ELRIC: THE BALANCE LOST #10 (of 12)
by Chris Roberson (w) and Francesco Biagini (a)
The war of law and chaos across the Multiverse is reaching its zenith as the walls between realities peel and the Lost Gods Kwll and Rhynn seek to see which rules over what remains. The Eternal Champions, Elric of Melnibone, Dorian Hawkmoon, Corum Jhaelen Irsei, and Eric Beck try to reason with the deity siblings to return the Balance only to see the conflict escalated. The Multiverse’s last hope may very well lay with Elric and his Ring of Kings.
The latest issue of the latest adaptation of Michael Moorcock’s infamous anti-hero Elric (along with other original characters from Moorcock) makes use of splash pages and double page spreads (often bulked up with caption boxes) for what on one hand can be used to define the gravity of the situation (namely, a handful of champions in a battle against giant gods playing a game of chess with armies across the multiverse under their thrall) but for me, and I suspect others, can equate more with how little content is conveyed in this technique. This issue reads more like a pulp magazine trying to be a comic book or a novel that had portions slapped onto artwork. Few story beats transpire as the reader is left with simply being caught up, given the necessary knowledge to know what’s going on, and seeing the ending which promises actual action in the next issue. The content of the issue could have been cut by two-thirds to achieve similar affect.
CLIVE BARKER’S HELLRAISER #14
by Clive Barker and Mark Miller (w) and Janusz Ordon and Jesús Hervás (a)
Captain Elliot Spencer (formerly Pinhead) continues his plan to remake Earth by assembling and mobilizing the damned in India, having achieved some new power by coming into proximity with the device that caused his damnation. Kristy Cotton, having taken on the power of Pinhead in a bid to save family and friends, leads her Harrowers (Marcus Aimes, Bethany Howard, and Alexander Price) as they follow the Female Cenobite, having joined forces in order to stop Spencer. As they try to evade the attention of Leviathan, they are forced to infiltrate the Cenobites’ Monastery to obtain a Lemarchand’s box. All the while, it remains to be seen what part Harry D’Amour, a private detective that investigates the occult, has to play in this series of events.
This latest adaptation of Clive Barker’s renowned franchise plays well borrowing heavily upon past works (so far to even involve Harry D’Amour from a previously unrelated series) while including enough detail for new readers to be able to follow along. While little is pushed along to reveal what exactly Spencer’s goals are (or even what he’s doing), we uncover a bit more about how Spencer has become empowered and given breadcrumbs as to what is needed to stop him. My only real gripe is that we have yet to tackle the conflict between Spencer and Kristy and already one of the Harrowers has been killed, though I suppose this plays up the danger of infiltrating the Monastery (played up to be fortified only for the group to come across a single guard, a fact remarked upon in story as being too easy just before the attack). Overall, I’m intrigued enough to see what happens next despite little in the form of movement of the story or action (with the sequence of escaping Leviathan’s gaze doing little more than fill space, something that would be fine in film or a novel but a waste for a comic book).
IRREDEEMABLE #37 (final issue)
by Mark Waid (w) and Diego Barreto (a)
Mark Waid’s tale of a tortured superhero that suffers a psychotic break from becoming humanity’s savior to its greatest threat comes to a close. The world on the brink of destruction from a cloud of radiation, Qubit is forced to implant the wax bullet made from the Candle of Nahru Visna into Plutonian’s chest to ensure the former hero will save the world again. A gravity-warping remnant of Bette Noir’s essence in hand, Plutonian races around the planet at supersonic speed in an attempt to suck up the dangerous radiation in Earth’s atmosphere. The while, Gilgamos and Kaidan prepare to plant the seeds of the Tree of Life, threatening to make the world as it is forevermore where its people no longer age or are capable of dying, yet also incapable of having children. This final issue tells the fate of the world, its people, and the Plutonian.
Mark Waid is a brilliant writer and one of the most recognized gurus in comic book history and mythology and he has shown this here. Irredeemable sits on the shoulders of famous works like Marvelman, Squadron Supreme, and Invincible in their approach of taking the Superman concept and turning it into a satire delving into the pedestal heroes are placed upon and what pressures reality would have on these icons. The core of this final arc of Irredeemable is that a being can fall into such depths of insanity, to become utterly irredeemable for his actions, to attempt to save those he turned on in a last ditch effort for complete redemption, one that only science fiction can provide, could he somehow undo the harm he caused or perhaps become something much more than we could comprehend. I think the ending of this story speaks to this perfectly, as Plutonian was born to a flawed world in a psychotic manner that perhaps he only has to become something that is virtually incorruptible. Highly recommend this series and, of course, its finale.