Elric: The Dreaming City #1 features a main character who, for all intents and purposes, would be a Dark Lord in another fantasy story. And yet, the comic book does a remarkable job in making him a decent guy, more or less. Especially since he doesn’t want to be a Dark Lord anymore.
Elric: The Dreaming City #1 is the comic book adaptation of the sword and sorcery novella of the same name by Michael Moorcock, who is also the creator of the character Elric of Melniboné. Julien Blondel is the writer for this adaptation though, instead of Moorcock, with Julien Telo being the artist. Mike Mignola is responsible for the main cover art above, with Valentin Secher, Eric Bourgier, and Julien Telo responsible for each variant cover respectively. Julien Telo also did a FOC cover featuring Elric’s ex: Cymoril. Oh, and lastly, Titan Comics is the publisher for this comic book series.
Elric: The Dreaming City #1 released on August 11, 2021. You can purchase print copies at your local comic book store for that classic paper feel. Or if you’re fine with the digital version, you can download it from content providers like ComiXology.
Warning: spoilers for Elric: The Dreaming City #1 below. If you have any interest in reading this classically dark fantasy tale for yourself, stop here, and come back once the screaming is over.
Elric: The Dreaming City #1 ~ Plot Summary
Elric: The Dreaming City #1 actually begins with a brief introduction to Mr. Elric of Melniboné himself. Apparently, he’s the albino emperor of the land of Melniboné, where the people are apparently all totes evil save for him. Reading apparently did wonders for his conscience when he was young and sickly-er. Hence, he wasn’t really keen about all the human sacrifices being made to him. His people saw that as weak, thus explaining why his brother-in-law Yyrkoon decided to kidnap Elric’s cousin and wife (and Yyrkoon’s sister) Cymoril.
Elric then leads an army to get his wife back, gets most of them killed, and finds his wife just in time for her brother to off her. Elric then uses his cursed sword to defeat Yyrkoon and revive his wife…somehow, but for some reason doesn’t kill him, and just leaves to prevent some kind of prophecy about him destroying his people and killing his wife from happening. Needless to say, his newly revived wife is pissed.
With that explained, we can now finally begin the story of Elric: The Dreaming City #1 proper. Apparently, Melniboné is on the warpath against the human nations, with Empress Cymoril at its head, and they want Elric to stop his ex-nation and ex-wife. But first, he has to find a ruined city that will let him stop his ex-nation…somehow. After some misadventures involving some hostile frog/turtle/lizard people and a friendly insect-based hive mind, Elric and his companions finally arrive at the lost city of R’lin K’ren A’a in all of its tortured apostrophe glory.
There, Elric and co. discover a really old elf who has been keeping the city’s knowledge alive all this time. Why? Well, as it turns out, the city is under a curse that causes everyone and everything in it to forget. Elric realizes what’s happening, and demands that his dark god Arioch lift the curse. Unfortunately, Elric needs souls to summon Arioch. Even more unfortunately, it turns out that his sword Stormbringer can fly around and kill people on her own. Thus, she slays 2 of Elric’s companions to power the Arioch-summoning ritual.
Elric then proceeds to argue with Arioch for a while, with the dark god performing some mental torture of his own on Elric. Elric enrages Arioch enough for the god to try to kill him, only for Stormbringer to defend Elric, revealing that she’s the god’s daughter…somehow. Anyways, with the threat of Stormbringer in place, Arioch finally agrees to lift the curse on the lost city. The really old elf dies, but he dies happy. Elric is a bit confused about that bit. So what happens next? Well, that’s what we’ll find out in Elric: The Dreaming City #2.
Elric: The Dreaming City #1 ~ The Good
Elric: The Dreaming City #1 has a story that feels like a weird mix of a The Lord of the Rings-style high fantasy story, and one of those classical myths from Greek or Norse mythology. It’s a very intriguing mix of related genres here from Michael Moorcock. The result is a very interesting setting for our hero to play around in. From a Lost Woods-style forbidden forest/swamp to a ruined lost city, it makes a rousing adventure.
Speaking of our hero, Elric of Melniboné (I still have no idea how you pronounce that), is a fascinating main character. He seems to be a decent guy. It’s just that bad things keep happening to him, and he either lacks the will or intelligence to either fix them or prevent them from happening. There’s also the fact that he was once basically the Dark Lord. since Melniboné has a definitely Evil Empire feel to it. The human sacrifices kind of give it away. Really, it’s a wonder that Elric turned out as decent as he currently is.
Elric: The Dreaming City #1 ~ The Bad
Strangely enough, Elric of Melniboné himself is both one of the best and worst parts of Elric: The Dreaming City #1. You sympathize with him at points in the story, but at other parts, you lose sympathy for him. I mean, take his handling of his evil sword, for instance. He left his wife to protect her from his soul-eating sword, but didn’t even bother to leave a note for her explaining the situation? Unless Cymoril can’t read, that should’ve clarified the situation for her, and thus prevented this whole Evil Empire trying to kill Elric and destroy humanity in the first place. Maybe. It points like these where you think he could’ve done a lot better where you think that he’s not such a great hero after all.
Elric: The Dreaming City #1 introduces us to Elric of Melniboné: ex-Dark Lord. The comic book also sets him off on a quest to stop his own empire and ex-wife. He heads to a ruined city, and convinces his dark god to lift a curse on the city. Presumably, this will allow Elric to find out…well, everything that matters. Will he? Well, we’ll find out in the next issue of this sword and sorcery comic book series from Titan Comics.
Source: Titan Comics