Presented as a Heavy Metal Presents… production this slim and scintillating fantasy thriller was one of the most successful early graphic novels, but has since slipped into seeming obscurity. Created Marvel-style (plot/art and then script) it teamed two of the medium’s most outspoken and popular creators on a project that still has a phenomenal amount of punch.
Michael Moorcock began his career as a comics writer and editor at age 15, on such strips as Tarzan, Dogfight Dixon, Jet Ace Logan, Captain Condor, Olac the Gladiator and many, many other British stalwarts before making the jump to prose fiction, where he single-handedly revitalised the genre with the creation of Elric and the high-concept of the Eternal Champion.
This very adult fantasy thriller is a part of that extended cycle of sagas (and if you’re a fan this tale immediately follows the novels The Eternal Champion and Phoenix in Obsidian) but if it’s all new to you everything you need to enjoy the epic is précised within the tale itself.
Urlik Skarsol, known as John Daker, is an aspect of the tragic fate-tossed Eternal Champion. Unlike most he is always aware of his true nature so when he incarnates on a new world he already knows it is another place of conflict and jeopardy.
Here he is Lord Clen of Clen Gar, a knight of the Dream Marches and wielder of a terrible soul-drinking black sword. His land is a buffer zone between the acid-scorched wastes of Hell and the lush highlands of Heaven, and for centuries his people have guarded the decadent body-warping elite above them from the desperate wild-men of the burned wildernesses.
A final confrontation is drawing inevitably closer, and death is in the air, but Clen holds one final awesome secret. The floating acid-spewing beasts known as Angels are not what they seem and their final fate will determine whether this world thrives or dies in blood and flame…
This is a classic romp from two masters of the form, painted with all verve and dash of Chaykin in his prime, and a treat fantasists and followers of exotic, erotic fantasy will simply adore.
© 1979 Howard V. Chaykin & Michael Moorcock. All Rights Reserved.