ELFQUEST
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EMB

The plot:

Humans vs. Elves. Redlance has gotten caught by humans--an elf's worst fear--and has been tortured and about to be sacrificed to the human's gods. Cutter, Skywise and the rest of the gang are out to prevent this, and rescue him, with one human killed. Sadly, this is only the beginning of their trouble: the humans start a conflagration to 'cleanse' their world of elves; forced to flee the holt, the elves pay a visit to their uneasy adversaries, the trolls. After some debate and verbal parrying, it's agreed the trolls will show them the path to a new paradise...but they are betrayed, and the new world turns out to be the hot, barren desert. Their way barred behind them, they've no choice but to move forward, into the unknown.


Analysis:

A tentative but highly enjoyable introduction to the EQ clan and universe. Not everything is made clear or fleshed out--only so much Wendy & Richard could tell us in 28 pages--but, a great beginning, with enough introductory info to make us want to know more.

The story begins with the conflict of Page 1, but then, for the next three pages, a brief prologue explaining the elves' arrival to their new world, and the almost instant and inexplicable violence they encountered, thus having to flee into the forest and build new lives with those few remaining.

In a nicely cinematic touch of time compression, on Page 5 the elders are seen in one panel, and below, a quick shift to Cutter and Skywise, watching Redlance's ordeal in the shadows, waiting for their moment to rescue him, which they do. And so we are introduced to a harsh, unforgiving world, and yet one with a very tight-knit, committed and loving group we immediately recognize as friends and can identify with.

The remainder is divided up into the obvious: the forest fire and final confrontation(for now)with humans, and the journey to and then through the 'cavern of the trolls.' The latter passage is marked with no small amount of humor, but also forboding: the trolls are schemers, mistrusting and deceitful, yet not altogether evil or irrational, as the humans were(this would come into important focus later on, having more in common than it would first seem).

While some of the dialogue is a bit stilted and strained at times, the story flows well and the artwork is superb, a considerable improvement over FQ 1, which looked unfinished. This time, Wendy went to great lengths to refine the inking and background shadings, something that came in very handy when the color versions were done.


Random observations:

1. Cutter, with his dark eyes, feral glare, and handsome countenance, at first reminded me of an elfin version of Jim Morrison(of The Doors)--in looks, if not persona(thankfully!).

2. I fell in love with Nightfall immediately. What a dish! Love that outfit of hers.... 8)

3. Perhaps the one unbelievable aspect of the story was the notion the wolves could not only send(great concept, though, for the elves)and in English, at that! Wink I mean, how does a wolf 'think'? Well, in the EQ universe, the same as elves, I guess! Luckily, this would not be a long-term situation, as the 'sending' aspect, while important to all, fortunately didn't become a gimmick, but something to be used only when needed.

4. Ethnic prejudice rears its ugliness here....if elves mistrust and avoid humans, the humans literally demonize elves, for no reason that is explained here, other than that they are around, have pointed ears, and evoke needless fear and loathing(and jealousy, perhaps?)...class differences would turn up later, even between elves, so this aspect of the story was just the beginning.


Overall rating: B+, which is no small feat for an introductory installment of any comic! And as we know, it just got better and better as time went on.... :D


ED 8)