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OQ: ELFQUEST #1: FIRE AND FLIGHT, Part I & II

EMB

This is kinda my analytical take on each B&W issue of Elfquest from its inception, one issue at a time...ignoring, for now, FQ #1, as EQ #1 is a reconstituted version and, for most, the start of their EQ journey....and quite a wonderful one it has been! :)

I'm using the covers from my own collection, as is, scanned honest, warts and all. Here's #1:




Can't find my $1.25 original at the moment(I think that was the original cover price for #1), but this 2nd print cover will do.


ED 8)

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)

elf-gratification

First printing of EQ #1 was $1.00... I have it 8)

PCoquelin

Sorry : ain't got this EQ#1. Only the Fantasy Quarterly.

EMB

Quote:
elf-gratification

First printing of EQ #1 was $1.00... I have it 8)



Correct! Which is what I found out last night, heh! It's been a long time since I revisited these....


ED 8)

KingJohnny

I'm not sure if this is established, but my take on the whole wolf-sendings is that they are giving out an image, not a word. Or, maybe they do send out a word since the wolves are also descendants of Timmain. But since they are mostly wolf, they are only able to give out a word, or again, an image.

I don't think the elves speak English. I'm sure they have their own language but doubt WaRP wanted to create the language and then expect us to learn it. Having it translated to English is fine by me.

Shara

Quote:
KingJohnny


I don't think the elves speak English. I'm sure they have their own language but doubt WaRP wanted to create the language and then expect us to learn it. Having it translated to English is fine by me.



When Cutter try to said his name to Nonna, she was not able to said it... so surely the elf don't speak English.

Maybe the human too. The wolfrider have learned the human langauge, but after recover the palace from when rayek stole it, they have to relearn the language of human... Maybe the language as evoluate, or it's just not the same at all...

Jeppe

[quote:b24c1165c8]When Cutter try to said his name to Nonna, she was not able to said it... so surely the elf don't speak English.[/quote:b24c1165c8]

of course they don't! they speak danish! haven't you read the comics? Grin

Mirr

*nods to KingJohnny*

Exactly.. they might not even speak English (or any other language that EQ has been published in :D ) as we know it, and that is't only for storytelling simplification things are as they are, but with hints of misunderstanding here and there.. or how to put it.. I suppose this'd be like comparing LOTR and Quenya and all those other languages Tolkien put a huge effort in to create that the elves and others spoke, and English just happened to be the language the story itself was mostly retold in, set as a base.. but the Pinis do have Elven words and names puzzled in, so far :)


Quote:
KingJohnny


I'm not sure if this is established, but my take on the whole wolf-sendings is that they are giving out an image, not a word. Or, maybe they do send out a word since the wolves are also descendants of Timmain. But since they are mostly wolf, they are only able to give out a word, or again, an image.



It does sound probable that, communicating with other animals like wolves would seem a bit odd, although I suppose they do understand spoken words in many degrees still. But might it be a combination of that and a ghostly prescence somehow inside the receiver's mind? That mind unity thing from Farscape comes to mind now, but that feels almost too advanced and a really in depth sending, if one was to call it a sending. The Sunfolk had however seemed to forgotten about sending, or what was the story there again? Elves seem otherwise to very casually be able to send, with some able to block out others however as well as others able to force their way in another's mind almost..

The graphical media is a bit limited too though, trying to remember now any indications on how the media of sending itself is..

EMB

I have to say, the whole aspect of 'sending' was the most tantalizing aspect of the first issue...I'd never come across something like this, as it was not truly 'telepathy' per se, something elusive but very alive.

At the time, the trolls seemed like cookie-cutter villains of a sort....but Wendy & Richard weren't going to be so obvious, and later gave them an added dimension and complexity that isn't in any way apparent this early on.


ED 8)

Lavin

Well, that seems to be probably the only comics I have =) Fire and Flight and the other 4... Wink

Lavin

Well, I've got a question. when I first read this comics, i was about 10... I couldn't understand, what exactly happened with Redlance. I mean that there had to be something else but tortures. So that he felt himself so bad in the desert. I'm still thinking of it.

krwordgazer

Lavin, the torture caused internal bleeding, which would have healed if he'd been allowed to lie still. Instead, Redlance had to flee his holt, climb through the troll caverns, and cross the desert on wolfback. The internal bleeding would have been exacerbated. By the time we see him in Nightfall's arms, he's lost a lot of blood and his heart is failing. Unhappy

Lavin

Quote:
krwordgazer

Lavin, the torture caused internal bleeding, which would have healed if he'd been allowed to lie still. Instead, Redlance had to flee his holt, climb through the troll caverns, and cross the desert on wolfback. The internal bleeding would have been exacerbated. By the time we see him in Nightfall's arms, he's lost a lot of blood and his heart is failing. Unhappy



Sure, but I ment his mentality! His spirit... If you understand me.

EMB

Hard to say, but torture does nothing positive for your psyche, obviously....

It's a tribute to W&R how well thought out the 5-issue story arc was. Redlance's capture and torture, in the story, sets up the conflict between elves and humans. But beyond that, it would later give us a healer--Leetah, and begin to help the two elf tribes assimilate(with Cutter & Leetah assimilating the best, heh).....

And in #4, we meet, however briefly, the Wolfriders' healer, Rain....and then understand what a loss that was. Without a healer, the tribe was especially vulnerable.

It's a tribute to Redlance he made it as far as he did. Tough cookies, these Wolfriders! Wink

ED 8)

Lavin

You know, EMB, in my university there is a boy, whose face was familiar to me, I couldn't understand why, than I realised, he lookes like Rain ))) I saw it from the first sight, but in fact nobody agrees with me, but it doesn't matter. When I need to write smth from EQ on russian I look at his photo. He doesn't know it, cause ha wouldn't understand me right ))

Trollbabe

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.


This heartbreaking story reminded me so much of the Wolfriders and the Trolls: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/20/us-usa-immigration-texas-border-idUSKBN0HF01920140920 It especially made me think of Woodlock and Rainsong, and their children.

Part of our illegal immigration problem in America is the "coyote", a criminal who preys upon poor and desperate people in different parts of Central America. Once across the border, the illegals may be left to suffocate in a locked truck trailer, or released many miles from civilization, to die of thirst and exposure.

(There's been much debate about illegal immigration in our country lately, but regardless of our varied opinions, we don't control the situations that people are trying so hard to escape.)

lunakat

So true, Trollbabe. People take such terrible risks to get here.

I had a student once (she was a wonderful student- one of those kids who improved the caliber of any class she was in, just by setting an example) who had come to the United States illegally with her family. She said that she, her mother and her sister all travelled in a compartment on the underside of a bus. She said that it got so hot that her little sister almost died before they made it out. When I asked her what motivated her to work so hard at school- she said it was because she knew that her family took that risk so that she could have a chance to succeed in life and she didn't intend to waste it. It was apparent, by contrast, how much my American born students took for granted.

It always angers me when I hear people making disparaging comments about "illegals" - as if they aren't deserving human beings or are somehow responsible for the systemic problems in this country. It's just plain bigotry.