Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer(s): Wendy Pini, Richard Pini
Artist: Wendy Pini
Release Date: 26th March 2014
For this week’s Group Review, Team BCP takes a look at the second issue of Wendy and Richard Pini’s Elfquest: The Final Quest. Does the latest chapter in the vast history of this series live up to expectations, or does the weight of the backstory prove to be too much for our new readers? Take a look.
The wicked humans led by Angrif Djun have started a brutal battle with the Wolf Riders. Heavy losses on both sides are inevitable. My money is on the elves. They have Mender.
The art is busy and full of character; easily pulling off this moonlit frenzy of swords. The characters are endearing and the plot is helped along by a classical fantasy narrative which adds to the charm. The story feels bold and impressively carefree despite the expectations. There are also calm and reflective moments to contrast with the bloody war. It’s nicely done, and fans will undoubtedly love it.
I doubt you could call this a ‘jump on’ point, by any means, but it’s definitely going to be a treat for the existing fanbase.
Chris B Says…
The first thing that sprang to mind when I picked this comic up was just how much it reminded me of the cult classics from my childhood like Princess Bride or Labyrinth. That’s not to say that the book is childish, but more the fact that there is an undeniably nostalgic feel to the art and narrative, but that feeling is combined here with a far more adult context to the story (I don’t ever want to imagine someone being stabbed there ever again!). It’s easy to see why the story has been running for so long and has obtained such cult status, and while its not quite my cup of tea, I definitely didn’t dislike it, and I know that there will definitely be a lot of people are going to love this new iteration of the classic series.
I’ll be honest, my knowledge of ElfQuest is extremely limited. I knew it existed, but not much more than that. Reading this issue, I’ve got to say, has left me none the wiser.
There’s a battle, there’s a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth about people and events I knew nothing about and – for the uninitiated – that’s yer lot. The Manga-inspired artwork isn’t really my cup of tea, and the whole thing left me cold to be honest. That’s not to say that it’s bad, just that it’s not really for me.
Reading this issue as a first ever experience of ElfQuest is a little like wandering into the middle of a convention for a culture you’ve barely even heard of. It’s odd and overwhelming, but hard to scoff at due to the obvious level of love and devotion for it from both its creators and fans.
Elfquest is a difficult book to review, mainly because it has run for so long. As a new reader I don’t really know who anyone is, and as a result it is a little hard to care. As I mentioned in my review of issue #1, I really like the visual style of the book, but with this issue, it feels like the story really gets moving, and every other page contains narrative that would have long-time fans fighting for air, while the uninitiated may find themselves a little lost.
That isn’t necessarily a knock against ElfQuest: The Final Quest, as at no point does the series claim to be a jumping-on point, but it does feel a bit like service for the hardcore fans, of which there are many. That’s perfectly acceptable, and it’s clear that Richard and Wendy Pini still have grand stories to tell. They are in no way ‘scraping the bottom of the barrel’ with The Final Quest.
As a standalone issue, The Final Quest #2 is well paced, and appears to get everything right. It is well written, it looks really nice, and again I will mention how different it is to any other fantasy books I’ve read, but I never liked homework, and it feels like this series requires a fair bit of research in order to be fully enjoyed in the long run.
I haven’t picked up an Elfquest comic for well over 20 years, but while it seemed a lot has changed, it was still very familiar and not too difficult for me to jump back into.
Despite being just the latest chapter in an ongoing story that stretches all the way back to 1978, it was easy enough to get an idea what was going on with The Final Quest issue 2, even though most of the characters were entirely new to me.
There’s something weirdly timeless about Elfquest, both in terms of the writing and the artwork. It hasn’t changed much, if at all, since day one, and while it undeniably feels just a little dated as a result, more often it just feels like – well – Elfquest.
Both Wendy and Richard Pini’s writing style – not to mention Wendy’s incredibly expressive art – is the same as ever, and there’s something to be said for that. Like The Cramps or The Ramones, they got it right first time, so hey, why change it?
The epic, generational saga of tribes of Elves descended from aliens won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but there’s a charm to Elfquest that is most definitely unique.
Apparently every issue of the entire series is available free on their website, and while this issue was enjoyable enough, new readers would probably be better served starting at the beginning.