ElfQuest: Archives, Volume Two Hardcover – Apr 1 2005
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From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up–Elfquest has always been the Comic That Could. Starting from the underground, the series has won legions of fans who revel in its purest of pure fantasy setting and delight in its sassy and indomitable main characters. And all this without being part of any big-budget Hollywood movies, toy tie-ins, or TV shows. This volume reprints five early issues, in color. The story continued from volume one has Cutter, the elf leader, and his sidekick, Skywise, roaming their planet and getting into various misadventures. Some are comic, such as when they are captured and must drink with a group of engaged trolls in the troll bar. Others are darker, as when they meet up with a group of humans who are more like aboriginals. Someone loses a thumb, and the two races exchange swordplay. Cutter's love interest, Leetah, and most of the female cast, have the look of belly dancers, and the men's flowing locks and athletic appearances make Elfquest definitely a beautiful people comic. Older teens will find the fantasy not dark enough, but it will be popular with middle schoolers or those who already love Elfquest (such as adults who want to rediscover their youthful reading).–John Leighton, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Their last 20 years as 'publishers' or creators or whatever has been a tragicomedy from the start. They left off writing and drawing the comic in the early 90's and called in 3rd or 4th rate writers/hacks to complete the 4 or 5 EQ storylines. Wendy wanted to make the movie and devote her time to that. They are STILL trying to make the movie, 15+ years later. They will never leave off that obsession and I blame it for ruining Elfquest.
DC could only try and hold their hands and walk them through the process so many times. Wendy tried to get back into making the comics with Discovery, but I guess got really bummed out by deadlines, because she has devoted the last 4 years of her time to a webcomic that failed abysmally. The site offering it went out of business and the graphic novel for that, too is out of print. Meanwhile DC gave the Pinis the boot. Apparently they didn't feel like making enough material, etc to keep the partnership profitable.
What is wrong with them? DC was their last chance to keep EQ in the public eye. Now they are giving it away for free online. Must be nice not to need money or anything.
Unless you want this book. Then get ready to pony up. Thank them for it in an email. It's rpini at elfquest d com" Richard spends his whole day posting about BS on the Elfquest forums, and has nothing else but updates to the Movie's progress to write about every 5 years or so.
It's odd, and very frustrating, that this wonderful volume is apparently out of print. Odd, because the other four archives are all apparently still available, and frustrating because the comics most certainly are sequential and it would be very jarring to skip over this essential volume.
As I noted in my review for the first volume, this archive is massively colorful and detailed - the gorgeous drawings are so artistic that you can't help but be drawn instantly into the story. Volume 2 takes off sometime after Volume 1 - Leetah has given birth to twins (the first the elves have ever seen) and Ember (a girl) and Suntop (a boy) are as different as day and night, but both are beautiful, loving, vivacious children. In a nice inversion of 'tradition', Ember is the strong warrior child, destined to take over the mantle of chief when her father passes, and Suntop is a sensitive child, deeply attuned to magic and knowledge of the 'elder elves', with a bright future as a seer and philosopher for their people. Cutter and Leetah accept their children's gifts and differences with nary a thought otherwise, and both the Wolfriders and the Sun People are pleased with the beautiful children in their midst.
When Cutter becomes obsessed with finding the 'High Ones' (the parents of all elves), however, Leetah and the children stay home while he sets out with steadfast friend Skywise for a year-long quest to find out what they can from the wide world about the origins of the elves, and their future destination. Before long, though, young Suntop is given a magical warning for his father than only he can deliver, and Leetah is forced to set aside her fears of the outside world in order to take the children and the Wolfriders to seek out their chief.
I've noted before that it's hard to know how to classify ElfQuest within a genre. Volume 2 contains a great deal of 'action', particularly as Cutter and Skywise are captured by trolls and must use their wits, speed, and size to turn the situation to their advantage and escape, and while the quest for the High Ones is in itself an adventure, it's difficult to just slap the 'action-adventure' label without also considering the philosophy and emotion behind the scenes. There is a great deal of exploration within Cutter and Leetah's relationship (Leetah loves her mate, but is having trouble adjusting to the odd hours the Wolfriders keep; Cutter loves Leetah and her people, but longs for the woods again), within Leetah's fears and anxieties (Leetah fears leaving the safety of the village, but also frets that her presence as a healer has weakened the Sun People and made them dependent upon her), and within the differences between young Ember and Suntop, as both of them defy stereotyping and demonstrate a realism often missing from children in literature. Reasonable people can disagree as to whether the frank discussions of love, lust, morality, and mortality are appropriate for children or not, but you'll likely not find a more thoughtful approach to the subject matter.
Because I'm a new fan, I can't speak to how this archive compares to the original old issues. Snippets of the old issues are included in the beginning and ending of each archive; sometimes in black-and-white panels, others in full color portraits and covers. I believe, however, that the spirit of the original was perfectly preserved - I just wish this volume hadn't been so hard to locate.
~ Ana Mardoll
In 1978, Wendy and Richard Pini started self-publishing the Elfquest saga in comic book form. The rest, as they say, is history! This graphic novel contains the second five issues of Elfquest (6-10), and is quite an entertaining read. I really enjoyed the story (I love stories of elves and magic!), and thought that the illustration work was quite excellent. Some people have criticized the coloring, but I thought that it was quite good, a little bright like older comics, but that is what it is.
Overall, I found this to be a fun and very entertaining read, and I give it two thumbs up!