Like so many fans, I was along for the ride from the beginning: back in the 1980s haunting my local comic shop every 3 months, hoping the newest issue was coming out. And then the Starblaze/Donner editions came out in glorious color and I considered myself one of the biggest Elfquest fans out there. Of course, eventually the troubles began at WaRP- Wendy worn out from her intricate drawing work, Richard constantly embattled with lawsuits and issues with the way he ran WaRP. But the tipping point for me was a Comic Con I attend in the 1990s just to meet the Pinis and get an issue signed; when I met Richard Pini at the WaRP booth, I gushed, I adored, and I was curtly told to buy a comic if I wanted a signature before his back turned on me in annoyance of bringing my own copy to be signed rather than buying from him. Crushed at being so summarily dismissed, I meekly bought the issue again and left without any signatures.
And then last month, I noticed “The Final Quest” has come out and hoped this hearkened back to the original series. There have been so many ‘Elfquest iterations’ through the years; many not worth the time to read and feeling more like poor fan art. Certainly, nothing came anywhere close to the original Quest over the years.
With this first volume of the Final Quest arc, the art finally feels like Wendy’s work. Granted, the details and intricacies are gone so somehow it admittedly seems more like a shadow of her work. But I’d rather have this than no Wendy at all, truth be told. So although the characters are true to the original Quest, I can’t help but feel a bit let down.
The stories, though, were honestly all over the place. The whole volume doesn’t come together like one story so much as little vignettes to close up storylines (Kahvi’s end, for example) or show new character births before they are grown up in volume 2 (e.g., Suntop’s daughter). Perhaps because this is a rebirth of Elfquest once again being a Pini enterprise, there is a running storyline of rebirth/childbirth. But with every 4 pages jumping between locations/timelines/characters, it feels very random and scattershot. I was hoping for one continual story as with the original Quest, I guess. I honestly couldn’t keep track of the characters, there were just too many.
Perhaps owing to the modern times, the coloring and varying line widths were very distracting. Characters changed looks a lot as a result; I can’t help but feel that although it is wonderful to have color, quality of the production was compromised somewhere as a result. It’s not a major thing and certainly doesn’t overly detract; but it is there.
Will I continue to follow The Final Quest? Definitely. Already by volume 2 the story begins to coalesce a bit more and isn’t as jumpy as before. But the rushed scattershot storytelling continues, unfortunately. Precious few pages given to each little scene that could honestly have been stretched out to be far more satisfying.