O Wendi and Richard Pini, can your awesomeness be measured by mortal men? Could you possibly create a more refined adventure than this run of ElfQuest: The Final Quest? You give us thrills us on so many levels. The artwork lavishes us with bright, original imagery. The characters fill our souls with delight. How can a humble yet brilliant blogger find fault in your creation?
Actually, there is one thing that bugs me: character motivation. There are a few parts where characters do stuff for inadequately explored (or completely non-explored) reasons. But besides that, this stuff is awesome!
Anyway, here’s a recap of issue 2:
Note: This recap may contain spoilers!
Issue 1 ended with Chief Ember and her tribe being attacked by the human Djun mercenaries, almost winning the battle. We start issue 2 with the humans bringing in their secret weapon (cannons), forcing the tribe to retreat into the woods. Instead of fleeing with the other elves, Krim telepathically tells her fellow elves, “It’s time, lads, I want it like this,” and decides to sacrifice herself and fight to the death in an attempt to impale the human kind upon her sword.
Here we have inadequately explored motivation number one: why not run away with the rest of the elves and come back for some guerrilla warfare style raids like they always do? We’ll never know. I’ll just assume there’s some back-story I’m unaware of and bring back my suspension of disbelief. At any rate, before the humans can take down Krim, she scores a victorious thrust of her blade straight into the mercenary king’s crotch (pardon the double entendre, but I couldn’t help myself). He’s seriously wounded, but not dead. Mender, of course, doesn’t want to see Krim die, but the others force him to retreat with the rest of the tribe.
In the process, he uses his magic to shrink one of the human fighters’ hearts, killing the dude instantly, and the human king is like, “I need that magic guy so I can be even more evil and powerful. Plus, he could fix my mangled man parts,” and orders his minions to hunt down the “golden haired one.” Suddenly Tier and Ember experience the “recognition.” This is a concept unique to ElfQuest. The elves have this magic ability programmed into their DNA to assure a genetically ideal copulation, thus assuring survival of the elf species (and giving the writers a handy plot device). This may be a lover, in which case they get it on and it’s no big deal. Or it could be with some other elf they don’t have any attachment to or maybe even can’t stand. But when the recognition happens, they have to do it. If they don’t do it, eventually they’ll die.
So, while Ember is trying to lead her people to safety in the wooded hills, she and Tier “recognize” each other, and they can’t think straight because they have to DO it. They find a way to duck behind some bushes for a quickie (just so they can get their burning passion out of the way, mind you, and get back into the fight), but a group of humans stumbles across them and captures Ember. So now you have Ember in the middle of recognition, burning with desire for Tier, but she has been captured and carted off to the mercenaries’ fortified village. And Tier isn’t much help to his fellow elves in the woods fleeing the humans, since he’s burning with desire also. While the tribe is trying to figure out what to do, Khorbasi — a human ally — arrives with some human refugees who need Mender’s healing powers. The humans are scared of the elves, of course, but Mender heals them, and they start to trust the elves. They also mention a legendary sanctuary located “far away on the highest peak.”
So the humans and elves team up and look for this legendary sanctuary, while Tier and Ember haven’t consummated their recognition, because Ember has been captured and taken to the fortified home of Angrif, king of the Djunsmen mercenaries.