Two volumes in and I’m not feeling as nearly involved as I should be for what’s effectively being billed as the last “ElfQuest” story. Part of that’s due to the large sense of disconnect that comes with jumping into this without being caught up on the saga’s history beforehand. That may change when Dark Horse finally reprints the necessary stories in “The Complete ElfQuest,” but that’s several years off at this point. Another is the fact that the story feels very unfocused at this point. A good deal of vol. 2 is spent on Suntop sending out “The Call” to help unite all elves on the planet, yet you’ve also got Warlord Angrif Djun building his fleet to take them all out, Shenshen’s desire to utilize her midwife skills more, Rayek and his ongoing possession of Winnowill, Two-Edge going crazy again, and more than a half-dozen more subplots like these. It’s that rare case when even though there’s a lot going on, the story doesn’t actually feel like it’s going anywhere. Wendy Pini’s art looks better than ever after all these years, especially with Sonny Strait’s colors, and that makes all of this go down considerably smoother than it would otherwise.
I imagine my feelings reading this volume are akin to what lapsed fans of “X-Men” would feel if they tried jumping back into any of the comics currently being published. Even so, amongst all of the plot threads being pursued in this volume, only one stands out as being somewhat misguided. That would be the “major revelation” teased in the solicits for issue #12, the last one collected here. It involves Wolfrider chief Cutter and part-time wolf/part-time High One Timmain and the newly-revealed connection they’ve shared since the beginning of the series. Honestly, it feels really late in the game for Wendy and Richard Pini to be busting out a massive retcon like this, especially since it pretty much comes out of nowhere. Cutter/Skywise shippers, however, may find that their prayers have been kinda, sorta, somewhat answered by it. I can’t say that I’m put off by this development, and it may even wind up giving the series the focus it needs going forward. “The Final Quest,” however, remains a series that is only for the “ElfQuest” faithful and no one else at this point.