For a while, “Elfquest” had a lot of series running simultaneously, going from one title to a whopping six, before eventually contracting down to a single title again. When they did so, a lot of those threads continued for a while before the further contraction back to a single storyline. It’s funny, then, that “Elfquest: The Final Quest” #4 has me noticing that Wendy and Richard Pini are taking advantage of this storyline to fix a continuity glitch, considering that I’d only heard descriptions of the comics in question.
It’s to the Pinis’ credit that it works as well as it does, tweaking how one group of characters that was supposed to be further in the future is now in the present day, and with a simple enough explanation to go along with it. But at the same time, it’s also a little hard to keep from feeling that a lot of this issue is devoted to smoothing out that hiccup, explaining who this new-to-this-series character is and his outlandish claims, before also bringing that particular story to a close. I get why they’re doing it; this is “The Final Quest” after all, so if everything’s going to wrap up then it’s a good idea to make it all fit together properly. But it’s a shame that after the previous issue was moving at a fairly good clip, that this one all but stops dead in its tracks.
That said, “Elfquest: The Final Quest” #4 isn’t a bad issue. We touch base with not only the main storyline involving Ember and the Djun, but also the Djun’s troops continuing to chase Ember’s tribe of Wolfriders, as well as what’s happening back at the Palace. And more importantly, the end of this issue makes it fairly clear that two of those three locations are about to have their characters reunite in the next installment. With characters scattered across Abode, it’s nice to see them all start coming back together once more.
Much more consistent is Wendy Pini’s art, which looks as smooth and well-formed as ever. It’s in many ways review-proof; you know going into the issue that it’ll look strong and attractive, and Wendy Pini reminds us here why she’s been an important part of the comics industry for decades. The confrontation between Ember and the Djun on page 12 is a prime example; look how Wendy Pini shifts the viewpoint of the viewer around the two, almost stepping back and forth so that we see them from different angles. It keeps the page from being just a set of talking heads, knowing when to focus in on one character, or when to use their size and power differential to make a visual statement about the pair. It’s no coincidence that I’ve pre-ordered the upcoming “Elfquest: The Original Quest Gallery Edition” which reprints the art off of the original pages in an oversized edition. Wendy Pini’s art is well worth examining that close and carefully.
Even with a bit of a slowdown in pace, Wendy and Richard Pini’s “Elfquest: The Final Quest” #4 is a pleasant read. And with the setup for what’s to come next time, I’m looking forward to seeing them in “60,” as the old issues’ letter-column liked to state things. I suspect readers who made it this far will agree.