“Elfquest: The Final Quest” #6 is essentially a pit stop within the longer story being told; after the first five issues (plus prologue special) presented the clash between Ember’s tribe of Wolfriders and humans, this issue lets the characters catch their breath, shuffle members between the two tribes, and open up questions on where their lives (and the series) are going.
It’s a logical break, and it also helps re-evaluate everything that’s happen to the characters since the original “Elfquest” series. One of the things that I appreciated about this issue is that it recognizes what a huge game-changer the discovery of the Palace in those original comics would have been; up until now it’s felt like characters have just taken it for granted, but with the questions being raised on how it is disrupting “the Way” and the general Wolfrider life, that huge addition is finally being fully examined. The shuffling of characters between the two tribes also makes sense, with Ember’s tribe more than ever becoming a younger-generation group rather than the random groupings that we had before.
At the same time, there’s no denying that this is an exposition-heavy comic, and as such it’s a little slow going. We get a long flashback into how Kahvi finally perished, as well as a chief’s council where Cutter, Ember and then Strongbow all discuss how their world is changing. It’s necessary, but those expecting the series to jump back into the thick of things will be a little let down.
On the other hand, the art seems a little off in places this month. The panels with Teir as he understands his heritage and talks to Windkin and Kahvi are cramped and overly saturated in purples; it makes everything dark and hard to make out as a result. Some panels also look slightly reused; on the page where Freetouch and Dart are explaining that they’re joining Ember’s tribe, Freetouch’s side-profile looks like it’s been copied from one panel to the other, with only the arms redrawn. For a relatively new character who’s not been given much page time, this duplication stands out if only because she’s not a character that we’re used to having around.
“Elfquest: The Final Quest” #6 is a necessary moment, but it’s not that riveting an issue. Hopefully things will pick back up with the next issue, now that the housekeeping has been completed. Long-time readers won’t be dismayed at all, but this is not the best moment for a new reader to jump on board. By the sounds of things, that will (hopefully) be #7 in January. For now, consider this more of an epilogue to the first five issues than a prologue for what’s to come.