Collects Elfquest 11-15

Writers: Wendy and Richard Pini
Artist: Wendy Pini
Publishing year: 1988
Publisher: Father Tree Press

The comic has a continuous storyline, so spoilers for the previous collections.

Cutter, the chief of Wolfriders, have been reunited with his family but most of his small tribe has been captured. They’re held inside the Blue Mountain where another tribe of strange, tall elves lives. All their lives the Wolfriders have fought against humans but now to their amazement they notice that the humans near Blue Mountain worship the elves inside. Cutter is determined to free his tribe, of course.

The new elves call themselves Gliders and they have gigantic bond birds. Strongbow shot one of them for food and that’s why they enslaved the tribe. The Wolfriders are given a way to make amends but can they trust the new elves? Because among them is Winnowill, the evil elf that Savah warned Cutter about. She and the other Gliders call themselves the High Ones, the ancestors of all elves but can that be true?

In this story we get to know more about the Wolfriders’ origins and about the mysterious High Ones.

These stories are darker than the previous ones. Characters are tortured and face the consequences of that. There’s more violence than in the previous collection. We also see the dark side of recognition. In the first collection Cutter recognized Leetah and she resisted him because he was a stranger and in her eyes a savage who brought to Leetah and her village permanent change which she didn’t want. But in time, she was able to overcome her objections and fell in love with him. But here we see the power of recognition as the purely biological drive that it is; a method to select a male and a female whose offspring would be the most talented and powerful among elves. That drive doesn’t care if the two are in any way compatible with each other or already in relationship with someone else, and it brings a lot of anguish in this case when one young Wolfrider recognizes a Glider. No romance is possible between them, just a biological need.

The collection also ends in a cliffhanger.

Elfquest is one of my favorite fantasy series and it’s a pleasure to reread it. It’s just as visceral and wonderful as I remembered.

The complete collection also includes art from the original issues and the bridge pages from Marvel reprints which are all done by Wendy Pini.