Collects Elfquest 16-21
Writers: Wendy and Richard Pini
Artist: Wendy Pini
Publishing year: 1989
Publisher: Father Tree Press
The comic has a continuous storyline, so spoilers for the previous collections.
Most of the Wolfriders survive the troll ambush and meet the final new elf tribe, the Go-Backs. They are warriors through and through, led by their fierce chieftess Kahvi. They ride reindeer but they don’t bond with them the same way that Wolfriders bond with their wolves.
The Wolfriders have come to the north, to a land of ice and snow, looking for the dwelling of their ancestors, the High Ones. Now, they can even feel its pull, from deep below ground.But the trolls have found it first and have claimed it for themselves. The Go-Backs and the Wolfriders must united their forces to get the High Ones’ dwelling back. A bloody battle awaits! Also, Two-Edge, the son of Winnowill, continues to play his riddles with both the elves and the trolls. He seems to be insane and nobody knows what he will do next.
One elf who is thought to be dead, returns! He brings more bickering and confusion to the elves.
Almost all of the questions about the original quest are answered in this volume. The next volumes continue with the Wolfriders lives, tough. This is a great and satisfying conclusion to the original series, so there’s no need to continue further. Personally, I love the elves and read happily the other graphic novels and comics, too.
The elf tribes are pretty different from each other. The Wolfriders and the Go-Backs are both warriors so their cultures look superficially the same. However, the Go-Backs revel in fighting and don’t even want a healer because “she’ll make warriors soft”. The Wolfriders respect every life and fight only when there’s no choice. The war in this volume makes that very clear. The Gliders from the previous volume are insulated and insular; they can’t even have children anymore. The Sun folk are the gentle farmers who don’t have warriors.
The grim tone continues in this final volume when the elves have to go to war. All of the Go-Backs, both female and male, go to fight and some of them die. Out of the Wolfriders, only one adult elf stays behind with the children: the gentle treeshaper Redlance who is a male. There are really no gender roles in the elven cultures as such. First, everyone does what is needed to survive and then what they want to do and have talents for.