The story within Elves, ironically enough, follows the journey of a human woman named Llali, whose country is being invaded by ork [Sic] mercenaries hired by the city states of Archipelago. Her Father’s lands, Eysine, are being challenged for the potential monetary gains that access to the hook strait could bring to their merchants. It is during this war, that Llali decides to enlist the help of the Sylvan, also known as Wood, Elves to try and bring together a united front of man and elf that has not been seen in three centuries. This kind of historical detail is one of the absolute highlights of the tale. Each nation and race has a clear and distinct history with each other, making the world seem unique and alive. The amount of history though, does cause a bit of slow down with heavy exposition at times but, the back story of this world is so interesting it does little to hurt the narrative. This issue also touches on the larger issue of deforestation, with the elves fighting to preserve the forest and the humans being seen as a threat to destroy it. It creates an interesting and relevant discussion, while never feeling as if certain social views are being forced on the reader. The argument for preserving the forest fits naturally into the larger history of the elven people.
The narrative also does a great job avoiding becoming a typical damsel in distress tale by giving Llali both, fighting prowess, and powers she never knew she had, that would later be described as the gift. When she does find herself in distress, a young would elf named Yfass comes to rescue her before she ends up needing to save him instead. It is a nice twist and it gives strength to a character who early on seemed helplessly overwhelmed. Although, with all of this world building occurring, the story does have to remove some parts to make it all fit. This causes one particular fight scene to be completely skipped over after a large amount of solid buildup, which is a bit of a disappointment. The issue also concludes on a low point. There seems to be no sense of finality. Rather, the story just seems to end and it is a bit jarring.
The artwork on the other hand never disappoints. The environmental designs are absolutely breathtaking. The forest is vibrant and rich with color, the elven Citadel is incredibly awe inspiring, and the elven home world is beautiful in its incorporation of the forest into its architecture. The battles feel large, with countless fighters filling every single panel. Each race feels unique as well. The goblins look like hideous rats, while the orks look like large grotesque monsters. The elves seem to have a glow about them that helps distinguish them from the human counterparts which adds a nice, readily identified, distinction between the two.
Overall, this is a phenomenal fantasy book that may not redefine the genre, but it does a fantastic job creating a deep world within it.
Story: Jarry Art: Christina Cox-De Ravel
Story: 7.5 Art: 10 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy
Delcourt provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review