I read Shards #1 last night - man, this is exciting! You know how sometimes a comic comes in that you've been eagerly anticipating, and you have to sit in your car and read it because you can't even make it home from the comics store? It was one of those nights. I wasn't reading EQ yet when the first war for the Palace happened. This series is really going heavy on the suspense and intrigue already - I can picture me chewing my nails off every month, especially with all the fan speculation about who's going to die. (Watch y'all throw us a curve ball and kill off absolutely nobody. Yeah, right...)
Gotta say, my favorite scene in the first issue was "Lady Venovel"'s encounter with Rayek. It reminded me of one of my favorite EQ sequences of all time, where Suntop and Savah took on Winnowill's spirit during Siege at Blue Mountain and managed to escape unscathed. The thought that anyone could turn the tables on Winnowill's predatory role in the spirit realm was more of a surprise than Rayek's new ability to "go out." That seemed pretty natural to me, as he is one of the closest-to-High-One elves alive, and going out is the next step up from sending. Anyway, we need more scenes like this!
I like Two-Edge's inclusion as well. Having him around always throws some psychodrama into the works, as Winnowill can never really anticipate his next move. What I didn't like was Winnowill's reversion to elf form when she got tired - since when does shapeshifting work like that for the elves? She's not Chameleon Boy! I thought any change in form took effort, but she never reverted to an air-breather when she got tired during her time under the sea, did she? Minor point, I guess. Talk (send?) to you later.
Sean Sinclair (via Internet)
From: El Aurens (via America Online)
"For Cutter, Blood of Ten Chiefs, the End Begins Now..."
Yuck! What could that mean, other than that the character who is heart and soul of the Elfquest universe is going to bite it in this series? I know the Pinis often throw curveball hints of things to come, but this seems pretty unambiguous. There has been a lot of talk of sellout on the boards. If the "universe" has reached the point that Cutter is dispensable to its existence, then that, more than anything else, indicates a sellout. I could be misreading this hint, to RPini's glee, but if not...
A few other points of discussion:
1) Gee, we're really hard on our "villains," aren't we? Even after "Rogue's Challenge," Rayek is still acting like a jerk. Two-Edge, who seemed to have been redeemed at the end of Siege at Blue Mountain, is up to no good of the first series magnitude now, perhaps worse. This seems to send the message that no one can truly be redeemed.
2) There's an exception to my sentiments concerning this, namely Winnowill. Since original EQ 14, we've been hearing about her "healing." I, for one, will be content if she never gets healed. I want to see her in a body- (and spirit) bag. Given the chance, would we forgive Hitler?
3) I love the art in Wavedancers, but the shaky storytelling and generally wantonly bawdy atmosphere leave a bit to be desired. I think the first will improve with time, and I'll have to get used to the second.
4) I HAD gotten used to Barry's art, then he gets this co-artist. I would rather see Warp go back to irregular schedules than whip their artists into a situation like this.
5) Winnowill must have became even more magically puissant in the healing/shaping/anti-healing arts during the Wolfriders long sleep (considering the time lapse, this isn't unreasonable), considering her ability to instantaneously 1. heal a fatal wound WHILE SUFFERING FROM that wound, 2. turn a human's body into mush (Two-Edge's pa seemed to take some time), and 3. shape from elf to human. Given this magnitude of power, it would be a colossal stretch to expect "the Wolf to be able to stand up to her on any level.
6) Predicted Shards bodycount: well, Venka might survive. And a handful of "lesser" characters in Wolfrider camp. Come to think of it, Praise the High Ones for the split. Anyway, I predict no more Rayek, no more Two-Edge, no more Winnie, no more Strongbow, and no more Cutter, at least. And people stopped reading when One-Eye died!
7) Aroree looks a helluva lot better with her hair out. I always thought she had silver or gray hair. I suppose that, free of Winnowill's onus and her admitted Skywise addiction, she has regained youth on her own.
Subj: Re: Tyleet's cubling
From: AL G R (via America Online)
I just got a copy of "Shards" #1. From looking at this artwork I guess I can see why some people would criticize Barry Blair and the others. No confusion between Elf and Human here, even when it's the same person! I won't spoil it for those of you who haven't read it yet, but it's still mostly establishment.
I can't help noticing how much some of the characters appearances have changed though. Aroree looks quite different with the flowing yellow hair (she's always seemed out of place as anything but a glider), and the brief look at Winnowill as an elf hardly looks like the icy face from Blue Mountain. (Though her human face does.) Perhaps it was an overreaction by her shape changing magic, but she looks like a young Wolfrider. I've e-mailed the usual gang an old/ new graphic of this, and if anyone else wants to see it, E-mail me. (Or one of the others who can forward it to you without uploading it again.) Probably the most chilling part was the first letter at the end - while reading it occurred to me that it seemed possible that EVERYONE except possibly Mender could be dead by the end of this!
Strangely enough on the other hand, the most comforting argument against this seems to be that the chapters so far are named after building materials. (#1 is "Clay", #2 will be "Wood") - This suggests a constructive, rather than destructive theme. (Am I that much in need of comfort?!) Of course on the third hand, for anything to be built, something else must be destroyed. (!) Yes, we do pay these people to do this to us! That last panel certainly suggests an industry versus nature theme. (As well as a technology level with no Earth equivalent.)
Wasn't Two Edge heeled by Leetah? And THEN he lets Winnowill shape him into a human? Or is that what happened? The Djun must have met Two Edge BEFORE Winnowill too, which means that if it was her, then she did it before the palace returned in KoTBW. (It was all a dream. - RP)
This Djun guy is being set up to be formidable, but so far, he hasn't really been shown to do anything that suggests he is Winnowill's equal in anything but cruelty. I guess this will come. Someday. Along with the next issue. And the end of this post. Bye.
Sb: #Shards #1 a Winner
Fm: D Barer [74033,167] (via Compuserve)
Just have to write and tell you how much I enjoyed SHARDS #1. The paring down of the cast really appears to streamline the action--the storytelling was as direct and engaging as the original series. And you're getting the most bang for your buck from advancing the storyline into a time when humans have grown more sophisticated. It gives us a human with human drives and twists, the Djun, complex and Machiavellian enough to really engage in conversation with Winnowill. (By the way, she must be taking Berlitz courses in human-speak!) I found the games between WW and Two-Edge, with their wide-ranging consequences, one of the most exciting aspects of the original series; now it goes to another level, with humans willing to use T-E's technology and possessing more imagination and drive than his former troll pawns. The scene with the steam powered clearcutting machines at the end was a real shocker, with the most modern machines we've seen yet about to come into direct conflict with the Wolfriders' home turf. Keep it up and I'll be there every issue!
You are going to kill off Cutter. Don't bother denying it; I know things about comic books. Okay, so I don't. Call it a well-educated hunch. To quote my brother, "Cutter has outlived his usefulness. They have overdeveloped him and he's too darn predictable now! They have to kill him off because there's nothing else to do with him."
I have argued since July that he's full of dreamberries, but now I think I agree with him. Well, not really. I don't think Cutter has outlived his usefulness. I love the guy. I think you can still do a lot with him, but it won't be easy. He is a very dynamic character, and dynamic characters are hard to write about. So anyway, the question is no longer will he die, but how soon?
Will you focus on Skywise's loss of a brother for awhile and get his hopes (not to mention Leetah's and Ember's) up for a safe return? Will you kill Cutter off immediately? I tend to think that Cutter will live until the war is almost over. I think Winnowill will have a lot to do with his death because Cutter's strength is in his family and they aren't around now. Before that, I predict that Rayek is going to grow to admire Cutter. They might even become fast friends. (Pause here while I snort in derision.)
I guess I could be logical and say the details no longer matter because the outcome is assured... but they matter to me!!! I love Cutter! He is the most developed and complex, deep, emotional, responsible, admirable character ever to walk the face of Elfquest comic books, and you plan to kill him anyway! I protest! Don't kill him! He's valuable!
Well, I guess I've chewed enough Rawhide for one letter. One last thing. Please continue to keep us posted on the Alaskan wolf crisis. (I'll keep readers abreast in the Blood of Ten Chiefs comic series. - RP) They're reintroducing wolves in Arizona now. I'll send along an article with this letter. If we keep fighting, the idealist in me says that eventually wolves will be safe to roam the Earth as they once did many centuries ago.
<<street address removed from archive>>
Well, it seems that the speculation is running along at a frenzied pace. Stick with us - Shards has already been plotted through issue #18, and there's no end of surprises in store. And keep those letters and email files coming in. See you in 30! - RP