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Elfquest Graphic Novel 8: Kings of the Broken Wheel

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Rayek has kidnapped Cutter and his tribe, leaving them in the past. Thousands of years later, Rayek will attempt to correct the mistake that first brought the elves to this world. If he succeeds, the Wolfriders will never have existed But the only ones who could possibly stop him are long gone...


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Rayek has kidnapped Cutter and his tribe, leaving them in the past. Thousands of years later, Rayek will attempt to correct the mistake that first brought the elves to this world. If he succeeds, the Wolfriders will never have existed But the only ones who could possibly stop him are long gone...

30 review for Elfquest Graphic Novel 8: Kings of the Broken Wheel

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael Jandrok

    DISCLAIMER: If you’re starting here with “Elfquest” then you are absolutely in the wrong place. If you’re here because you follow these reviews, then I assume that you already know most of the ephemera and odd little bits of trivia that I have included in my other posts. And now….on with the review: WELL! Ok, then. THAT’S the way to end an epic series. For those who have been following along with me, one of my goals for the year was to dig out and read the first eight collected graphic novels in DISCLAIMER: If you’re starting here with “Elfquest” then you are absolutely in the wrong place. If you’re here because you follow these reviews, then I assume that you already know most of the ephemera and odd little bits of trivia that I have included in my other posts. And now….on with the review: WELL! Ok, then. THAT’S the way to end an epic series. For those who have been following along with me, one of my goals for the year was to dig out and read the first eight collected graphic novels in the “Elfquest” series. Those issues represent what I consider to be the “classic” storyline of the “Elfquest” universe. In all honesty, I would have been perfectly happy had Wendy and Richard Pini wrapped things up after the initial twenty-issue run. But look, I get it. It’s difficult to leave old friends behind, especially when those old friends sparked an independent comics revolution and have evolved into a cash-cow enterprise that ensures that the Pinis would never again struggle to put vittles on the table. And if I’m to be TRULY honest, there was certainly plenty of rocket fuel left in the tanks after the first series wrapped. There were lots of unanswered questions and it was not unwelcome to see the story continue. Wendy Pini added a much darker aesthetic to the second stanza of the series when she introduced Winnowill and the Gliders to the tale. That turn of events would provide for a solid take on an Elric of Melnibone-inspired melodrama that would see the Wolfriders and others journey to the very brink of the known world. And I could kind of see where things were going….but I certainly didn’t expect what happens in “Volume Eight, Kings of the Broken Wheel.” THIS book brought the whole “Elfquest” saga home in a brilliantly emotional and fully realized conclusion that makes me realize that “Elfquest” really IS one of the most important and influential comics ever to be released. I won’t give too many spoilers. Suffice it to say that the events that unfold in this volume are truly epic. Rayek, who is now an amped-up power hog with true delusions of grandeur, figures out a way to take the now fully functional Palace on a trip through time in order to meet the original High-Ones at their point of arrival on the World of Two-Moons. He hopes to merge the two timelines into one and thus avert the accident that dropped the original Palace centuries into the past, where the first saga of the Elves begins. The only problem with that is that such an action will wipe out the original timeline, and only those who are in the two Palaces at the time of merging will survive the tempest. Cutter, of course, forbids this as he sees no point in destroying what is essentially now the functional history of the planet. But of course Rayek is now well beyond reason. And then Rayek does the unthinkable. While Cutter and some of the other Wolfriders are out of the palace, Rayek decides to go ahead with his plan and hurl the Palace centuries forward in time. This stroke of madness separates the two groups of Elves. Families are torn asunder. Cutter and Leetah and their children are cut off from one another. Even little Trinket, the Troll spawn of Picknose is placed in harm’s way. And all of this is accomplished with such force and emotional pull that it almost broke my heart. Cutter and his band of time lost Elves must now figure out a way to survive in this new reality. Seasons pass….decades pass…..centuries pass…..the mortal nature of the Wolfrider Clan has never been put into better perspective. Ahhhhhhh, but you surely know that story doesn’t end there. Cutter is pretty resilient, after all. Lives and pathways are forever changed. Winnowill sits at the bottom of the sea and plots. Rayek’s daughter grows up to discover her OWN magic power….a power that may hold the key to stopping his plans in their tracks. Mark my words, this is 150 pages of high drama that make everything that came before it fully relevant and integral to the story. Wendy Pini’s art is as expressive and full of motion as ever. Her backgrounds are sharp, her lines done with deft assurance. The whole book reads fast and is chock full of that kinetic sense of movement and joy that have characterized “Elfquest” right from the beginning. And yes, I know there was and is a lot of Elfquest to be discovered beyond these eight graphic novels. There was the New Blood and Shards storylines, all of the prequel material with Blood of the Ten Chiefs….the Rebels and Jink stories….and I really don’t need all of that to make myself happy. There is true closure here at the end of “Kings of the Broken Wheel” and I’m happy to kind of let go now and move on to other reading projects. I still have the first two “Elfquest Gatherums” to read through, and I might give one of the “Hidden Years” compilations a shot since I have it on the shelf, but I do think that my personal “Elfquest” is more or less at an end. I still have the memories of people going nuts when these comics first appeared. I can see now why they were so emotionally invested in these small characters. There is a sense of humanity to be found in these pages, and that’s what separates the great stories from the humdrum, in my opinion. The Elves, of course, are US…..placed into an uncertain future and told to figure out how to survive and still maintain that sense of home and security. We don’t have control over all of the events that befall us, and that’s scary as hell. But in the end, if we stick to our ideals and our sense of family…..and it really doesn’t matter if that family is blood or found…..then we can overcome almost any sort of adversity and come out ok in the end. Strong messages from an alien race of pointy-eared misfits, but there you have it. Good stuff, man. Five stars for the series as a whole, even if I found one or two of the compilations lacking in small ways. Read it. It’s worth your time.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Ugh, bad facial hair Cutter! What, your family disappears in a flying palace for 10,000 years so you have your midlife crisis? Tacky!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Canita

    This one broke my heart! The separation of the families is so well written that you really hurt along with the characters!

  4. 4 out of 5

    David

    (view spoiler)[Rayek discovers time travel, Cutter goes into Carbon sleep and Winnowill is a mermaid. Best comic ever! (hide spoiler)] In all seriousness, the Pini's continue to display their penchant for strong characterization, gorgeous art and interesting world-building. Highly recommended!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Feld

    In book eight, Rayek decides to use time travel to undo the mistake that first brought the elves to the World of Two-Moons. The only problem is that anyone outside the Palace will be erased when the alternate timeline becomes reality. The book follows both groups, the ones inside the Palace, who are desperately trying to change Rayek's mind before it's too late, and Cutter's band, left behind to take the slow road to the future and hoping they get to see their loved ones again before they either In book eight, Rayek decides to use time travel to undo the mistake that first brought the elves to the World of Two-Moons. The only problem is that anyone outside the Palace will be erased when the alternate timeline becomes reality. The book follows both groups, the ones inside the Palace, who are desperately trying to change Rayek's mind before it's too late, and Cutter's band, left behind to take the slow road to the future and hoping they get to see their loved ones again before they either die of old age or are wiped out of existence. Aside from book one, this is easily the best book in the series. Powerful, complex story and lovely art--everything is spot-on.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rhiannon Graye

    These are a series of graphic novels that I first read in my tweens and hold a special place in my childhood reading. I have since come back to them and re-read them several times, and for me, they continue to stand to the test of time. This series changed drastically in plot and voice after the eighth volume, and increasingly became more and more of the saccharine sweet fantasy fluff that I can't bear to read. The first eight volumes are literary treasures that I continue to cherish.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jewels

    Somehow I was not surprised that Winnowill showed up again. She is such a wonderfully developed evil in the World of Two Moons that it would have been a shame had the Pinis not brought her back to cause more trouble. That being said, it was yet a great continuation to an already fantastic story, and as always, the artwork is superb.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Waterfall

    I didn't actually read this one, since I only have the Danish versions, but I read the online comics. I think it's the first time I've ever read them in English! It's even more heartbreaking and awesome in the original language.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Phoebe

    One of my favorite Elfquest story lines that I "visit" every few years.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Another re-read

  11. 5 out of 5

    sj

    The tree. [sob]

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marcela

    Heartbreaking, but so beautiful.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Auroradaybreak

    Love At First Read!!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    A personal favorite.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Larry

    Hmmm, glad I read it... But nowhere near as good as the original series.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sierra

  17. 5 out of 5

    Eric Baldwin

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nivekian

  21. 5 out of 5

    Madeline

  22. 5 out of 5

    Deanna

  23. 5 out of 5

    Melissa D'Ortenzio

  24. 4 out of 5

    Christine

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michael Tolley

  26. 4 out of 5

    Reinaldo Dos Santos

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jami

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bats

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amber Howard

  30. 4 out of 5

    Aidan

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