Disclosure: The reviewer received a review copy of this book via NetgalleyElves, Vol. 1 by Jean-Luc Istin, Kyko Duarte, Nicolas Jarry, Gianluca Maconi
Genres: Comics, Fiction, Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
Type: Graphic Novel
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I’ve been having trouble writing this review. This is odd given that I really enjoyed the book. The setting is rich and grand, the artwork is exquisite. So, what’s holding me back?
Elves, Vol. 1 is a U.S. re-release of the French graphic novel series Elfes. The series takes place in a fairly standard fantasy world with humans, elves, orcs, etc. Volume 1 contains the first two issues of the original series: The Crystal of the Blue Elves and The Honor of the Silvan Elves.
In the first story, the Blue Elf Lanawyn and her human friend Turin investigate the destruction of a Blue Elf town and the murder of its residents. We also meet the Blue Elf Vaalann, who may have access to a great Elven weapon. The second story has human princess Llali seeking help from the dangerous Silvan Elves. Each story is a vignette that hints at a much larger world rich in culture and history.
And yet, the stories themselves were not very compelling. Neither were the characters–I just had to look up some of the names, because I already forgot them. Which brings me back to my review troubles. I legitimately enjoyed the book, and will read the others in the series as they come out. I just can’t think of much to say about it.
Several things do stand out to me upon reflection:
- As previously noted, the stories are embedded in a much larger world. The worldbuilding is phenomenal, and the book hints at much more to come.
- The writers pull no punches. They aren’t afraid to show real consequences for main characters.
- The artwork is superb. The views of exotic locations and Elven designs generate a terrific sense of wonder.
What Makes it Epic Grit:
- Adventure and Wonder: It’s set in a fantasy world with elves and magic and plenty of action. The artwork does a lot of the heavy lifting.
- Believable Characters: Somewhat. In truth, the characters are mostly archetypes.
- Real Consequences: Unflinching.
- Epic in Scope: Yes.
- Subverts “Good versus Evil” Tropes: No. While there are some nods to the idea of a noble adversary, these are ultimately “Good vs Evil” stories.
- Different Perspectives: Not really. The stories present the traditional perspectives.
The stories are mostly standard fare, with a little bit of edge to them. But the artwork is dazzling! I look forward to seeing future volumes.