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YMMV / ElfQuest

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  • Art Evolution: Sadly averted. Wendy's artwork does become more detailed over time, but by the time she drew The Searcher And The Sword, her hand started to get wobbly. Discovery, the most recent comic in the series drawn by her, is just plain ugly. (A likely reason is the switch from traditional art to drawing digitally from scratch, including what people more familiar with digital art may see as an overuse of stock brushes and the like.)
  • Complete Monster:
    • Guttlekraw (the only entry here to have only appeared in the original run), the ancient king of the mountain trolls, is a slaver, torturer, and tyrant who set the standard for true evil in the world of Two Moons. After trolls caused the crash of the elven castle, Guttlekraw set up his kingdom near the ruins to catch wayward elves. The first victims he caught were three elven children he forced to mine out tunnels with magic; he mutilated them to force obedience. His rival Greymung would later rebel and lead trolls away from the frozen lands, but Guttlekraw ordered an attack on the rebels where those not butchered were enslaved in the iron mines. He personally devoured Greymung alive. Coming into conflict with the Wolfriders and Go-backs, Guttlekraw sent his soldiers out to murder the children while their parents attacked. While ultimately slain, we learn that he had the elven castle encased in iron to spite the elves should he ever fall.
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    • Winnowill, the Big Bad of the whole saga, is an ancient elf who rules Blue Mountain via fear and manipulation. When the Wolf Riders cross her path, Winnowill has one of them tortured and repeatedly attempts to manipulate or kill them, not even leaving the children out of her schemes. Winnowill proceeds to manipulate the humans of the nearby area into attacking the Wolf Riders as well. Despite her obsession with elfin purity, Winnowill is revealed to have seduced a troll named Smelt, bearing a half-breed son named Two-Edge. Murdering Smelt, Winnowill has spent years cruelly abusing her son and horribly damaging his mind. When she gets her hands on the ancient elven palace, Winnowill also attempts to exterminate her enemies with "impure" blood and later assists Grohmuul Djun in his brutal regime. Seemingly neutralized by her former lover Rayek trapping her soul within his own mind, Winnowill constantly attempts to drive him further into darkness or get himself killed to free her.
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    • Grohmuul Djun, Winnowill's brief partner, is a brutal warlord who oppresses his people and seeks to dominate all he sees. Having the architects of a special palace murdered to keep it a secret, the Djun declares himself the only true "higher power," and makes worship of any other punishable by death. To this end, he has Winnowill mutate his hounds into monsters, first demonstrating their savagery by kicking their keeper in to be devoured. The Djun then has them hunt down those who still hold to their old faith and devour them, with any attempts at rebellion publicly executed via "The Birds," a giant device that rips the victim in half.
    • Angrif Djun, Grohmuul's equally vile offspring, attempts to murder his own sister and murders his own father to seize control of his now weakened domain. Angrif allies with other human domains, only to betray and destroy his allies once he has achieved his goals. Attacking an innocent village, Angrif puts it to the torch while having slaves taken from the able-bodied and the old, the women and children murdered, while also attempting to exterminate the elves. When he is castrated in the battle by an elf warrior, Angrif kidnaps an elf healer's former lover with the intention of torturing her to force the healer to mend him. When she escapes, Angrif devotes the remainder of his life to building a massive fleet of ships to exterminate all elves and subjugate the world, destroying all that is "different."
  • Evil Is Sexy: Winnowill. At one point in Discovery, Skywise dreamily reflects that for all the torture and Mind Rape she inflicted on the tribes, the lady had great tits.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The series is huge in the Netherlands, and several conventions have been held (which, with it being such a small country, virtually never happens for one specific series). Likely because homosexuality, polyamory and sex in general are not considered very controversial in the country, and the comic barely merits a 10+ rating.
  • Ho Yay: Several canon male/male couples exist (Dart and Shu-Shen and later Dart and Kimo and finally Dart and Mender, Cutter and Skywise, Cutter and Redlance, Pike and Skot), and there's plenty of Ho Yay to go around otherwise. Particularly funny is a scene with Krim and Skot asking Strongbow, the only remotely monogamous and heterosexual elf in the entire series, to have sex with them.
  • Seasonal Rot: The original quest is fondly regarded. "Siege of Blue Mountain" generally isn't. "Kings of the Broken Wheel". "Shards" and "Hidden Years" seemed to get back to the original quality a little, but Barry Blair's contribution after that left a lot of people feeling vaguely disturbed.
    • The Final Quest seems to have divided many fans in terms of story and art quality.
  • Tearjerker: A notable standout is the story of "Little Patch", a human boy who was left in the wilderness to die as an infant because of a large birthmark on his face. He was Happily Adopted by Tyleet (who even had Nightfall induce lactation so she could feed him), but they eventually part ways as he became too large to stay in the treetops. Decades pass, seeing him become chieftain of the village (after painfully cutting away his birthmark), but as an old man, he rushes out into the woods one night longing to see his adoptive family one last time. The entire end sequence is a tearjerker, as he dies smiling in Tyleet's arms while she sings him a lullaby.
    • The death of Moonshade. Period.
    • The grief and distress of the collective wolfrider tribe (and others) at the death of Cutter.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Line Art: Twice. The colourised Marvel Comics reprints were patchy at best, and the new computer-coloured versions are incredibly garish and obscure a lot of the original black and white linework.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Rayek, pretty much from the get-go, but most prominently in the trial of wits against Cutter in the first volume. Cutter wins because he uses a lodestone to get his sword back. Trouble is, the Wolfriders regard it as a magic item, and Rayek wasn't allowed to use his magic because it presented an unfair advantage in his favor; Savah explains that the lodestone is naturally magnetic, and Cutter only thought of it as a luck talisman because its "magic" would only work for Skywise. Cutter was the one who actually chipped it off a larger lodestone, and the Wolfriders only noticed it because it pulls metal things to itself and clings to them. Naturally, Rayek protests, but even Leetah doesn't stick up for him; Cutter essentially wins a contest of intelligence though idiot's luck. Of course, there's a chance that that was Cutter's plan all along.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: When issue 17 of the original series was published and featured an orgy scene with the Go-backs and Wolfriders before their big battle the Pinis got angry letters from parents complaining that kids read their series. You know, with the violence, death, horror and sexual overtones (especially when it comes to Recognition and the Abduction Is Love situation with Leetah) in the rest of the comic, it's perfectly kid-friendly. (Wendy pointed out that these same parents expressed far more outrage over the happy, affectionate, mutually satisfying sexuality in that issue than over the violence in it and later issues, including a panel in which Clearbrook is seen — in Wendy's phrase — "chopping a troll's face into hamburger".)

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