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Elfquest: Worldpool. Written by various. Illustrated by various. Poughkeepsie, NY: Warp Graphics, 2000. 1v. (unpaged). (Elfquest Reader's Collection, Book ?). $12.95. ISBN 0-936861-73-8.


Adults, teens, older kids; mild violence

NOTE: I know this book is a collection of various issues of the Worldpool series, but there's no indication of which issues. And yes, that "?" belongs in the series note--it's not something I forgot to look up.

This is an Elfquest "what-if" book, telling stories outside the accepted canon (or thread, if you will).

  • The first story, untitled and taking place "in an untold time between Abode's climb out of its own dark ages and its reach for the stars," concerns the hunter Par Tolfsson. Teased unmercifully because he searches for elves, he tells his story to the young girl Deemer Elder. In his younger days he had stumbled on the ruins of the four-fingered hand-statue worshiped by the Hungtsho (from Forevergreen). Unfortunately, already in possession of the ruins were a handful of Junslanders, who wanted to wipe the knowledge of elves from the planet altogether--and who weren't willing to let Par live to reveal the existence of the statue.
  • "Invasion Infestation" features the "Squirts" (Smurf parodies), who are working with Winnowill to escape their world, where they're "prized as delicacies." By turning Cutter pink and pretending to be relatives of the Wolfriders, they sow chaos, and Winnowill plans to take over when everyone is too distracted to resist.
  • "Small World" postulates a time when all the elf tribes on Abode have been identified and made known to one another. Now, the drastically under-breeding elves have occasional big meetings when all the males look into the eyes of all the females, hoping to trigger a Recognition and a new life.
  • "Return of the Redeye" is a Star Wars parody that mostly involves a flying log.
  • "Long Dream's Ending" concerns the experiences of the Glider, Egg, who remains within Blue Mountain, still maintaining the Great Egg but so attuned to rock now that he is unable to feel emotion. He finds himself in a battle for the Egg's integrity with Timmain, the High One. Is her influence baneful or beneficial?
  • "Grow Wild and the 7 Elves" is a Snow White parody.
  • "King's Cross" is a true alternate history of the Wolfriders, in which Cutter is the half-human son of Bearclaw and a young noblewoman, and the Djun has taken control of all "spirits": elves, trolls, and Preservers. However, Winnowill's spirit is still out there somewhere, creating mischief; so Cutter and the reluctant elves are sent to investigate. Along the way, in between battling Winnowill's creations, Cutter learns things about the Wolfriders and his parents that he never knew.

Of all the Elfquest books, this one is the most uneven in quality. The best stories are the first, "Small World," and "King's Cross," because they postulate things that are worth thinking about. The alternate elf history in the latter story, with Bearclaw performing the deeds that Cutter had performed but in his own style, is especially good. The art in "Small World" is a bit crude, but the idea of all the elves getting together and trying to spark Recognitions is an excellent one--and the story is also pretty funny, with its examinations of the complications of such Recognitions. (If a Sun Villager Recognizes a Go-Back, who goes where after the child has been conceived?) The first story deals with an era that I'd like to see more stories take place in--the "twentieth century" of Abode--but the end of the story is telegraphed too obviously for the "revelation" to be impressive.

On the other hand, "Long Dream's Ending" is unfathomable; I can't figure out how Egg and his Great Egg survived the fall of Blue Mountain, or why Timmain showed up, or her relationship to him. And the three parody stories, with their rambling storylines, goofy art, and unfunny jokes (e.g., Cutter's wolf is called "Acmerunner," Rayek is forced to wear Leetah's clothes when his luggage is lost), grow tiresome very quickly. There wasn't even any point in summarizing them.

Obviously, this is a book for people already very familiar with Elfquest. It's recommended as part of the series as a whole, but it cannot stand alone.

Buy it directly from Warp Graphics!

Copyright 2000, D. Aviva Rothschild


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