Elves, Vol. 1 is a beautiful graphic novel.
This graphic novel contains two parts, written by Jean-Luc Istin and illustrated by Kyko Duarte.
A pair of individuals has discovered that an Elven city has been slaughtered. It looks as though humans may be at the cause of it, further fracturing already tense relations between the species. But not everyone is convinced as to what happened and set out to further investigate. And of course there are some who don’t want anyone poking around.
What works so nicely here is that we are getting a story of epic proportions – an entire race war is on the edge – while we are more directly experiencing the moment to moment journey of just a few individuals. It’s the frame of epic works as you might find in opera (think Wagner’s The Ring Cycle). I tend to really like this sort of story-telling.
On the other hand, it is so incredibly difficult to tell a story with elves and orcs and humans and not immediately place it in the world of J.R.R. Tolkein. Even the gorgeous art is incredibly reminiscent of Peter Jackson’s iconic films. There are some small differences … some of the elves here are blue, for instance, but since a mythos has been set that elves are lithe, with pointy ears, that’s what we get. And since orcs are brutish and swamp-water green, that’s what we get.
The dialog here is more than a little bit simple and stilted. Is it because of the translation? Or is the translation merely capturing the simple language of Jean-Luc Istin? That’s something I can’t tell. But know that it’s the over-all story that will draw you in (along with the art), and not the character patter.
The art is above-average comic-book art. If what you like most in your graphic novel is the art, then this is definitely one you want to consider.
Looking for a good book? If you want a page-to-page-turning excitement, then you might be really disappointed here. But if you like a beautiful art and a high-reaching story that spans the pages rather than living on each one, then the graphic novel, Elves, Vol. 1, by Istin and Duarte, is the perfect selection.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Elves, Vol. 1
author: Jean-Luc Istin
artist: Kyko Duarte
publisher: Insight Comics
paperback, 177 pages