Adults, teens, older kids; mild violence, offscreen sex
It has been forty years since humankind made peace with the alien
Neverending. Unfortunately, a faction within the Neverending
wants to restart hostilities. Knowing that the mysterious teleporting/telepathic
woman Jink had something to do with the initial peace way back
when, the Doma (head of the human government) attempts to bring
her in to interrogate her and get her help in this matter. Unfortunately,
the Black Snakes (boosted human telepaths) they send after her
merely annoy her, so the Doma tries a different tack: she sends
Kullyn Kenn, a barely telepathic tweak, to try to lure her into
the open. Although Jink is attracted to Kullyn and has some sex
with him, she doesn't remember dealing with the Neverending at
all--she has the ability to wipe memories and obviously wiped
that one. She also is not interested in helping the human government.
When Kullyn reports his failure, he finds himself press-ganged
into becoming an ambassador to the Neverending, a probable suicide
mission. Jink, accordingly, stows away on his spaceship to help
him. Besides the Neverending, they have to contend with hostile
humans who want to restart the war, the jealous Black Snakes
who have agendas of their own (and who will take their agendas
to more dangerous extremes in Mindcoil),
and the significance behind Jink's lost memories and what they
mean to the Neverending.
Well, darn. This is one of the weakest of the Elfquest titles.
As a rule I like John Ostrander and Wendy Pini's work, and their
collaboration is not bad, but neither is it particularly interesting.
The story moves too slowly and is too low-key much of the time;
it's surprisingly wordy for an Elfquest title, though this perception
may be based partially on the artwork (see below). But the characters
just aren't people we care about much. As in the two "Rebels"
titles (Rebels and Skyward
Shadow), the creators made the mistake of emphasizing
humans rather than elves, and who cares about humans? The joy
of the Wolfriders was that they were like us yet unlike us; there
is no such joy here. Jink is a fairly two-dimensional creation
(though she would be fleshed out more in Mindcoil), and
Kullyn Kenn, while a nice guy, is hardly the kind of lead character
whose exploits one wants to follow. Moreover, the situation begs
the question: would you send a diplomat with a dubious/nonexistent
track record to negotiate in this delicate and tense situation?
Even if some people in the government want the mission to fail,
would you be that obvious about setting up the poor guy? Would
you tell this to his face and expect him to be cooperative after
that? Anyway, the contrivance is rather annoying and beneath
what we've come to expect from Elfquest.
As for the art... "amateurish" may be too strong
a word, but it's close to what I want. This is some of the worst
post-Pini art in the canon. The art is stiff and conventional
with little to attract the eye. I was going to single out motion
scenes as being especially clumsy, but then I realized that even
static talking heads scenes are awkward, because the various
artists are poor at the subtleties of facial expression; eyes
get big, eyes get narrow, eyes tear up, brows furrow, but mouths
never change. (There are a lot of closeups of eyes, too, which
is very cliched.) There are also a lot of full, three-quarters,
and half profiles, which looks very artificial. Proportions are
inconsistent as well. The pages with input from Dennis Fujitake
(the final chapter of the book) are somewhat better. Still, one
mourns for the days when Wendy Pini did all the illustration,
and one wonders if the story would have come off better with
more adept cartoonists.
Is she happy? Sad? Sleepy? How about him?
Eyes, eyes, everywhere eyes....
Copyright 1999, Warp Graphics
Jink! should be part of a comprehensive Elfquest collection,
but it is a weak title that will likely disappoint most EQ fans.
It certainly should not be purchased as the only representative
of the EQ catalog.