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Poison Elves #28
posted June 19, 2006

Creators: Drew Hayes
Publishing Information: Sirius comics, $2.50
Ordering Numbers:

According to the last Diamond Distribution figures I saw, Poison Elves is now outselling both Elfquest -- whose once-popular depiction of elves is part of a fantasy movement creator Drew Hayes plays off of -- and Cerebus -- whose creator's storytelling style still dominates Hayes' own. There may be something nasty and funny to say about that, but I would chalk up the success of Poison Elves to Hayes' industry and the desire by a significant portion of a dwindling comic book-reading fanbase for reading material that is genre-based but not necessarily "superheroic."

Poison Elves fits that bill, certainly. The latest issue is what looks like an installment in a several-issue revenge fantasy, in which lead character Lusiphur interrogates the hateful Sgt. William Perry (he's fat, an authority figure, and boastful -- an obvious bad guy) about the identity of a murderer. There's a lot of shooting (Lusiphur has a gun), some buddy to buddy humor (a couple of guys who've have obviously made appearances in earlier issues, debating whether or not to step in against or for the much tougher Lusiphur), and some ponderings about the male ego, Perry's in particular from the opening sequence's stripper.

I don't really care for this at all, so much so that I have a hard time making a qualitative critical judgment on it. I don't mind fantasy as a genre, but what I've enjoyed about past comics in that vein -- luscious artistic depictions of fantastic places, storytelling so fundamental it's almost basic -- aren't here. The figure art is reminscent of Dave Sim about 20 years ago: heavy blacks and little variation in line.

I'm guessing that a lot of Poison Elves' fans respond to Lusiphur's bad-ass, regular guy style, and grow fond of the characters. But to me they're boring. I don't get any special thrill out of a regular elf, so it stands to reason the fact that he's a poison one doesn't seem that much more interesting.

This review was written in the late 1990s as part of a then-ongoing freelance gig; I apologize if it reads oddly or seems incomplete.