Written by Miguel Guerra, Suzy Dias
Art by Miguel Guerra
Samurai Elf, Vol. 1: Set Apart
Release date: November 1, 2006
Samurai Elf, Vol. 2: Bulls Eye
Release date: November 4, 2008
Samurai Elf follows the adventures of the last elf on the planet Tyr. Ardan knows nothing about his past, but he suddenly becomes a very popular being. Problem is, not all of his “fans” have his best interest at heart. Thus begins Ardan’s tale of self-discovery and world adventure. Volume 1: Set Apart, keeps it simple by introducing the main influences in Ardan’s life, from a master Samurai Dwarf, who’s training Ardan really finds draining, to Keegan, a feisty, female samurai who takes a liking to Ardan and realizes her life has been too boring for too long, decides to share his quest for answers and destiny.
Along the way we also meet some of the Hordes horrific minions. Enhanced robotic humans who have allowed themselves to be transformed into hideous killing machines in order to do their “Fury’s” bidding. Namely, capture Ardan. But some of them are willing to risk “recycling” to gain vengeance on the last elf.
We also catch a glimpse of a seemingly dark power inside of Ardan himself. Is this why all of Tyr seems to be after him?
Volume 2: Bull’s Eye ups the ante right up front. Many ideas not present in the first volume are introduced here. Interesting, complex themes that fit into the first book yet not touched upon in it. Was Guerra and Dias setting us up in the first volume just to sucker punch us in the second? Not all of these new story points are explored fully in this book either. Leading me to believe that there is much more to Ardan’s story even after he and Keegan reach Castell and are seemingly captured by a bounty hunter husband and wife duo.
They use some flashback scenes to fill you in on what was going on in the first book behind the scenes to get everyone where they are in book two. The Horde and their evil, twisted mechanizations are graphically presented while some of the people who will aide Ardan are getting their posse on to back up the young elf. There are also interludes of some lighthearted fun to balance off the destruction, evilness, and downright creepiness of the Horde and their constructs.
For large editions, both volumes of Samurai Elf are both quick, easy reads. They are real page turners. I kept needing to go past the page of the book that I arbitrarily chose as my stopping point just to find out what would happen.
Some of the events do not seem to come together naturally and some scenes don’t seem necessary. But I think those are the scenes where writers Miguel Guerra and Suzy Dias are humanizing these non-human participants. He may get carried away sometimes, but that’s how we humans are.
The artwork is very appropriate to the style of the story. It is simple and effective. It borders on cartoony with moments of manga. The second volume is in color, but I don’t think that was necessary. It really doesn’t add to the characters, story, or scenery which are all adequately depicted in black and white in volume 1.
Guerra and Dias have come out of the gate very strong with Samurai Elf. They have room to grow both artistically and storywise and I’d like to see how they develop alongside Ardan, their Samurai Elf.