If you’re familiar with Barry Blair’s work, you know Barry Blair could be, what some people might call… unusual. He wrote some eccentric comics, such as Leather & Lace, but what he’s most widely known for probably, is his work on Elflord.
Elflord was originally a six issue black and white series, that – at the time of its release – was a pretty hot commodity. The first two issues sold out fairly quickly, and reprints were made for people who were craving Elflord.
I figured I’d cover the first six issues about it. Why? Mostly because I was a fan of the original mini series, and developed a fondness for the characters, when the ongoing series launched later. I even had the good fortune of meeting Barry Blair at one of the comic conventions where he took the time to sit down and talk to me at lunch (I had drawn a picture of Toro on a comic book backing that he was – in his words, impressed by – but he was probably just being kind to a fan).
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The issue begins in the walled city of Greenhaven at the Black Raven Inn – favorite watering hole for the King’s Soldiers. Inside the Inn, Hawk Erickson sat with his two closest comrades – Purebreeze andFalcon. Hawk, a part of the King’s Royal Guard is upset that the Princess has left for her uncle’s castle.
Brolo, an over weight and over confident elf, stirs trouble with Hawk. However, after Brolo hits Falcon, knocking him over, Purebreeze kicks Brolo between the legs, sending him crumbling to the ground. Hawk, Falcon and Purebreeze decide to leave, where outside they meet up with their friend, Windblade Greensleeve, a white haired elf belonging to a magical race known as the Sidhe.
Brolo, who apparently hasn’t learned his lesson yet, steps outside and charges Purebreeze. This time it is Hawk who stops Brolo’s assault by disarming him – then with another slash of his blade – slicing the fabric that held Brolo’s pants up. A stunned Brolo is then kicked over by Hawk.
Elsewhere inside the castle, Doran – the King’s trusted adviser (who by the way – the last thing he looks is trustworthy! But that’s neither here nor there!) – makes plans to take over the castle and rule (see, told you he didn’t look trustworthy).
Doran tells the King that there is a Mystic Stone in the Valley of Endless Mists; the King insists that the journey would be too dangerous for Doran to take – so the King then suggests that his Royal Guard go in Doran’s place to find the Mystic Stone.
Hawk, Windblade and Purebreeze are sent to fetch the Mystic Stone on the following day. Brolo soon joins them, apologizing for his drunken behavior from the night before.
A day into the adventure, Windblade senses that something has been following them; leaving the horses to go, Hawk and the others take to the road on foot and soon discover a band of trolls seems to be in pursuit of them.
Veering off slight, Hawk leads the others down a road to Dragonsfield, where an old friend runs the ferry at the River of Red. With the assistance of Burnster, Hawk and the others cross the River of Red and depart at Bear’s Head Falls.
Elsewhere, Doran asks to speak to the King in private. The King sends his servants away and walks with Doran, who then plunges his dagger into the king. The only witness is Falcon – who Doran accuses as the murderer. The guards seize Falcon and drag him down to the dungeon.
Back with Hawk, they climb a steep cliff to have small boulders fall on them from above; immediately realizing that the trolls are still trailing them. They enter a small cavern that is littered with bones and occupied by a Srith – which is a giant humanoid lizard with four arms.
Hawk and Purebreeze prove effective, while Brolo nearly gets killed; only to be saved by Windblade. Hawk then, with dual blades, leaps on the creature’s back and severs the creature’s head.
At a city known as The Devil’s Doorway, a young warrior named Bran shows up to help defend against the oncoming onslaught. After running into a large humanoid, Bran becomes turned around and eventually ends up in a room where unusually shaped round creatures with large eyes seem to be pulling people through a hole in the ground. He too is nearly dragged beneath, when suddenly a large rock lands on the hole; thrown by the large humanoid that Bran had run into earlier. The old wizard pays Bran twice the amount the city would be paying him.
And that’s how the first issue ended.
The issue begins with Purebreeze, Windblade, Hawk, and Brolo at the verge of the Valley of Endless Mist. Windblade claims he can sense the Mystic Stone and that they’re close. Following Windblade’s lead, he leads them to a small cottage house that’s tucked away between enormous tree branches.
Outside the cottage, there’s a man with a great beard, who tells Windblade that he’s been expecting him and invites them all inside. Once inside, the man explains that Doran has assassinated the King and taken the castle for himself, imprisoning all those that were loyal to the King.
The man then explains that Windblade is to inherit great power and become a powerful wizard. The man gives the Stone of Power to Windblade, who senses it touching his mind. The man explains that it is showing him the knowledge that he was destined to learn from the very race he was from – The Sidhe – the White Haired Elves.
Windblade is told he must remain with the man so that he can teach him the new powers. The man then gives Hawk, Purebreeze and Brolo woodsman outfits, since Daron has ruled that the Royal Guard are outlaws, and the woodsman outfits would allow them to move more freely.
Hawk, Purebreeze and Brolo find themselves surrounded and attacked by trolls that claim that Doran will offer a pretty price for Hawk’s head. Hawk fends off one troll, while another renders Purebreeze unconscious. Hawk saves her in the nick of time by throwing a dagger at the troll’s back – which doesn’t kill it – but it turns its attention on Hawk.
Hawk is saved when suddenly arrows fill the bodies of the trolls; falling them all. Several Elves reveal themselves and explain that they were followers of the King who escaped Greenhaven when Doran took over. The elf explains that Doran had also instructed that the Princess return to Greenhaven, and he plans to use her to prevent any form of retaliation against him.
The scene shifts to the other story…
Far below the besieged city of Kusachi, Nendo the witch is clearly upset that Koeta has what she wants – the Scepter of Power. And she would be correct.
The scene shifts to a third story, where a being by the name of Wuthersnike threatens to beat Meg for resting – rather than preparing everything for the Princess’ arrival. An individual named Pike shows up and hands Meg a gleaming brooch like item claiming that they had passed it to him – to give to her. Cora tells Meg that they must get back to work and prepare for the Princess’ arrival, and funeral of the Princess’ father.
Pike returns to his stables to find a squire looking around for a missing brooch. Pike threatens the squire for poking around in his stables, just as someone comes by asking what has taken so long. The squire informs him that he can’t find it and the two depart.
Lord Vanian reports to Doran. Doran questions about the siege – and Lord Vanian explains it has just begun. Doran then asks about the Scepter of Power, and Lord Vanian answers that he knows where it is – but is aware that the witch Nendo also knows its location. Doran then explains he will send some Shades after the Scepter of Power.
The cover of issue #3, is what originally made me pick up ElfLord. I had missed the first two issues originally – but managed to get the originals.
The issue opens up with Doran questioning Falcon and two others from the King’s Royal Guard. Falcon refuses to answer Doran’s questions, so Doran has two guards haul off the other two – leaving Falcon inthe chamber alone.
Outside, Hawk, Brolo and Purebreeze make plans to free Falcon and rescue the princess. Purebreeze tells Hawk to go after the Princess and leave Hawk to her and Brolo.
The scene shifts to Windblade and the wizard. Windblade tries making a mixture which causes a small explosion.
The scene shifts again, and this time Hawk climbs into the Princess’ window. She is startled by his appearance, because he is wearing a woodsman outfit, but he lets her know there are plans to rescue her.
The scene shifts yet again, this time we see one of Doran’s guards getting their throat slit by Purebreeze. Purebreeze makes quick work of several guards – she is bested by one – but then saved by Brolo. Inside they find Falcon, but are confronted by another guard – this one well armed. Hawk arrives and combats the guard on his own – easily besting him by severing his head.
This issue features the first reprint of a story done by Roger Camm and Barry Blair; originally titled “Windblade” but renamed to be Windblade’s father in the interest of continuity.
While Hawk and Windblade had fairly unique looks, Barry’s art for the standard characters, all bared a striking resemblance to one another (unless he was drawing a character to specifically look very unusual).
The issue begins with Hawk, Falcon and several of the others who had come to their aid in the previous issues making their way through the castle. Just outside the castle, Purebreeze, Brolo and the others wait for Hawk and the others to make their way through the castle to lower the draw bridge.
Falcon tells Hawk to go after the princess while he takes a squad to go and lower the bridge to let the others in, knowing that once Doran realizes that he’s under attack – his first move would be to use the princess as leverage.
Inside the tower, Doran senses that something is wrong.
Elsewhere, Falcon and the others continue to move through the castle, encountering no guards as they reach the Gatehouse.
However, at that moment, an arrow slays one of the elves that is with Falcon. Realizing that the archers had been in waiting, Falcon and the others make a quick run for the Gatehouse. However, other guards, positioned ahead of them drop foot spikes, stopping Falcon and the others from pressing forward.
Two of Doran’s servants encounter Hawk and the one elf who has followed Hawk, named Sparrow. Hawk makes quick work of one of the guards with Doran’s servant. The other guard takes Sparrow out by kneeing him in the groin. The surviving guard tries to use Doran’s servant to throw at Hawk. Hawk dodges, and the servant’s back cracks against the wall. Hawk then uses his sword to cut the guard’s top half of his head off. Hawk helps Sparrow to his feet.
Back near the Gatehouse, several of the guards move in on Falcon and his remaining men, who are struggling to even stand, due to the foot spikes in their feet. Not to be victimized, Falcon lunges and stabs the first guard. The others rise up to their knees, and quickly over take the other guard. Falcon crawls to the Gatehouse and opens the gate, allowing Purebreeze to lead the remaining forces into the castle.
The scene shifts to Hawk who enters the Princess’ chamber – only to find Doran and a Srith waiting for him and Sparrow.
The other half of this issue is the reprinted story once entitled “Windblade” mentioned in the previous issue.
The scene opens with Purebreeze and Brolo fighting Doran’s army. Brolo points out that Doran has clearly hired and assortment (and a rather vast one at that!) of rogues and scoundrels into his army. Purebreeze tells Brolo to take a few of the elves and break off from the attack and go find Hawk and make sure he’s doing all right.
Outside, in the village surrounding the castle, Windblade shows up at the tavern. The tavern owner informs him that Hawk and the others have attacked the castle to try and free everyone from Doran’s evil control. Windblade leaves insisting the Hawk needs his help.
Inside the castle, Hawk confronts the Srith. As Hawk fights the Srith, Doran taunts Hawk by informing him that he plans on escaping – but first, he will be throwing the Princess off from the top tower before making his escape.
Inside the tower, Windblade comes across Falcon and several others who are still wounded with foot spikes. Windblade draws from magical energies and manages to heal Falcon and the others.
At the top of the tower, just as Doran prepares to push the princess from the top of the tower, Brolo and one other elf show up – Doran commands his servants to attack Brolo, which sends Brolo toppling on top of the elf who had come for him.
Inside the castle, Hawk continues to fight the Srith, managing to stab it. However, the Srith bats Hawk away. The Srith slams Hawk against the wall, and seems to have the advantage, until Hawk grabs the sword protruding from the Srith and severs the Srith’s arm. The Srith slams Hawk onto the floor and seems about ready to finish the fight when Falcon shows up with the others.
The Srith manages to kill one of the elves, but Falcon cuts the creature deep, then severs its head.
At the top of the castle, Doran hears the cheers down below and knows that his army of rogues and scoundrels has been defeated. He’s about to toss the Princess from the top of the castle when Hawk and Windblade arrive. Doran tries to cast a spell on Hawk, but quickly discovers that Windblade’s magic is protecting Hawk.
Doran picks up a sword and he and Hawk engage in one on one combat. Doran manages to disarm Hawk, sending his two handed sword flying. Hawk sits there as Doran charges, and at the last moment, draws his katana and cuts Doran open. The Princess embraces Hawk as Doran falls over, pleading that he make the Windblade go away – because he too is a wizard, like Doran. Hawk watches as Windblade leaves, and turns to the princess and explains, “But he is my friend…”
The remainder of this issue has a story from Dave Cooper called “A Very Special Delivery.”
And this is what I mean – when I previously mentioned if Barry wanted to to drawn an unusual looking character to stick out… he had that ability, for sure, as seen on this cover, of the final issue of the limited series.
The issue begins with Hawk and Windblade leaving, realizing that all of Greenhaven is uncomfortable with Windblade’s presence because he was a wizard, which was a painful reminder of Doran.
Hawk and Windblade come across an elf, whose feet have become roots, and fingers are branches. Windblade recognizes the elf as Bran, someone whom he had a dream about and once protected the Scepter of Power. Hawk looks to Windblade and notes that it looks as if he lost.
Hawk and Windblade arrive at Efrian’s hut, the wizard who had taught Windblade his magic. They however discover that he has been decapitated – his head, however speaks and warns them that there’s no one to stop “her.”
Before he can explain who “she” is – Nendo, and her massive collection of flesh, warts, and unusual servants bursts through the door. Windblade notes that she has the Moonstone as well as the Scepter. He tries to stop her from uniting the two, but she kicks him to the side then slams the Moonstone onto the Scepter. She tumbles backwards and falls on one of her servants, crushing him beneath her mass.
Hawk tries to lunge forward but she points the newly powered scepter and says, “Freeze!” so that Hawk and Windblade can not move. With the help of her remaining servants, she is able to stand again and uses the Scepter to resurrect her dead servant into a bloated, floating form.
She ties the floating servant to her waist. She then grabs Windblade and informs him that she will devour him so that his magic enters her body; then tells Hawk that she will sacrifice him to the demons for more magic.
In Nendo’s cave, she prepares a cauldron and commands her minions to throw Windblade into the cauldron, which they do. Realizing he must act fast, Hawk points to one of her demons and informs her that it has candy. Lunging for the demon, seeking the candy, she hits the cage that encases Hawk, which shatters on the floor. Hawk quickly grabs his sword which had been laying on the floor and severs the head.
She prepares to use the Scepter to end the fight – Windblade yells to stop her. Hawk throws his sword which cuts through her wrist so that she drops the Scepter. The Moonstone shatters, so that she loses control of the demons she once commanded. The demons, free of her control, turn on her and devour her. Hawk and Windblade make their escape during the chaos and confusion.
So ends Volume One.
The remainder of the issue has a story entitled “Death Caller” by Gordon Derry and Dave Cooper.