i think it is fair to compare them, but you always have to understand that any comparison is just an opinion and everyone is free to disagree especially since opinions differ a lot between people as to what constitutes fun in a game.
personally i think the warlock is great and when it comes to the core of the game mechanics:
-combat (exterminate): perfectly done for this kind of 1upt combat, much better than ciV
-city management (expand): simple yet elegant without the need of a gamey research tree
-world map and different planes (exploit & explore): this is severely lacking in FE and is a requirement to any spiritual successor to MoM
are very well done especially because the game plays very fluid and there are not a lot of empty turns. this is where is feel E:FE falls short, here the core game mechanics are boring, tedious with a lot of turns where not much is happening and the economy is a lot of number crunching. on the other hand elemental has a lot of detail feature bloat (i mean that in a good sense) that is somewhat lacking in Warlock, which could use more factions and monsters. especially monsters that fit thematically the different planes. personally i enjoyed the demo so much that i played it multiple times and i can not await its release. as for elemental i try it out if every new beta patch, but stardock is not touching the core mechanics which desperately need rebalancing and tuning to make the core game fun, which it currently is not. i play the game on challenging and the ais are total pushovers while all i do is just walk with my sovereign over the map and breed an unbeatable super unit.
i do have several small gripes with warlock however:
-city spam to prevalent (an increase in settler cost should be enough)
-i would like to see spells thematically ordered like in AoW2:SM or MoM
-no heroes and artifacts (although you have weapon/armor perks and the preorder dlc are some sort of heroes)
-is a bit lacking content wise in races and neutral monsters