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Clan-Building #3: Invitation Only

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Duskrider Q writes...

Nobody Asked for My Two Cents (Clan Building, Issue #3)

But, I always give to a worthy cause, however little!

I hadn't realized that the letter under the Masque Invitation on the first page was officially from the government. It looks a bit like themed stationary. Still, MY how Xanatos is moving up in the world. He has amazing status, power, and connections unrelated to his finances.

While we're on the topic of Xanatos, I always like seeing he and Fox being loving parent. This adds to their believability to make them first and foremost people before they are EVIL people. For instance, Fox appearing from the shadows as she invites the gargoyles to try on costumes is suspicious at best, and later Xanatos is dangerously playing the gargoyles as pawns in a game he doesn't have full control over. Yet earlier when she and he are not being malicious and treacherous they're swinging their son around and smiling in the picture-perfect family portrait!

Also, thought Morgan plucking up the courage to ask Elisa out was so cute and sweet and-- dare I say-- she may actually want to go or more than the reason that he's human! I think it's tragic that Jason makes a perfect date now that he's reformed, but crippled as well.

Next, I'm so excited to see the Illuminati in action again. The networking is intriguing. I like that Hacker is unimposing but charismatic. Then he can be threatening enough that you don't try him, like with the shoulder squeeze and an insistence of "Don't be coy." Furthermore, he has every player thinking the Illuminati is backing his respective plans. On that note, I understand why Castaway wants the Gargoyles dead and why Matt wants them protected, but why does Xanatos want them exposed? What good does this do him, and if he's still trying to pay back his debt to Goliath and the clan? I don't think the clan would appreciate the gesture?

Also who is this perfect hypocrite to deny the gargoyle's true identities? Elisa, as a gargoyle-lover? Thailog as a clone but not the real deal? Demona? I'm on the edge of my seat.

Speaking of Demona I find it equally interesting as I find it odd that there is an intact shiny crystal in the middle of the cathedral rubble. I don't think I'm even sitting on my seat anymore.

Anyway, I wanted to like Hedgecock's art (I got the correct artist this time) I really did. But some places I didn't feel he captured the scene or the emotion. Issue #2 was good, great if you like his style. For instance, the chase scenes have a real since of moving fast paced, and the angles are dynamic. But here in issue 3, for example, where Elisa and Goliath are having their gulp break up I don't see the face always reflecting what he says. The resentment, sadness, or hurt looks very nonchalant in some frames. (But maybe the numbness is the point?) I prefer the frame where there's a huge space between them and Goliath is bracing himself against the stone because the emotion is subtle and the space is metaphorical. I suppose I most dislike the lack of details in the background. Characters do not seem to have a lot of distinctive features either. I would give him anoher chance but I can't deny my excitement to see the other artists after this.

And for my last comments…

Lexington and Fox are still great with the wry sense of humor.

Goliath is a BLOCKER! Brooklyn needs lovin' too.

And the safety of the Labyrinth ain't all that safe. Like… most of the time!

Again, I am teeming with anticipations. Can't wait for the party when everyone bumps heads.

Greg responds...

People may have misinterpreted Xanatos' plan for the Gargoyles. He doesn't want to "expose" them. They've already been exposed. He wants to help them find eventual acceptance. To do that, he's "exposing" them to select people in small doses, first by not revealing that they are actually gargoyles, but introducing them, so that people meet them simply as people.

Of course, if that's not clear from the comic itself, I should probably just shut up.

Response recorded on April 10, 2007

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Alex Garg writes...

Without traffic, it's a 30 minute drive to my comic book store. With traffic, it's one and one-half hours. The latter is what I fought in order to get my copy of Gargoyles #3, but I say it was worth the trek.

Of course, there's the required sigh of relief: After 11 years of waiting, new canon! In this true follow-up to "The Journey," we still have some character introductions and blunt exposition, but we might as well get them in one story rather than drag it out; that way we can get to the real meaty canon waiting for us in months down the line.

The non-spoiler version:

The art shows plenty of improvement, and plenty of places where improvement can be had. I think the coloring in this issue matches Hedgecock's style better, but it's still not going to get any rave reviews. I'm somewhat lukewarm to the new characters, but then... they're new. There's a long way to go with them.

But with the SPOILERS (and LOTS of them):

First, let's jump into the art. This is a comic after all, so there's no point in ignoring it. Hedgecock asked for three issues before we cast judgment, and this is issue number three, so: No, I'm not wild about the penciling, but I don't think it's been worth a lot of the fuss that's been made over it. Obviously the fandom has had its share of stellar artists, most of whom I *would* prefer to see taking on a project like this, but I don't see the art here as being too out of synch with a lot of new comics.

Frankly, I found more fault with the coloring of the first two issues than the pencil work, and I think Dustin Evans' work is a better fit for Hedgecock's style. And there's plenty of evidence in this issue that Hedgecock is getting a hang of the character models, so on the whole I feel positively towards the artwork of this issue.

Now, on to the meat:

I liked the reference to the upcoming visit to the White House in the opening page - subtle, but there - although to whomever was in charge of that page: You, er, missed the comma between Washington and D.C.; and even more technically, for an address you would use the postal abbreviation DC and not the D.C. form. I'm just pointing it out as a local, not a critic.

The use of the background radio chatter was a nice way to set the stage in the opening panels, and it segued nicely into the Task Force's meeting, where we meet two new detectives, and three cheers for the reappearance of Martin Hacker! I've been a quiet fan of his for a long time - I just like the idea of a guy who on the outside seems like a pretty mid-level management/agent kind of person, ultimately forgettable, but who in another realm is someone of real consequence. Matt clearly is still a bit upset about having been lead around the bushes by Hacker for so long, and I think that comes out very nicely in their brief "on scene" exchange.

After the meeting, I'm glad it was Officer Morgan who approached Elisa, as there's no way I would see Elisa approaching Officer Morgan - pre-talk with Goliath, anyway. Clearly Elisa was dealing with the many issues which presented themselves in recent nights, and I doubt she was of the mindset to approach a colleague and proposition him for a date.

I was also particularly fond of the exchange with Jason. He's letting her go before anything else needs to be said, and I think it shows that he still has a pretty strong character to be able to fess up to that. And who brought Jason the flowers sitting on the table at the foot of his bed?

Next scene with the gargoyles awake, I like Brooklyn's silent reactions to watching Broadway and Angela make nice as a couple. First it's angst, but by the last panel of page nine, he looks really annoyed at how obvious the two are making it, or perhaps just repulsed by how clingy they seem (they definitely have the new-couple clingy thing going on). It's no surprise he wanted to bail to the Labyrinth (with an appropriate choice of words: primp. Good word. Apt word. Primp).

I did end up feeling particularly bad for Goliath his conversation with Elisa. "I realize your options are limited-" "Limited?!" The laundry list of things she wanted that he couldn't offer, she might as well have pulled out a picture of Norman Rockwell's work and said, "You see this? This is what I want. Can you cook a turkey?"

And that was a very clever way to bring back Demona.

Jumping ahead a little bit to put together all of Hacker's conversations with Bluestone, Xanatos, and Castaway, it's clear he's lying to *somebody,* but I'm hesitant to say that he's lying to *everybody.* Clearly the Illuminati either wants something to do with the gargoyles or nothing to do with the gargoyles. If it's the former, then clearly Castaway's being lied to, and if it's the latter, it seems like the Illuminati are going to excessive lengths to get rid of the gargoyles. Giving Xanatos an order to walk out onto the parapets with a sledgehammer at dawn would be sufficient for that cause.

Of course, I'm not writing the thing, so I can only make guesses at this point.

Getting past the exposition of the Labyrinth, more angst for Brooklyn! It's bad enough he's in proximity to one of the females who outright rejected him, but then he has to suffer a block from Goliath. I mean, wow, the guy has worse luck than I do.

As for the new character introduced in the Labyrinth, I have to say that I gave her a lukewarm reception. She strikes me as awfully third wheel: an apparent acquaintance of an associate to a minor villain doesn't strike me off the bat as someone worth raising much of an eyebrow for. But, then, there are many issues down the road to find out things about her.

I like the approach to Castaway. He wants the gargoyles destroyed, not his reputation and budding standing within the city. With this kind of character, there are plenty of places Castaway can go, and I'll look forward to following him.

And three cheers for the dramatic return of Thailog! Guns at the ready and everything, it's a great jump off to issue #4.

On the whole, it's a fine way to return to canon stories. Plenty of story arcs are open for business, and I'm looking forward to May to get back into them. Well done, Greg, and kudos to your team!

Greg responds...

Thanks. I'm not sure which "minor villain" you're referring to though.

Response recorded on April 10, 2007

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Vid the Kid writes...

A few comments on Issue #3...

My opinion is mixed on the artwork. I mean, it's a different medium from the animated series, so it's not going to look exactly the same. Without motion, more detail is needed to convey the same feeling that was done through gestures in the cartoons. Just like a radio play needs narration. (Which, by the way, you are AWESOME at...) On the other hand, I'm not entirely sure that this particular character drawing style is necessitated by the medium. (Somehow, Agent Hacker looks a lot more organic than everyone else; why can't the other characters have a little bit more of that organic feel in their designs?) And there is a bit of inconsistency. Bluestone struck me as looking a lot like David Hyde Pierce in his second panel. Although the artwork may be less than perfect, it is still at least acceptable, and certainly does not distract from the story.

And the story is great! Already an order of magnitude better than The Goliath Chronicles. I especially like the layered reveal of what organization Hacker really represents. I have a tendency to forget details, so I didn't get it until the second shot. Anyway, great job! I really look forward to future issues!

Greg responds...

Wow, talk about damning with faint praise. (I'd hope we're better than Goliath Chronicles.) I'm glad you're liking it though. And I still like the art. It may not always be perfect, but I think it's powerful when it needs to be, and relays the emotions that I'm looking for. And I think David is improving all the time. We have fill-ins by great artists in 4, 5 and 6, but I'm also looking forward to David's return in issue #7.

Response recorded on April 09, 2007

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Shannon "Shan" Muir writes...

Greg,

I've read and very much enjoyed issue 3. As someone familiar with the series there is much to appreciate.

But when trying to see the comics from the view of someone who knows nothing else about the universe, based solely om the three issues, what cues are there that anyone be rooting for the Gargoyles per se? Perhaps, like the way you often describe Xanatos as a complex villian even in the TV series, you are meaning to potray everyone a little less clear cut? The writer in me is curious to hear your thoughts about that.

Greg responds...

If the cues aren't obvious, I'm not sure there's much point in me discussing them.

I would think that (for example) Castaway's thinly disguised hate-speech in issue #1 would automatically make the gargoyles and Goliath specifically sympathetic. And if that didn't work, the fact that Banquo and Fleance tried to smash him in his sleep... well, you get the idea.

On the other hand, I do like shades of gray.

Maybe in a few years, I'll ramble on these comics. When I've got more distance and perspective. But right now, I'd prefer (largely) to let them stand or fall on their own merits.

Response recorded on April 06, 2007

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Chip Coffin writes...

Okay, it's me again. After re-reading issue #3 again and mulling it over in my mind another question did spring to mind. The teenage girl that Al was talking to...who is she? Besides being a device to explain to new readers (and refresh old readers)? We never learned her name (because Talon was interrupted) and it just kind of struck me as odd. Is she significant in some way or am I just reading to mush into things?

Can't wait till May
Rock On-Chip

Greg responds...

She's not just a device. Was Al just a device in "Kingdom"? If so, then is he still just a device?

Response recorded on April 06, 2007

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PenAgain writes...

Wow! Having just read issue 3 of the comic, I must say... I was astounded! I have had my reservations about the first issues, mostly because I was uncertain of the pacing of it all. But now, things are moving briskly, but we are still seeing flashes of our characters, even when they appear only briefly in an issue. It was amazing finally seeing NEW story progression after all these years!

In the letters page, you mentioned the idea of audio comics, and let me tell you... I'd pay a very reasonable (maybe even unreasonable) price to be able to listen to this issue read in the original voice actors' voices... but I suppose we should always have something to fight for out here in Garg fandom.

My question, at last- Since issues 1 and 2 equated roughly to one 22 minute episode... do you have any sort of fixed guideline you follow in a pages to minutes conversion? Does issue 3 feel like a 22 minute episode to you, or just part of one? I'm just curious, and I know that in teh long run my question's really rather irrelevant.

Thanks for making it so easy to keep having faith in the Gargoyles Universe, Greg! And if we ever get Season 2 Volume 2 on DVD, you better be at the front of every episode with introductions again. I loved those and found them charming, not goofy (as someone once commented here... or was that you?)

Greg responds...

I do think they're goofy (which is not to say I didn't have a lot of fun doing them).

I'd also love to do audio comics, but we'd need to see more evidence that there's a market for them. Hopefully, now that we're on schedule again, we'll be able to build the sales up on the comic.

To answer your question, I generally view each issue of the comic as being equivalent to one act of an episode. This is not a hard and fast rule, but it seems to be how things are breaking down. I was able to fit my adaptation of "The Journey" into two issues because the first issue had extra pages. But normally, I'll need three issues to do MOST stories justice. (Three acts to a TV episode = three issues of the comic.) Or so it seems. I'll admit that I'm still thinking TOO MUCH in TV terms. Issue #6 is a more stand alone story, but issues #7-9 tell one story and issues 10-12 will tell another that will bring the 12 issue Clan-Building arc to an end. It's like this:

CLAN-BUILDING
Story #1 - Issue #1 ("Nightwatch") and Issue #2 ("The Journey")
Story #2 - Issue #3 ("Invitation Only") and Issue #4 ("Masque") and Issue #5 ("Bash")
Story #3 - Issue #6 ("Reunion")
Story #4 - Issue #7 ("The Rock") and Issue #8 (TBA) and Issue #9 (TBA)
Story #5 - Issue #10 (TBA) and Issue #11 (TBA) and Issue #12 (TBA)

Twelve issues, five stories, one arc. As you can see, this barely scratches the surface of my Season Three plans, let alone my LARGER tapestry plans. But it's a start.

Response recorded on April 03, 2007

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dph_of_rules writes...

dph's Review of Comic #3

Artwork is much better.

I loved the make-up of the Gargoyles Task Force, especially Matt's opening remark about their primary objective. Aside from Bluestone, Maza, and Morgan, will you tell us which precints the rest of the police are from?

Love the nice bit of continuity with Martin Hacker showing up. Why the numbers "36" and "32"?

I loved how it was Morgan who approached Elisa, but wouldn't it be a little problematic being that Elisa Maza outranks Morgan Morgan?

It's nice to finally hear about Elisa's wants for a long-term relationship really are.

I enjoyed Xanatos's conversion with Martin Hacker. More about that later, though.

I liked Elisa hinting to look around at Deliliah.

I loved the nice bit of continuity with Demona showing up.

I loved the nice way of explaining the backstory of the mutates and the clones to the new readers.

Poor Brooklyn. ;) He gets shafted by own his clan leader when looking for a date. ;)

Nice to see Hacker checking in on Castaway. If the quarrymen ever get raided, I just hope Hacker isn't caught with Castaway.

Anyways, back to one of my earlier questions. Are the Illuminati Society deliberately to manipulate the gargoyles task force, Xanatos's plans, and the quarrymen to divert attention from something even bigger going on?

Nice to see Thailog back and fully recovered.

Nice laying out of plot threads for future development.

Greg responds...

Most are from the 23rd. Travanti's been Morgan's partner for years. (I think you first saw him in "Temptations", but don't hold me to that.)

As for the numbers, you'll just have to wait ... heh heh heh And as for the Illuminati... NO, WAIT!! STOP!! I WASN'T GOING TO TALK! DON'T SH--

Response recorded on March 30, 2007

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Greg Bishansky writes...

Gargoyles #3 - A review

Well, that was certainly a let down. Fox getting all weepy, she was so out of character. The real Fox would kick ass and take names, till she found out where her son was. And Pat Doyle was the most pointless villain I've ever seen...

... whoops, this isn't "Ransom"

The first new canon story in eleven years, and I enjoyed every page of it. I have not been this excited for a comic book in a long time, and I read a lot of comic books.

Clearly part one, and thus some set-up needed, and having to remind readers who the Clones and the Mutates are and where they came from. But, understandable. Very understandable.

I loved Martin Hacker in this issue, playing everyone, telling everybody what they want to hear. Matt, of course, does not seem to trust him at all.

Castaway has a nice appearance here, behaving sane and not like a raving lunatic, as many in the fandom seem to think he behaves as 24/7. I'll blame TGC for that. Here, he was rational, cool, and wisely giving an order for the Quarrymen to be unarmed this night.

BTW, is that the same Chaz that was one of Fang's flunkies in "Kingdom"?

Already knew Xanatos would be visiting the White House thanks to the solicitations, should be interesting to see what he's up to.

Jason's cameo was very welcome, and I'm ruling him out as Elisa's date. Morgan actually asked her out, Jason is handcuffed to a bed and obviously bitter. Hope to see more of him.

Goliath & Elisa - The emotional meat of the story. Their talk did not disappoint. Elisa was nothing but reasonable anr realistic. This is not like dating and hoping for a future with someone of a different race and/or religion. Goliath and Elisa are different species. It would not make sense if she wasn't having second thoughts.

Nice cliffhanger ending, with Thailog bursting into the Labyrinth, guns blazing. Makes me all the more eager to read #4... gotta wait till May.

Poor Brooklyn, having to watch Broadway and Angela make nice, and then try to work up the nerve to ask Delilah out, only for Goliath to beat him to her. Though, the way Goliath looks, he'd probably have preferred to let Brooklyn have her.

"Thirty-six", "Thirty-two". That's gotta be a reference to something, I just know it.

And, Demona. Great to see her again, she's always been my favorite. Even if it's only for one page, and with no dialogue. Aw well, I'm hopeful we'll see her again very soon.

Thanks for the read Greg. May can't come soon enough.

Greg responds...

Yep, Castaway's talking to Lou about Chaz. (Good catch.) You can see why the Quarrymen might appeal to them. Look for Lou and Chaz appearances (subtle ones) in issue #4. And you thought you couldn't wait for May before!

Response recorded on March 30, 2007

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Chip Coffin writes...

Not so much a question as an exclaimation! AAAAHHHH! THAILOG'S BACK! (Which was what I said in the store too) I waited outside my local comic store for Issue #3 until they opened and I am pleased to say that I was not dissapointed. I cannot wait for issue #4 (and yet sadly I must) I also cannot wait until Pigeon Forge. (Which reminds me, I still haven't submitted my Journal from Gathering '06) That was my first Gathering.
Oh wait, I guess I do have a quetion: Where are Hudson and Bronx off too? (I have a guess...)

Stone Warriors Rule-Chip

Greg responds...

Sorry, Chip, but you'll have to wait until issue #4 to find that out.

Response recorded on March 29, 2007

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KingCobra_582 writes...

Wow. It seems like I'm posting the first issue #3 review here. Cool. :D

Thank you for the first (and the first of many more to come) canon Gargs story in 11 years. It is really great.

Okay, enough of the euphoric gratitude and onto the review.

STORY: It was great. Top-notch writing done here. I felt for Goliath, going through that discussion with Elisa, and though I was in a slight state of "Arrrrrrgh....!" with her there, I could also kind of understand where she was coming from. Looking forward to seeing how this will get resolved later on, Greg. Moving along, it was great seeing Demona again. Ditto with Talon and Maggie (though they're not my favorites, I still didn't care. It is the 1st canon story in over a decade and I embrace every element of it.), along with the clones. And is it just me, or is Brooklyn starting to have a thing for Delilah now? She says "Hello" to him, and the next couple of panels just make it seem like he was aggravated with Goliath beating him to the punch. *sighs* Poor guy. Brooklyn just can't get a break. Well, at least until 'Timedancer' comes along, that is.

ART: The artwork is great here. The characters seem to be drawn well, though they looked... off... in some panels, I was able to let it go, b/c it was a rare oddity. Great little touches put in there (i.e. Alex's gargoyle costume.) that were cool. Talon was... okay-looking, but it's still early in the series (comic-wise, anyway) so I'm sure he'll improve design-wise. That close-up of Thailog's leering grin in the last panel gave me the willies. *shivers* Of course, I loved it. :) Hell, just the cover alone had me stoked. I felt like a carnivorous (sp?) dino at a McDonald's. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Hindsight, this issue gets a perfect 10 out of me. The art could still use some work (Matt looked weird in his first panel, and Talon was okay for a 1st time appearence.), but the story captured my interest in the beginning, broadened it in the middle, and had me on the edge of my seat at the end. I definitely can't wait for #4. Kudos for the great writing, Greg. I'll buy you a soda or something at the next con for that.

Cheers. :)

Greg responds...

Thanks KC.

I picked up the book myself yesterday, and was kinda psyched and yet frustrated, cuz I now can't wait to see your response to issues 4 and 5 (and 6 and 7). I'm scripting issue #8 now (having also completed Gargoyles: Bad Guys #1). That's the curse of being ahead. Just as you guys have to wait to see the stuff, I have to wait FOR you to see it all.

Response recorded on March 29, 2007


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