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Clan-Building #3: Invitation Only

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Shannon 'Shan' Muir writes...

Hi Greg,

Originally I promised I wasn't going to review 3 - 5 until I saw them as a group, and go figure when I finished this was RIGHT when the queue closed. So here it is, though with added time of reflection.

by Shannon Muir

As I've stated previously, I didn't want to comment on the comics until I could see the whole story in one piece, which to me feels like I'm reading a half hour episode adapted to three comics with one comic per act. I'm largely going to talk about the story as I think it unfair to review three different artists artwork indepth in one piece. However, broadly speaking I liked issue #5 the best artwise and issue #4 the least (mainly because I couldn't follow the fight scenes in that style which in turn impacted my ability to follow story, though the style itself was interesting).

Now, here's a breakdown of each story arc and my observations --

THE ILLUMINATI: It's nice to finally get a sense of the Illuminati structure as more than just this nebulous organization represented by just a couple people in the show. Castaway, Bluestone, Xanatos, and Thailog all at lowest run almost implies some sort of "race to the top". Both Quincy and Shari I find extremely interesting, and Thailog being a member was a turn I didn't expect. Also that Shari's symbol isn't the ring like all the men wear. (What jewelry does Thailog have I wonder, though I know you can't/won't answer). There's enough here I'm interested in what is going on in their infrastructure. Thailog's goals are, however, at this point a little bit predictable. What is more of interest is the consequences of the pursuit of said goals with Sevarius.

ELISA AND GOLIATH: I have to be honest, this was the arc that I liked the least. To me, the question of Elisa's family plans opened on the castle rampart is a "tentpole" question that should launch a much larger arc and not be thrown away in the equivalent of a half-hour episode. The fact Elisa flirted with Jason, and did take Morgan on the date, cannot be erased in one night no matter how life-threatening. Couples have conflicts but they also need to work through them, and issues of this magnitude take time. I hear rumors later issues will continue with this theme, but even what I've seen here seems just too fast. I know comics by nature need to be time compressed to some extent, but still.

I for one hope that though Elisa's re-recognized her feelings for Goliath in the heat of a pressure moment, the struggles don't end here. Those are some powerful words Elisa told Goliath back at the castle in Issue 3 about the life she wanted, and I truly feel some more examination of this is required instead of a simple daytime soap opera-esque "we'll find a way to work it out" and let it rest until it resolves itself. It has always been one of GARGOYLES' hallmarks to deal with tough issues head on and give them the treatment they deserve - whether it is single epsiodes with undertones of social issues like DEADLY FORCE or LIGHTHOUSE or the complicated psychcological examination of Demona and Macbeth of CITY OF STONE. That, to me, is what makes GARGOYLES... well, GARGOYLES.

As is, it feels like this was "rushed through" to take Elisa and Goliath to some sort of "next level" in their relationship in order to move along other plot elements. I strongly hope this isn't the case.

BROOKLYN, BROADWAY AND ANGELA: Poor Brooklyn just feels alientated by everyone. This was done in plausible contexts that made sense. I know what it is ultimately to lead to (in the most general of senses, as we've been told before), but the question is how long will things go until we get there? I hope they don't drag out but go at a natural pace. As to Broadway and Angela, I think they are handled very subtly in the background, their relationship is reconfirmed as a contrast longside Brooklyn's alienation.

LEXINGTON: Not too much to say here as Lexington is Lexington. However, what is key is his confrontation with his clone, it reveals a lot about his character as he confronts his "dark side" when the clone chooses Thailog over siding with Delilah.

THE CLONES, THE MUTATES, AND THE POWER OF FREE WILL: Maggie standing up and Delilah taking charge were both turns I applauded and worked well, Delilah's especially though I would have liked to have overseen her hearing the conversation where Goliath mentions her. Though, where did Thailog learn about Norma Rae? It took a minute to remember where she overheard Goliath's comment. This was my second favorite arc to Hudson and Robbins (see below). However, we still don't know what happened to Maggie or to Claw. We see Shari at the end of Issue 5 talking to Thailog, and supposedly she took Claw with her when she left the Labrinyth in Issue 4. Where is he? Did I miss something? (I hope so.)

HUDSON AND ROBBINS: The smallest subplot in the arc but it accomplishes volumes in just a few pages. It got a major revelation out of the way - that Robbins has suspected Hudson's identity for some time - but it didn't feel rushed or forced. It felt like every step was completely appropriate and the handshake at the end before Hudson left was the perfect cap. A total contrast to the Elisa and Goliath arc. Even Gilly and Bronx resting together was a nice touch.

BRENDAN AND MARGOT: Margot was predictable but funny, yet the interesting part here is getting a better sense of Brendan. Timing makes it clear he got Dr. Sato to help Goliath, but did he realize Goliath was what he was or does he think Goliath was just a man in a really good costume? Again, you can't answer that one but I'm letting you know the answer interests me.

DEMONA: I know she's a setup for later, but she seems out of place in these three issues if taken together as one story. Not much to say as there's not much of her around. I am left wondering if that page might have been able to be done some other way or at some other point to have better been utilized for this story.

CAMEOS AT THE PARTY: Fun if you remember the show enough. I recognized some and had to research others. I flat out did not recognize the Judge and guessed who he was simply because I had to think of what episode used a Judge. Seems too off model to me, even compensating for the costume.

OVERALL: Would I keep reading at this point? There's enough to keep me interested, but how Elisa and Goliath play out may be a real sticking point. We'll see.

ADDENDUM REGARDING ISSUE #6:I don't have Issue 6 yet (got stuck too late at work to go out the day it came out), and to be honest after hearing about the technical art gaffe I may just hold out for the trade in hope it gets corrected there and I can follow the story properly, especially since it is a stand-alone. I haven't decided. If I do get it and the queue doesn't close, I'll consider a review.

Greg responds...

Well, I don't agree with all your comments, but of course you're entitled to your opinions. A couple things I do take issue with:

I don't see Elisa as having flirted with Jason at all. She is trying to comfort him as a friend, and although I like to leave interpretations up to individual readers, I don't even see where that interpretation comes from. Frankly, I don't think she flirted with Morgan either.

I also don't have any idea why you think Shari took Claw with her.

Response recorded on October 16, 2007

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Radio Play on YouTube

Thanks to Patrick Toman, the Gathering 2007 Radio Play has been uploaded to YouTube. Because YouTube has a new rule that permits videos to be no more than 10 minutes long, Patrick had to split the 42 minutes of footage into five segments in order to also include titles and credits. Here are the links:

Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j63pDlPaKnQ
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRkv56AC-F4
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s58H_Tdi09E
Part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6PUx6GsdFA
Part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wkurc-TW99o

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Incisivis writes...

Hi. Longtime reader, first time poster. I love the work you've done.

A belated review of Gargoyles #3

Pause to reflect: This is the first new Gargoyles story in a decade. Nothing could live up to that amount of anticipation, but this is still a very good issue. As it must it's mostly an establishment of things to come, but what a series of hints they are.

Bringing another Halloween story into the Gargoyles universe is a lovely concept. Perhaps it's not as hard to tell the difference between costumes and living creatures as cartoons like to make it out to be, but the characters need to have their fun, especially hunted as they are right now. And plus, it's great fun for fans who just love the holiday.

Of course, the holiday also sets up the "Double Date" storyline, which has been planned for years, and it's wonderful how this is handled. Elisa's crushing change of heart might seem too abrupt, but this capricious indecision which, while not pretty, is realistic. At least the series is dealing with it than assuming such relationships are a given, sucking all the interesting potential out of cross-species relationships as a lot of popular fantasy and sci-fi seems to do.

More Illuminati material; watching Hacker play to the interests of three different characters was intriguing, and hopefully something really strong and cohesive is done with this. Not to mention that the Xanatoses are going to the White House.

Demona's first SLG comic appearance was a one-page one without dialogue, but it was the beginning of something, and there's too much going on already to justify paying attention to her...yet. By Demona retrieving the crystal, it looks like the Praying Gargoyle, which, when the TV series is taken on its own, seemed just like a random plot device, might get its behind-the-scenes backstory developed. Demona, too, though a well-crafted character, still feels like her story isn't done yet, that she's not "complete" and hopefully the comic will continue to build on her.

Brooklyn is just having a bad day, isn't he? His perpetual grumpy scowl as he watches the other females being "taken" before his eyes (though Goliath is obviously uncomfortable with Delilah) is darkly funny. His development into a more enlightened person, romantically speaking, will be interesting to see, if "Timedancer" is ever published.

Nothing new or different is going to be said about Hedgecock's art: the colouring makes it look a little better this time, but just a little. Characters change proportion quickly, can be asymmetrical, and off-model in other ways (Malibu's tusks, the Mutates with tails). There are some fun bits like Brooklyn staring at Malibu in the background while Al and the Labyrinth Girl talk, and a few good expressions, but trouble still continues.

The colouring, though as mentioned above, has improved, but there are problems. Brentwood's skin is black, the same as Thailog's, when it should be lighter. The gargoyles all have darkened interiors on their ears, and Goliath's wings are still entirely dark purple, instead of having lighter arms and ribs. Brooklyn and Broadway have light brown loincloths instead of blue ones, and Demona now sports blue wing membranes. Angela has blue lips, but these actualy look better, an extension of her skin colour rather than the faux-lipstic on most female cartoon characters.

"Send in the clones". Augh. The timing for that scene is a little weird, too. An entrance prompted by a bad pun?

As always Greg Guler's cover art looks much nicer than the interior, but like #1 the cover art is a generic character group shot that doesn't say much about the issue's contents, something that will thankfully change with issue #4. Angela's outfit in the book isn't changed as drastically as the one on the cover; can't say that's displeasing, when one wonders the point of Guler wanting to go back and change a character's outfit to the original skimpier design several years after the fact.

Overall it's a very good story, even if it's just an aperitif. The thrill is in thiking about where things are going to go from here.

Greg responds...

Invitation Only... that's all it promised to be...

Response recorded on June 13, 2007

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Greg Bishansky writes...

A bit of a critique on #3 right now.

You know I love seeing Demona (she's my favorite character), and I loved her one page appearance in #3. But, with #4 out, that scene kind of feels stuck in. I'm guessing she'll appear again in #5, and I can understand that big picture wise, you may have felt you needed that there to set up something later, like an adaption of "The Last" perhaps. But, as of right now, this particular story doesn't feel like it needed that scene.

Greg responds...

"Oh, reason not the need."

Response recorded on June 01, 2007

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Laura 'ad astra' Sack writes...

I read the new issue the day it came out, but it took me this long to read through the other posts about it... it was made somewhat harder to catch up since my home computer gave up the ghost (loveable hubby has been running an ~unupdated~ virus protection for 5 years), and my company blocks s8 for some unfathomable reason, (EBAY I get, IM I get, but s8? I can go to girl-wonder.org with no problem so it isn't a bulletin board thing, and it's not like I can say I have a 'work related' reason calling for access to the site).

Now that I've read and read I can say I am mucho happy. There had been some small concerns I had reading issues 1 and 2 that I assumed would go away with new material, and they did. I'm still not in love with the art, but it is consistent, emotive and reminiscent of the cartoon, and those things are actually more important. And the coloring is great. You know, actually, the art really is growing on me...

The writing was top notch- I'm back to imagining it with the voices running through my head. We got new characters and development on the old ones. The flashbacks were well constructed- besides not being boring to a longtime fan, they gave personality to the newish character telling it. Even Margot Yale is transitioning more and more from being the Yuppie punchline to being an important character, and her being on the taskforce may well be a highlight.

When I first saw the 36/32 greeting I thought it was an FBI thing, upon repeat I figured it was Illuminati related, and the idea that Matt has really progressed in the society leads to so many interesting ideas and conflicts.

I was surpised to see 'the talk' come so soon. It's only been 2 'episodes' since she happily kissed Goliath, and those two involved a date. But something about the art made it feel that enough time passed to make her think these things, and her conversations with Jason and Morgan really sold the idea that these concerns would be foremost in her mind. We got a good dose of Jason's nobility and self pity, and I really liked getting to know Morgan; how he innocently blurts out his surprise that she could have been silently dating a guy for two years and then tries as politely as possible to cover it.

Great art moment when the distance between Goliath and Elisa is both figurative and literal on top of the castle. Great "Wha?!" moment when Elisa talks about Goliath's options being limited and the next page showing Demona. Of course she meant, and he understood, Delilah, but it was a fun mess with your head moment. More fascinating is Delilah's response. It was subtle enough that it doesn't have to be the meat of this story, but it is definately going to come up. When she says "if that is you wish" you know she has a lot to learn about free will and self determination, probably even more than the other clones.

(Yeah. "Send in the clones!" Way hoaky. I would not have said that in their place...if only because I would have already said it too many times and have incured a promise of punishment from the other Labrythians if I were to ever do it again;)

I'll send a much shorter letter for the letter column, but it does bring about the question: why no e-mail address for the letter column?

Thanks and I'm waiting with bated breath for #4 and Bad Guys!

Greg responds...

I don't need an e-mail address for the letter column when I've got ASK GREG...

I'm glad the "mess with your head" moment worked for you. I try.

Response recorded on May 08, 2007

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Jarrod writes...

Hi again Greg! Just spent the last few days pouring into Comic #3. Trying to figure out the stuff thats there, building on what has happened, and into what may.

Things I loved:

1 - The Return of Hacker as Illuminati Agent.
2 - Alex's Gargy Costume! (so cute! I noticed his costume was red...does he like Brooklyn's coloring the best?)
3 - The permanent consequence of Jason's Paralysis.
4 - 32/36 (I haven't figured it out yet but I'm working on it)
5 - Castaway is smart! (no hammers)
6 - NEW CANNON!!!!
7 - Duval's Mysterious Phone call! (again, consequences)

I admit there isn't much I didn't like. I know I am probably one of the few fans that doesn't mind the differences in styles of the comic to the cartoon. I know some of us have gotten rather vehement over it. I look at it this way: It's a different medium, why not let it take it's own shape as an entity, just like the show? As long as the characters are true, the stories good, and you can hear the voices in your head (eep!), and the arts not stick figures, whats the problem? It's all good!

I am just thrilled to have some new cannon to disect after 11 years. And to be old enough to actually do it in depth!!!

Thanks again!

Lata Dayz


Greg responds...

Thank you. New canon and new CANNONS...

Response recorded on May 08, 2007

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Purplegoldfish writes...

Hi Greg. I've known about this place for years and yet I've never posted here before. I'm not sure why. I know you get this all the time but I just wanted to say that I wouldn't be the same person I am today without "Gargoyles." I believe it has changed my life for the better and I wanted to thank you and those who worked on it for bringing those amazing charcters to life, and for sticking by it for all this time.

Anyway, here's my review for comic #3, "Invitation Only." Beware, it's quite long.
First off, the art-as a whole, it's okay. Not great, but certainly good. My major complaint is that the characters sometimes look distorted, particularly Elisa. In the beginnig of her talk with goliath, she looks like she's aged twenty years-it reminded me of the off-model old Demona in the beginning of "Hunter's moon," Not that big of a deal though. The scenes in the labyrinth look good. One little continuity gaffe I noticed: in some scenes the mutates have tails and in some they don't. It's a little disconserting. And Morgan's skin appears too light-he struck me as being much darker in the cartoon-more like that Cedric Harris guy's skin color. Nothing major, just some things I noticed.

On to the story. It's awesome! Obviously setting up the characters for what's to come. Goliath and Elisa's relationship is my favorite element of the series, so I'll focus a large part of the review on them. I've really been looking forward to Elisa and Goliath's discussion. I've always wanted to know what you had in mind for it. It wasn't particularly surprising-I've pretty much already figured what Elisa's argument would be, but it was nice to see it finally come to fruition.
I like Elisa's scenes with Morgan and Jason. It seems what Morgan said about not bringing Goliath to a picnic and never tallking about him is what promted her to rethink things. I mean, she'll have to hide her relationship with goliath from most people for her whole life-she'll have to appear to be single to the outside world.
And Jason's line about her needing to be with a man who will give her everything she's ever wanted-I wonder if he's implying himself. I aslo wonder if he knows that Elisa's "mysterious boyfriend" is goliath...he's got to have thought of it at least.
Anyway, I really feel for elisa. She's obviously torn, and her feelings are genuine and realistic. When she was telling goliath that she wanted to be a "gargoyle-loving cop" and have a normal life with a house and kids, I thought to myself that would be impossible. A "normal" life for her went down the tubes once she became the gargoyles' friend and protector. Their relationship is harder for her than it is for him, I think. She has to live in two different worlds in a way.
Something interesting to note, when I read through the discussion the second time, I thought about the second page with the Xanatos' little family moment and felt there was a connection there with Elisa and Goliath. Here's what elisa wants- a happy little "normal" family with a husband and a child. But as we all know, the Xanatos' are anything but normal and two of them aren't even fully human.

I felt really bad for Goliath throughout the issue. He's not having a good time in these comics so far. I thought he would say more while Elisa is breaking up with him-but his expressions says it all. He's not happy. I almost had to laugh when he asks delilah out later-he doesn't even look her in the eye! No wonder her answer to him is so emotionless.

One thing that really interests me about whole elisa/goliath thing in the comics is that it's not so subtle anymore. In the cartoon there was this kind of wink-wink, nudge-nudge thing going on with them, but now we're getting words like "boyfriend," and "Mate" and "Husband" thrown around! Even though they're experiencing a setback, I can't help thinking it's about time! I can't wait to see them finally getting together for good. All the years of waiting will be worth it :)

As for the rest of the comic: I like how the title of the story coincides with the Xanatos invitation on the title page. I also find it amusing for some reason that Foxs' name comes before David's on the invite.
I like the little family moment with the Xanatos'-and like I mentioned earlier, I think it segues in nicely with Elisa's little break-up speech later in the issue.
The radio(television?) broadcast is amusing-typical media-never have their facts straight.

It's nice to see some new cops at the 23rd other than elisa, matt, and morgan. I already knew Morgan's full name but it was kind of weird seeing "Morgan Morgan" in print as canon. I wonder what people who don't know the backstory will think...heh maybe some will think it's a typo. I'm also curious to know what the taskforce members think of the gargoyles (other than elisa, matt, and margot).

The Illuminati has got to stick its nose into everything-playing all sides. I wonder what their true goal is, and what they're getting out of it. After this issue, I find myself becoming more interested in the Illuminati. I haven't really been before.
And Martin Hacker-I find myself really disliking him. He's even more slimy than Xanatos! Whenever we got the closeup of him saying "32" I had the urge to slap that smirk off his face.

So Xanatos plans to reveal the gargoyles after the party. Even though he harbors them, he still does sneaky things behind their backs-I can't wait to see how this all plays out in later issues. I don't understand the significance of Hacker taking off his ring and putting it in his pocket during his scene with Xanatos.

Demona's cameo: I'm not sure if this really fits in with the pacing of the rest of the issue, but I am curious to find out what she's planning now. I think the remnants of the praying gargoyle statue could've been made more apparent. If I didn't read the spoilers, I would have no idea what's going on there. I'm glad I know some of the backstory with the Atlantean Crystal. And a smiling Demona is never a good sign!

I'm really glad to see the labyrinth again. I've always liked the subplots with the mutates. I don't understand what goliath means when he says they have to honor their obligations before going to the labyrinth. It seems the only purpose he has for going there is to ask Delilah out, and brooklyn tags along because he's sick of seeing broadway and angela together.

I'm very intrigued by this new character in the labyrinth. She does kind of look like a young punk version of Elisa, but I seriously doubt that it's her in disguise, as some people seem to think. I wonder her name isn't revealed in this issue. I hope she'll play a part in more Gargoyle stories, and isn't just there for a conveniant way to bring newcomers up to speed on the story of the mutates and clones-speaking of which, it's a little annoying to have to have two pages of backstory that most fans already know, but it was told and illustrated well so I think it's still entertaining. I like Al here too-he's got a great personality. I like his little name for Talon-"Boss-Cat" Cute.

I noticed that both Talon and Maggie proclaim "Send in the Clones!" heh, they're certainly meant for each other. The clones' big dramatic entrance is a little corny though. I look forward to seeing more of Delilah, and I'm very curious as to her role in the rest of this story arc. Brooklyn gets snubbed by Goliath. I don't know, for some reason I don't feel all that sorry for him-maybe it's because of his mopy "poor me" attitude since the beginning of the story arc. I would have thought that Goliath would have told Brooklyn on the way to the Labyrinth his intention of asking out delilah. I guess he didn't. I'm sure if brooklyn had showed an interest in her beforehand Goliath would't have intruded.
The scene where brooklyn and delilah are saying hi to each other is kind of sweet though. It made me wonder if you ever briefly considered pairing these two up. I am very curious to find out who delilah's mate will be.

And then of course we got Thailog. I had a feeling he would show up at the end of this issue. The smile with all the teeth is really creepy-a bit much, I think. A great cliffhangar, and it will be hard to wait for the upcoming books. I'm very excited to see how this all plays out. And I thank you for reading.

Greg responds...

There's so much I'd love to say in response... and I'm sure my ASK GREG readers would love it if I did, but I really feel the need to resist the temptation, particularly so soon after the issue has come out and before #4 has come out. I've got to train myself to let the material stand on it's own. If I really NEED to defend, explain, elaborate, etc., well, then I've fundamentally failed anyway.

So let me simply say thank you for the praise, and <hee hee hee> over what we still have in store in the coming issues. If you like this, I think you'll get even more exciting as Clan-Building continues.

Response recorded on May 04, 2007

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Audra writes...

Hi Greg,
I just got comic #3 in the mail yesterday, and after reading it, I'm very excited! I'm so happy to have new Gargoyle stories written by you. For many years I have told my friends how I miss Gargoyles so so much... And when I say that, I meant new stories.

The art in comic #3 I think more like the TV show then the first two. (And I think it looks great!) I was quite surprised by what happened with Goliath and Elisa though. For some reason, I never thought Elisa would do that. Especially after Hunter's Moon. I don't know, I guess I am just a hopeless romantic, heh. But I guess I can't really relate to Elisa. I don't care so much about having kids, and having the normal family life... But it's important to me to be love with someone who loves me. I am in a long distance relationship, and have been for almost two years. I love my boyfriend so much and even though our relationship is hard because he lives on the other side of the world, I wouldn't change it for anything. (We see each other a few times a year, and he will be moving here after next year, but that's besides the point) I guess I just felt like Goliath and Elisa's love was strong enough to over come anything, but I guess not... Or at least, Elisa is not thinking of that at that moment... I really look forward to more comics, and I really want to know what happens with Goliath and Elisa... I'm so happy though about these comics being made!

Greg responds...

Stay tuned... or, uh, stay turning the pages... or poised to turn pages...

You get the idea.

The last word on Goliath & Elisa has not -- and I think this comes as no spoiler -- been written yet.

Response recorded on May 03, 2007

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Ed Reynolds writes...

Let's see. I first discovered 'Gargoyles' when I was 11. I started posting at S8 when I was 13. And the first original material to be released since then was released on 28 March, which was my 23rd birthday. A great birthday present, though first I had to wait a week for it to cross the pond -- better than waiting 6-8 weeks from unreliable mail order companies like with #1 and #2 though. Now I've found a local comic trader, thankfully.

I didn't think a week would be too long to wait -- it's been eleven years since new material, right? I can wait 7 puny days, and I'd managed to keep quite cool waiting for #3 so far. But from the 28th, I was going out of my mind. Whenever I checked my e-mails I kept looking S8 up and crossing it out when I saw the words SPOILERS. I deleted S8 from my bookmarks and scrubbed my history so I couldn't be tempted to access it via the location bar. I found myself humming the theme tune. Real geekgasm.

So today, I went to the comic shop with my brother in tow (he was shopping for a card). I picked up my copy, handed it to my bro. He, of course, starts reading it and since he's got special needs spends roughly an hour engrossed in the comic, reading it at his own pace, digesting everything carefully, brow furrowed in deep concentration while I'm cursing myself for not ordering two copies. His conclusion is that "I really like Thailog!" (no spoiler, he's been saying that for the last decade) and he asked me "do you like that drawing?" (meaning the artwork) in such a way that suggests he's a little ambivalent about it. He's excited for #4 and more Demona, and he likes Matt Bluestone.

(On a personal note, it's the first time since we were kids that my bro and I have really been able to share this sort of thing. As kids, we used to watch the same cartoons, read the same comics, play the same games - and, of course, we watched 'Gargoyles' together. But obviously over the years we've drifted apart in that respect; a lot of the stuff I'm into these days goes over his head and a lot of the stuff he's into just doesn't excite me. Plus, he stopped wearing his hearing aid and cochlear implant a lot of the time as a teenager so striking up a conversation is a much more laboured effort. We just don't have that much to chat about these days. But we both love 'Gargoyles' and we had a really good geek-out chat about it earlier of the sort we haven't had for... well, years. His memory is actually much better than mine and he reminded me of a lot of things in "The Reckoning" I'd forgotten, not having seen the back half of S2 for many years. I told him about 'Bad Guys' and he's excited for it, though he hasn't quite grasped the concept. Thailog's the baddest guy in the universe, the comic's called 'Bad Guys', Thailog's got to be the star, right? Anyway, it's nice to have a genuine shared obsession, just like the old days and besides being delighted at the return of the comic as a fan, I'm particularly grateful for that.)

Anyway, cutting to the chase -- the issue is splendid. And only, like, 20% of that is pure bias. It's genuinely a good read -- especially considering it's the equivalent to the first act of an episode, the set-up.

- My absolute favourite bit: Xanatos's plan to have the great and good mix with gargoyles so they can't then deny their sentience! That is GENIUS -- vintage Xanatos. Man, you've kept that up your sleeve for a long time (and I'm glad you did).

- I love the news report at the start pointing out that gargoyles can't speak so you don't have anything to worry about from ones that do. It's interesting because it gives the Quarrymen a genuine reason to feel vindicated -- they know (or are told) that the gargoyles are sentient, and malevolent to boot.

- Cedric Harris, Tri Chung, Phil Travanti, nameless Labyrinth girl -- pretty awesome to get some new characters. Even more awesome when they have lines. Guess I'm going to have to voice cast them myself. Nifty that Travanti's featured before. One of the things that particularly excited me about the comic was that I knew that soon I'd be able to rewatch my DVDs with a new perspective on things. And already that's the case - I'll be able to identify and name one character. Lovely! Interesting to see the make-up of the Task Force. I'm sure Margot's not going to like the way it's being run. Hard to argue that it doesn't seem like the NYPD exactly have it as their top priority.

- 36/32 makes a great linking element -- a really simple way of establishing what the Illuminati are (without even getting bogged down even with what they're called). But what's the significance? I thought it was their own ID numbers at first, but obviously not. Some way of recognising each other, but do the numbers have greater significance? And how often do they change? I have a really cool thought for what it might be... but it might qualify as an idea so I'm not going to mention it here!

- I love Angela. She's still the one who can look at people's behaviour from an outside angle and ask the question "is this a good thing?" And poor old Brooklyn. I love that two issues in a row he's been knocked back without him ever really being a consideration. Lex is the only beat in the comic that feels slightly wasted - partly because I can't quite imagine anyone actually saying "no poisonous stickpins" without feeling very silly and mainly because it feels like the same scene we had between these characters last issue.

- Castaway's so much fun. The character's reputation is sort of maligned by his TGC characterisation, but he's cautious as well as scary. Also? I LOVE that you used the word "clouting". Clouting! I don't hear that word enough. I must use it more often in day to day conversation.

- Man, I love Hacker. I was always sad he was one of the few characters from the pre-Avalon stories not to return later in Season 2. Duskrider Q nailed it a few questions ago when he described him as "unimposing but charismatic". His playing one side off against the other is too much fun and very well done. All this is stuff that's been spilt on Ask Greg but I still got a real buzz out of it playing out. I took from the issue that none of the motives are entirely genuine. I have to wonder how much Xanatos already knows, or guesses, about Hacker's double-dealing.

- The distinction between a "husband" and a "mate" is really good. Really sharp: not just a species thing, it suggests a lot of cultural issues to me. A husband implies a whole range of issues -- legal, social, economic -- while a mate seems to represent something much simpler in some ways, or at least more specific to the gargoyles' way of life.

- The 'distanced' page does feel a little bit jarring in pacing, and while I can't begrudge David Hedgecock the time saved doing two versions of the same panel to link scenes, I would have liked to have seen a slightly different angle. I appreciate you wanted to make the continuity between the two scenes clear though. The conversation is good and the issues are interesting. Some people seem to think that Elisa's being cold with all this, but I think it all feels quite realistic. Painful, but truthful.

- The Elisa/Morgan stuff I liked. This is where I sort of miss Keith David and Salli Richardson to give us added spin on the lines: does he believe her? Is he taking it as kind of a contrived excuse for a knock-back? It feels to me like Elisa is worried that's how he's taken it. I really like Elisa and Morgan together. As I said in the comment room during the debate about whether you'd go for Jason or Morgan in this story, I kind of hoped you'd go with Morgan because he represents a genuine shot at normalcy for her.

- Demona returns to St. Damien's. A big surprise: I hadn't expected to see it again. But there's something inside the Praying Gargoyle. I feel like this has been spilt before but luckily I don't recall the details.

- The promise Jason demands of Elisa is what nudges her to talk to Goliath. But I feel like Jason knew (or guessed) what he was doing to her there and masked that by talking about himself. I still think he's kind of a jerk. But maybe I'm being too hard on him. Maybe he was just being selfless. Great character. Well, they all are.

- A lot of characters here. I'd kind of expected the cast to settle down immediately after "The Journey", as with "Vendettas" and "Turf" after "The Gathering". I'm in two minds really. I like meeting everyone again, and it's a great call for the first story back, but it also means it feels more like a buffet than a proper meal. I can't wait to dig deep into some characters, flashbacks and all. I expect the moment you do something very tight and narrowly focused I'm going to be whining "but we haven't seen X, Y and Z for five months!!"

- The exposition pages are a necessary evil I suppose, but they do break the flow a bit. Have you considered replacing them with some kind of introductory page separate from the comic, akin to the "Previously on Gargoyles..." segment? I know you did this a few times ("The Cage" for one) but it all seems to slow the narrative down. Also, boiling it down that much doesn't really do justice to the thing. Oh well.

- I'm kind of curious about Al's friend. Their last exchange makes me think there's more to that plot that meets the eye... "It's not that..." ... but what? Hmmmmmm.

- Thailog! Well, I was spoilt by the #4 press releases for that much. The character's marvellous, but he's never captured my heart to quite the degree that many of the other antagonists on the show did so I'm probably not quite as excited as others. I didn't notice until I read Matt's review the 'trick or treat' mirroring device at the top and tail of the issue. So cool.

Anyway, the issue is fantastic. The writing is wonderful. It's lean but jam-packed with great character moments and things to speculate about. Magnificent.

Only thing I'm not looking forward to is that torturous wait after the next issue release but before it arrives in the UK. Have you considered making the comic available online like some of SLG's other comics? No replacement for the real paper issues but it would be so lovely to be able to read the comics along with others in the fandom, and I know other people have trouble getting hold of them. I realise there are all sorts of reasons why this might not be advisable, particularly if it dents off-the-shelf sales. At any rate, I guess it's a good test of my willpower.

Many thanks for your benevolent labours, Greg, and to all your co-conspirators on the comic. Keep up the fantastic work.

Greg responds...

Thanks, Ed. As for releasing the comic on-line, I guess I'd suggest you raise the question directly with SLG.

Response recorded on May 02, 2007

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Charisma82 writes...

Hey! Here's the second part of my page-to-page ramble of the 3rd Gargoyles comic book.

Gargoyles: Clan-Building
Part Three: Invitation Only

Part 2 Pages 13-24

Page 13: Goliath is still speechless. Elisa is trying to be as nice as she can about the whole situation. I really like Goliath's line, "You do not want a mate. You want a husband." There is a difference between the two to him. Why did Elisa mention Delilah? If I'd been her, I wouldn't have hinted towards her.

Page 14: Nice cameo appearance of Demona. Another plot for another time.

Page 15: Lex and Broadway are really pumped up for the party. What obligation did they have to the Labyrinth clan? I didn't know they checked up with them regularly. And by the way… how do you spell Labyrinth? Because my spell check says it is spelled L-A-B-Y-R-I-N-T-H, but in the comic book it is spelled L-A-B-R-Y-I-N-T-H. The girl that is with Al looks like a rugged Elisa to me. I don't know why. I also like how the kid has a "G" on his shirt. What's it stand for? I think I know, but then again I could be wrong.

Page 16: I like that Al has a job. He pushes the button. Hey… that's an important job. It's too bad we didn't get to hear the girl's name. I would've liked to have heard it. It's good to see the mutates again. Brooklyn and Goliath look so enthused to be there. Again with Brooklyn's wings being under his arms. It needs to stop.

Page 17: It's good to see the clones again, especially Delilah. I like her better, probably because she's not an exact clone of a certain person, but more like 2 people… actually 1 person and 1 gargoyle. It's interesting that Talon doesn't say anything to Goliath about staying with Xanatos. You'd think they'd be at odds with that.

Page 18: A nice recap of how the mutates were created. Sevarius looks creepy with half his face behind the liquid stuff and Talon looks gross with bumps all over him. Al leaves out Fang's name. Interesting…

Page 19: Another recap of how the mutates ended up underground, how Thailog was created, and how the clones came into being. I like how Al calls Xanatos "Rich Dude."

Page 20: Poor Brooklyn. I wasn't expecting him to go for Delilah, but then again, who else is he going to find to go with him to the party? Goliath totally took that away from him. Brooklyn doesn't look too happy about that. I have a feeling that this incident is going to add to Brooklyn's Angela/Broadway ordeal. Delilah's response to Goliath seems almost like she's following his command and not deciding for herself. Could that have to do with him looking like her former master?

Page 21: I didn't get that Chaz from this page was the Chaz from Fang's old group until I read it somewhere. It's a good thing that John can show some restraint and not go as far as harming innocent people to help his obsession with destroying gargoyles. Yet another appearance from Martin Hacker. He didn't even knock.

Page 22: Another close up on Hacker's face along with John's. So far, I get the feeling that John is the only one who doesn't mind that Hacker is there to visit him, unlike Matt who is disgusted with him, and Xanatos who tolerates him. Again, Hacker is playing another guy. Three guys to mix up in the same day… what a job. The first time I read this page, my eye shifted to the next page and saw the silhouette of Thailog. I thought that maybe John was referring to Thailog as the project that Hacker was there to check on and that the Quarrymen had captured Goliath's clone. That's what I get for glancing at the other page.

Page 23: And here Al goes to accomplish his job… yet he lets in one gargoyle that you'd never want to face unless it was daytime. I hope Al can run fast. I also hope that Talon is ready for a fight. I love Thailog's shadowy appearance.

Page 24: THAILOG!!! Hey, that's exactly what Talon said, after me of course. The smile… I could've done without. It's weird. Besides that… IT'S THAILOG!!! Shooting at the wall?

Well, that's it. Thanks for such a great comic book. I can't wait for #4 and for BAD GUYS.

Thank you for your time and patience.


Greg responds...

He wasn't shooting at the wall. Those were aiming lasers.

Response recorded on May 02, 2007

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