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Redemption #1: Strangers

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Blaise writes...

BAD GUYS SPOILERS!!!

STRANGERS

I picked up my copy the day it came out, have only now gotten around to writing about it. I felt a quiet sort of excitement in regards to it--but a different kind of excitement than I get with the regular series. This is the first spin-off. This is the first story that WON'T focus on any of our usual main characters. As such, it will prove just how compelling the rest of the "Gargoyles Universe" can be.

So far, it's looking good.

I recognized the opening pages from the leica reel shown at the Gathering (I wonder if anyone else noticed Fang accidentally losing a bullet from his ammo clip). I also recognized the song Matrix is listening to (and which shows up throughout Dingo's battle with T.T.) as "The Will to Love" from W.I.T.C.H.. I love that little shout-out, but it also works as more than just a reference/in-joke. Sometimes the lyrics echo the action on screen (albeit in subtle ways): the most obvious for me being the line "to find a girl on my wavelength" while we see Hunter spying on Dingo. All-in-all, it's a pretty cool bit.

Anyway, rewind two months from the good ship "Redemption's" demise, and we are introduced to the Tazmanian Tiger: a guy who looks like he could have stepped out of any "Golden Age" comic book. When I first saw this guy, I had to pause for a minute to laugh out loud. I mean, have we EVER had a guy in the "Gargoyles Universe" like this before? By all rights, he should be a joke, and he is...right up until he slashes Dingo through the Matrix-armor. He still gets taken out pretty easy, but it kind of shows that, as silly as his name and costume may be, he's still dangerous. And I find myself wondering right along with Dingo just where the heck this weirdo managed to find not just one, but TWO extinct Tasmanian Tigers. Story for another day, I guess.

Dingo is playing the part of super-hero for real, just as he wanted. He's got the silly insults for his enemies ("tasmaniac"), he's got the concern for the poor thylacines, he's even got his own Australian version of Superman's "Look, up in the sky..." entrance bit. And, lastly, he's got something our old gargoyle friends have a hard time with: the hearts of the people. Go Dingo.

I'm happy to see the Shaman again, and I hope we manage to find out more about him.

I loved the tableau of the Pack--it looks cool. I just had to say that.

Yikes! I can see the hole in Dingo's back! I can completely understand Dingo's unease at the idea of the Matrix...well, "hacking" into his nervous system like that. Of course, once he's ordered the Matrix not to interface again, that is when the Hunter strikes.

It's nice to FINALLY have Dingo's real name stated in the canon material. And I love this exchange:
DINGO: "Bounty hunter?"
HUNTER: "Just a Hunter."
I also love Dingo's "Really NOT the time for I told you sos..." when the Matrix follows Dingo's earlier order not to interface. I hereby add my voice to the others who like how the Matrix moved back only the part of its body that it had to.

The fight between Dingo and the Hunter is well done. I have to say, I feel kind of sorry for poor Dingo here--no matter what he does Hunter is able to counter it. She looked especially cool when she caught the boomerang without looking. The most I can say for Dingo is that he knows how to roll with the punches.

I was very surprised that Hunter had a method of neutralizing Matrix--I wonder what her briefing for this mission was like. It's interesting that we pick up with her AFTER she has already been sprung from prison and all that, and I look forward to having the gaps filled in.

Strange how Hunter responds to Dingo's bit about going the "super-villain route" with "Who hasn't?" She was raised to believe that what she was doing (hunting gargoyles) was right, good, and justified. I find myself wondering how her world-view has changed since "Hunter's Moon."

I love Hunter's face when she asks if "the helicopter was too big a tip-off" that the EMP had worn off. It's also pretty cool that the Matix is the one who jumps at the chance of joining Hunter. Dingo just sort of resigns himself to it.

Tengu hunting...and Hunter gets a wicked smile on her face when Dingo asks "What's a Tengu?". The most interesting thing is that they BOTH have hunted gargoyles before. Of course, for Hunter it was a lifelong mission; Dingo did it as a kind of team sport. Either way, I look forward to seeing how both of them will react to Yama.

Kudos Greg. You have successfully started a spin-off and whetted my appetite for the next installment of "Bad Guys." Not that I'll complain about the wait too loudly...after all, we still have another issue of the main series waiting in the wings.

Long live the comics!

Greg responds...

Thanks, Blaise. Glad you liked it.

Response recorded on December 11, 2007

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Jonny Modlin writes...

I enjoyed reading Gargoyles Bad Guys#1 and I like the show of Gargoyles on DVD and the comic books along with spin offs!

Greg responds...

Thanks, Jonny.

Response recorded on December 10, 2007

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KingCobra_582 writes...

Picked up Bad Guys #1 (along with Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash #2) yesterday.

I really loved the artwork here. Props to Karine for her talents, and she really captured the characters (I really loved that panel with The Pack!) beautifully. It was a little tough seeing it in black and white, but I'd already known that the comic would be, so I got used to it by page #2.

The story was great. Loved Dingo's interaction with Hunter. Nice dialogue between those two. Really loved Hunter barely dodging Dingo's boomerang.

Matrix was/still is a really cool character, particularly in this issue. I liked that he tried not to merge with Dingo after learning of his past. lol. I really liked his design style. Once again, kudos to Karine.

Honestly, I expected the story to begin with the Team meeting and hooking up into a group, but I somehow wasn't picturing it done in a flashback sequence. Nice.

Fang, another of my favorite characters, had some sharp lines here too. No real one-liners that I can recall (are some of his best friends STILL half-human, half-gargoyle babes? :-P), but I still had fun in that department. Can't wait to see his bickering with the silent, sullen Yama.

Can't wait to see where this is going next, story-wise, in issue #2.

A perfect 10 out of 10, this one. What a great start to an already appealing mini-series.

And, by the time you probably get to this, Merry Christmas, Greg.

And my condolences about Abraham.

Greg responds...

Thanks on all fronts.

Response recorded on December 10, 2007

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Matt writes...

My Review For Bad Guys #1, "Strangers"...

- Alright, first lets talk about the cover. I like the improvements we saw over the preview of this cover from a couple months ago. The title is good, with a mention of Gargoyles to ensure this is the same universe, but the "Bad Guys" is larger and the lettering is unique, I'm glad. I also like the art itself. Matrix is well drawn and I can only imagine the difficulties of drawing this silvery solid shiny dude and making it look good in 2D, but both in the cover and in the book he looks great. Now as for the concept of the cover itself... well, the idea of the wanted poster is cool, but I'm not sure it was a great choice for the first book especially. You've got a Gargoyles-related media that is going to be in black & white for the first time, but you at least get colored covers and... you go for almost an entirely brown and gray cover? I'm generally a fan of more dynamic covers anyway, but this is particularly frustrating. Having Matrix as the first cover featured Squad member wouldn't have been my first choice either. He's a very cool character, but he is kinda bland to just look at him in mug shots. And the fact that the shots are black in white isn't great either. For all new readers know, Matrix is bright pink. Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on the cover, the art is good, and although not particularly dynamic it does grab your attention, I suppose. And it isn't entirely colorless, as my friend Ryan pointed out. Thank goodness for those pushpins.

- Moving on to the art in the book itself, well it is really, really great. I know a lot of people wished that Karine was doing the art on the main Gargoyles book, but honestly, I think Bad Guys is better for her. I think her skills are outstanding, but I tend to think she draws animals and humans better than gargoyles. I didn't love how Yama looked, but he was only in three frames, so I'll keep an open mind for Issue #2. On the other hand, the humans look great. Matrix, as I said, is extremely well done, and Fang looks way better than he did at any time in the series. The Thylacines look anatomically perfect, right down to their impressively expansive jaws. The biologist in me was thrilled to see them at all, and even more thrilled to see them so perfectly depicted. And kudos to Greg for thinking to include them. I'm glad everyone is doing their research.

- So we start out in medias res. It appears to be the adaption of a scene from the famous Bad Guys Leica Reel. I like how the Squad has their own uniforms, and I'm particularly fond of Fang's little shorts (like I said, I love how he was drawn). Matrix's morphing throughout the issue is very well shown, as are the fight scenes. It takes a lot of skill to show such dynamic movements in a comic book, and I had no trouble following the action. The little scene between Dingo and Hunter at the beginning is a lot of fun, though I think it plays better in the leica reel. As for the explosive cliffhanger, I think many Gathering attendees know how that one is gonna play out, still really fun though.

- Back two months and down under we get our first new villain. Tazmanian Tiger comes off as a very fun traditional comic book bad guy here, which is great cuz that is just what Dingo and Matrix need to show us what they've been up to since "Walkabout". One thing confuses me though. T. Tiger says, "Congratulations. You're the first to behold [me]." Implying this villain is making his first appearance, but he also seems to know exactly who Dingo is when Dingo and Matrix show up, even with the concealing armor. Has Taz seen this pair before? Doesn't seem like it, and yet it's implied. Guess we'll see what happens. I have no doubt we'll see Tazmanian Tiger again, and I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking up some possible storylines in his future. Anyway, I like him. Plus, I get a vibe from him... if you know what I mean.

- We get much more of the Dingo-Matrix partnership and how it works. Matrix is great. He is so driven (or obsessed) with this whole Law and Order thing. That goes right along with his character development. He is sentient, sure, and he's obviously intelligent, but he is also a very simple thinker. He can't help it, he was programmed that way. He had an objective, he has modified it slightly, but it is still his main objective. It'll be a lot of fun to watch his development. I was also pleased for the Shaman's return cameo. I like that Dingo and him have an ongoing relationship.

- We don't get to know how or why Hunter is here exactly (though the hardcore fans more or less know), and it'll be fun to go back and fill in that blank eventually. I think a great point made in this story is that all actions have consequences. Even though Dingo has become a "super"hero in Australia, he is still a wanted man back in the States. He can't pretend that part of his life never happened. So while he may be the most heroic of the Bad Guys (maybe), he still has his skeletons...

- Fantastic writing, as usual. Some of my favorite lines:

Tazmanian Tiger: "They've been extinct for sixty years so you can imagine how hungry they are!"

Dingo: "Look I've gone the super-villain route..."
Hunter: "Who hasn't?"

Oh, and I thought the last "letters" page being titled "Wanted, Posters!" was brilliant wit. Got a laugh out of me.

- Anyway, to sum it up here: A fantastic first step on what looks to be a fun series. I especially look forward to seeing the Ishimura Clan again on the Great Tengu Hunt. Always looked forward to seeing more of Sora in particular, and her interesting relationship with Yama. More of that next time. Great job everybody and thanks!

Greg responds...

Just because it was TT's first appearance, doesn't mean it was Dingo's. He's famous.

Response recorded on December 04, 2007

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David writes...

Hey Greg,
I bought Bad Guys #1 today. Great story. And the artwork was far batter the I thought it would be. The black and white thing really worried me, but after the first page or two I hardly noticed. Seriously, if anyone reading this is holding off on buying the book for that reason trust me and give it a chance. Just one question, though. Robyn allludes to destroying Matrix and she disables him pretty efficiently. Is Matrix really that vunerable, or are we to infer that Robyn knows someone who has even better weaponry then Xanatos and Fox? If it's the latter, I can't wait to see what else she has up her sleeve. Great fight scene between she and Dingo in Australia, by the way.

Thanks for giving us all a chance to finally see these stories,

-D

Greg responds...

You're welcome. Matrix isn't invulnerable, which doesn't mean he's easy pickings, either.

Response recorded on December 04, 2007

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dph writes...

My review of Bad Guys Issue #1

I recognized the opening from the Leica Reel that I saw at the 2006 Gathering. That's a good place to start, in the middle of things. Page 2, in the middle frame in the confrontation between Dingo and Hunter, Dingo's head seems to grow a bit bigger than in the frame before or after. After the confrontation with the missiles, we flash back to the recruitment of Dingo. I was kinda hoping to see Hunter's recruitment first, but oh well. Then we see the Tazmanian Tiger, with his own super-villain costume. I like it how Matrix . . umm . . 'tames' the tigers. That's a nice reminder of Matrix's abilities. Dingo flying away superman style sounds right, because he still doesn't want to get caught. Dingo complaining of feeling pain from Matrix sounds right. No pain, no gain and that is a partnership. I'm guessing Robyn had her helicopter ready and was ready to follow Dingo as soon as he left so they could have a conversation. Dingo being beat by Hunter reminds me of a line from "The Pack" that Dingo said: "This job is cushy, but flabby as I am now, I probably couldn't last a week in a South American war". Dingo, indeed, was gone soft, from his day's past. Hunter pulling out an EM pulse grenade makes it clear that she's well informed. Not many people know about Matrix. Also, it's nice for somebody prepared to expose one of Matrix's weaknesses. I guess it really isn't surprise for Matrix to join, when you consider that he's still naive in the ways of the world. Dingo, understandablly, is relunctant to join.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. Looking forward to seeing how the rest of the team is recruited.

Greg responds...

We'll try to keep it interesting...

Response recorded on December 04, 2007

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Todd Jensen writes...

I bought my copy of "Bad Guys" #1 today. The two parts that excited me the most were Robyn Canmore calling Dingo "Harry Monmouth", which makes that name canon rather than canon-in-training at last (and also officially brings Shakespeare's history plays as well as his tragedies and comedies into the Gargoyles Universe - well, Oberon did quote from "Henry V" in "Ill Met By Moonlight"), and referring to Yama as a tengu. (I'd suspected for many years that the Ishimura gargoyles tied in nicely with the tengus of Japanese legend, and was glad to see that confirmed.)

I recognized the opening pages as based on the leika reel that I saw at the Gathering 2001. I'm looking forward to seeing more of that mission in future issues.

The Tazmanian Tiger has to be the corniest villain yet in the Gargoyles Universe, but in a good way. I hope that we find out in a later story where his thylacines came from. Has the report of their extinction in the Gargoyles Universe been an exaggeration, or is there something else involved? I was also amused by the Superman parody accompanying Dingo's entrance.

I liked Matrix's characterization as well (including even the style of his lettering) - you captured his attempts to understand the world about him and the pursuit of law and order effectively (especially his bewilderment over Dingo's lack of enthusiasm over Matrix linking to him, literally - and his being the one to accept Robyn's offer).

Was the rock where Dingo and Matrix met Shaman (and where Robyn showed up afterwards) intended to be Ayers Rock/Uluru?

I'm looking forward now to #2 (as well as to Gargoyles #7). Great first issue of the spin-off.

Greg responds...

Uluru confirmed.

Thank our letterer (regular Gargoyles artist) David Hedgecock for Matrix's lettering style.

Response recorded on December 04, 2007

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Chip writes...

What are the song(s?) that were "playing" in the background of Bad Guys #1? I didn't recognize the lyrics.

Greg responds...

The song's called "The Will to Love", and I wrote the lyrics.

Response recorded on December 04, 2007

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Chip writes...

I had some trouble getting Bad Guys #1. My usual store had issues with their supplier and didn't get their copies of Bad Guys (And 22 other comics!) I went to another store (which wasn't in the nicest neighborhood if you know what I mean...I risked my life for Gargoyles) and picked up the only 2 issues they had. My usual store always orders a ton at my request and saves me 2 (Which they still will, I'm gonna have some extra copies when they finally get it) So I was actually surprised by how few the other store had. (I'm going 2 start subscribing from them too)

And here they are now, Dingo, Matrix, and Robyn of the Redemtion Squad.

Nice cliff-hanger of an opening sequence. I can't wait to find out how (and if) our favorite team of villians-gone-good survive.

Meanwhile two months earlier we meet the best villian ever! The Tasmanian Tiger made me laugh. Not just because I am fond of Tasmanian Tigers (Which I am, Cryptozoology is a hobby of so extinct animals that might not be extinct please me) But because he was so cheesy and yet cool at the same time. It reminded me of another comic that I read. I find myself fascinated by this guy.

Will we see him again? What's his story? Where'd he get the Tazzi Tigers? I found myself thinking he'd make a good mutate (with TT DNA of course) I hope to see more of him soon, and I hope he gets fleshed out. I love this guy.(I was also pleased by Dingo's treatment of the possible last members of their speices)

On to Robyn and Dingo. Dingo and Matrix made me laugh...I wonder what Matrix was thinking about Dingo being on the run. Robyn's good, more than equal to Dingo in a fight, and it pleases me that the Hunters who've been against the gargoyle kind for so long are now their allys (in the form of Jason and Robyn...Jon of course is a Quarryman now)

And they're off to Tokyo. To hunt a Tengu. Dingo's question made me laugh. I can see it now. "WHAT! Sheila why didn't you say we were hunting a gargoyle!?!" Robyn's smile says it all. She knows what a Tengu is (Which says to me that Hunters have hunted in Japan before)

I can't wait for more Gargoyles: Bad Guys, and more Gargoyles.

Greg responds...

Well, we'll keep em coming then...

Response recorded on December 03, 2007

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Greg Bishansky writes...

*** Big Bad Spoilers ***

Picked up "Gargoyles: Bad Guys" #1 today. The first issue was a lot of fun. Has a definite 'First Act' feel to it, which is fine, that's what it is.

There are two stories going on here, one about how the team is formed, and another which takes place two months later. The latter seems to obviously be the story from the "Bad Guys" leica reel, which is cool. I look forward to finding out, after all these years, what their mission there is.

But, let's talk about the real meat of the story. We open in Sydney, Australia where we meet, ::snickers:: The Tazmanian Tiger. A one-shot villain, if I ever saw one. If he were a Spider-Man villain, he'd be in the Legion of Losers. Which is fine, not every villain can be, or should be, Xanatos, Demona or Thailog. Knowing Greg, he'll probably use this guy again eventually down the road, however, he'll need a major upgrade to be at all credible. Bit of an anecdote, when I first saw this guy, I laughed so hard, I think the other patrons as the sushi place thought I was having a seizure.

Dingo and Matrix show up and do their thing. Australia's premere superhero. Loved, respected. I liked the brief Superman homage. Also, nice creepy forboding about how Matrix inserts itself into Dingo's spine. Looking forward to seeing where that's going.

Enter Hunter, probably my favorite character in the book. For those not in the know, she's a mysterious, badass chick with a gun and a cool mask. I look forward to seeing things from her perspective soon. Right now, we're seeing things from Dingo's point of view, and he obviously does not like her... yet. But, given the solicitation for #3, I think we'll be getting that.

What did surprise me is that it was Matrix, and not Dingo who accepted Hunter's offer. Matrix wasn't even really under threat, and I have my doubts that it was on Hunter's recruitment list.

Now, they're heading to Tokyo to hunt a Tengu. I can't wait to read it.

Artwise, this looked good. I think the book works well in black and white? Would I prefer color? Yeah, who wouldn't. But I don't care. The inking and toning looks good. I'll admit, I'd love to see some of those newer characters in color, but it's fine.

The cover. I'm still not quite sold. It looks good, and the Wanted posters as covers idea is fun, but, and especially for a first issue, I think something a little more dynamic and eye-catching would have been better. A group shot of the team. Or, perhaps, another of the characters. Hunter, maybe Dingo. Matrix doesn't really have a design that jumps out at you.

Still, a very fun book and I look forward to seeing where this goes. The "Gargoyles" Universe is expanding, and it's much bigger and richer than just Goliath and his clan in Manhattan. I want to see more, much more.

*** Big Bad Spoilers ***

Greg responds...

Glad you (mostly) liked it.

Response recorded on December 03, 2007


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