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