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Matt writes...


My Review For Gargoyles #9, "Rock of Ages"...

- Well. That was worth the wait. Okay, so I couldn't wait any longer and had SLG ship a couple copies of Gargoyles: Clan-Building Volume 2 to me directly (or rather to my workplace so I could get them even faster). Just to finally have it feels great. Ask my coworkers, I was bouncing off the walls today. And here is the funny part; I've only read half the book so far. I decided in advance not to just read through the whole thing in one big gulp, no matter how badly I want to. I know that over the next weeks, months, years, new Gargoyles material is going to be scarce if existent and I want to make this last. So, with that in mind, I'm reading one issue at a time, reviewing it and waiting til I've assimilated it pretty well before moving on. You have no idea how much temptation I have. So, the reviews for 9-12 will be given without any idea of what happens in the following issues (and hopefully there will be more beyond 12). Being that as it may, I'm happy that the first issue I read happens to be #9 as I witnessed the Radio Play in 2008 in which it was a part and thus received major spoilers. I was eager to actually see it though. And to see how the fractured timeline thing worked itself into the issue.

- So, without further ado... the cover. Gorgeous. Perfect. Lex and Hudson look great, but Griff is just awesome. I mean, I've always liked the guy, but this is just so cool. At no other time has Griff (or any other English gargoyle) looked so... well... gargoyle-like. Turn Griff to stone with that expression and you can see him on some building or church. He is scary and cool and so dynamic. I LOVE Griff on the cover.

- So, on with the story. It has always been difficult to review this story 'in order', but I'll do my best. (I sometimes think I should've written these reviews then randomly mixed up the paragraphs for effect.) So, with a few side-bars, we continue with the battle above Westminster while Arthur checks out the Stone inside. Lex wakes in Staghart's arms (*sigh*) and quickly takes control of the situation. Go Lexington; he is pretty impressive here. After waking from unconsciousness, he quickly gathers "the gist" of the situation, comes up with a plan and implements it to spectacular effect. Don't ask me why, but I especially liked the viewpoints of the Steel Clan and Iron Clan robots in infrared. I had fun deciphering their little codes. Great attention to detail with all that. 'ICR', 'SCR', 'Tracking:Lexington' and cool how they just identify Griff and Amp as "U.G.-1" and "U.G.-3" since they don't know their names. Neat. So after the ICR and SCR are taken care of (by Coyote, whoops). Coldsteel and Coyote make a quick exit. Coyote's light blast was cool, though I wonder why he didn't use it during the battle. Anyway, a fun end to a fun battle. And Coyote makes it away nearly unscathed, he must be thinking his luck has finally turned.... nah.

- So morning comes and the Stone is being moved and we move to the second airborne battle. This one was a lot of fun too. The way Coldsteel ties up Coldfire is just so darn suggestive, ya know? Coyote's chain-saw, Coldfire's head-butt and especially the way Coldstone takes out Coyote are great attacks that came as really fun surprises. It isn't always easy to keep these battles fresh and original, but Greg does a great job. Kudos there. And it isn't just the actions, the lines are superb. The dialogue of the whole scene is great and flows so well. Coldsteel has a lot of good ones, but Coldstone's "Define this!" got a laugh out of me, probably because when he said it I could just hear Mr. Worf saying to some Borg "Assimilate this!" in a similar situation. I have to admit that it struck me as odd that Coyote would refer to Xanatos as "David" when talking to Coldstone. He always called him "Xanatos" before, why the first name basis now? I also liked that Coldsteel's self-repair initiation seems to mention the Matrix technology. Kinda a cool little thing. Oh yeah, Coldstone running around the bottom of the river is cool too.

- Alright, on to the Stone itself. We get several more stories from Shari. I have to admit, these don't grab me the way they did in #7-8. Maybe it was that I was less familiar with the legends and characters mentioned or maybe I was too interested in the modern day stuff. I dunno. I imagine in time I'll become more familiar with these legends and historical figures. Gargoyles is always good for that, eh? One thing I immediately wondered is if the man behind Robert the Bruce is, in fact, Macbeth fighting on the sly for Scotland. Or is he the Irishman Cormac Maccarthy? Or is he some random dude who happens to look like Macbeth? Or is Cormac just one of Macbeth's alias'? Hard to say, though I suspect talk with the fans and some research will reveal more. Gargoyles sure has a way of making you hit the books. Kudos to Greg for that.

- Now we get to where I get a bit confused. So, we know the Illuminati wants the Stone. They get Xanatos to help. But I'm not sure I understand why, or what exactly Xanatos is up to here. The Stone is in the car being driven by some English military dude (presumably). Xanatos uses the shoe box to stall the convoy on the bridge. Coyote and Coldsteel head to the bridge but don't make it there. While the cars are stopped, Xanatos hits a button which flips the stone with a replica. Alright. The shoe box is found to not be a bomb and the convoy moves on to Scotland. But the same car (with this woman driving now) arrives at some warehouse a little later with the Stone and it is later taken to Carbonek. So... what happened? I'm afraid I didn't figure it out. And I really hate that. I'm not sure if I should feel dissapointed or just stupid. The whole plot leaves me with a lot of questions. The Stone itself seems to say it is every rock and that protecting, mending, stealing or hoarding it is utterly "pointless". Well, great. So that means it doesn't matter which Stone is real and which a fake. But I still want to know what Xanatos' plan was. Was he trying to obtain the Stone for himself while making both the Illuminati and the authorities believe they have the real stone in their possession? Why did he send the robots to attack the gargoyles the night before and what were Coldsteel and Coyote going to do had they reached the bridge? Why did Xanatos summon Coldfire and Coldstone? What happened to stone that was flipped in the car? How did the car get to be driven by the Illuminati woman? I've read the book several times over trying to understand this stuff and I hate to say I don't, but I just don't. *shrugs*

- But moving on, we get to Carbonek. These characters are not what I expected. They are modern. Modern clothes, modern personalities, even beyond modern cybernetics. I guess it makes sense to think about it now, but I sure didn't expect it. The Stone's long dialogue to the four men is just awesome. So cool to think about. What a list. I especially love some of the references like the Megalith Dance and Uluru. Cool. And for the past year I've been thinking about the Stone's little comment to Duval about Arthur being awake and his reaction. This is really interesting stuff. I want to know how the Illuminati knew he'd sleep for another 200 years, but I suppose that is a story for another day. It is funny, for a long time we heard in the series a lot of characters (including Arthur himself) talk about how he'd been awakened early. I always suspected that they were wrong and that Arthur woke precisely when he was destined to and that no one knew what they were talking about. Looks like I might be wrong. And looks like Elisa might've really screwed up the future. Guess Samson will just have to do his best without Arthur.

- Okay, the "Hey" "Hey" Stone/Grail scene is just hilarious. It was hilarious during the Radio Play and it is hilarious in the book.

- So we come to the end of this tale. Which is really just the beginning. Hudson, Lexington, Coldstone and Coldfire decide to hang out with the London Clan a while and it sounds like the latter two might just rejoin the Manhattan Clan when Hudson and Lex return. We'll see. Meanwhile, it is fun to see Una and Leo (and presumably Pog) in the background. And Lunette gets her little line. Coldsteel is off again, but this time he is untraceable, or so Xanatos promises. Xanatos gets the Coyote Diamond back. I like the bit about being it's minder only.

- For the most part, I loved this chapter. Yes, Xanatos' scheme still alludes me, but I'm not worried too much about it. Though I don't understand how things happened exactly, I get the gist of it and know what the end results are. The book itself is filled with so much good stuff, that I'm willing to overlook this problem. And perhaps it is only a problem for me anyway and someone will explain it to me soon. Anyway, I'm off to read #10 now... SO EXCITED!

Greg responds...

"What happened to stone that was flipped in the car? " The stone that WOUND UP ON TOP was installed at Edinburgh Castle. The other was transported to Xanatos in Leith.

It's unimportant who drove the stone from Edinburgh Castle to Xanatos. Some flunky. Or someone Xanatos bribed. In any case, it was not "the woman" who drove this leg. The "woman" (i.e. Fleur) drives the stone FROM Xanatos to Carbonek.

Xanatos was trying to obtain the Stone for himself and give a fake to the Illuminati, but after being told how pointless that was, he went ahead and gave the "original" to Fleur to take to the Illuminati.

The robots were all a distraction, a feint. A way to make Macbeth and Company feel like they accomplished something when in fact they did not. (No sense giving them a reason to investigate further.) Bringing Coldstone and Coldfire in amounts to the same thing. The transport was happening during the day. So X needed witnesses that his attack "failed". Did he have additional reasons for wanting our ColdCouple back in the picture? Well, is he Xanatos?

I'm TRULY sorry this stuff wasn't clear. I can now see why it wasn't, though what seems obvious now wasn't at the time. It was NOT my intent to be unclear on the above points. And the occasional (AND EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING) uncorrected date-time-stamp typo didn't help much.

Response recorded on February 19, 2010