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My Review For Gargoyles #11, "Tyrants"...
- Alright. I'm a liar. I said in my "Rock of Ages" review that I planned to read each issue independently and review them before moving on to the next chapter, so as to get my true first impressions of each story without influence from later chapters or talking with fans. I was doing pretty well until this issue. By the end of it, I could hardly stop before moving on to #12. What is worse is that I've recently returned home from the Gathering and have had lots of discussions and revelations about the entire book. Nevertheless, I'll do my best to write these reviews as separate issues, focusing on my initial impressions for the most part.
- So, as usual, I'll start with the cover. Brooklyn meeting his past, frozen self is a neat idea. The cover made me wonder immediately if Brook will ever meet and talk to himself at some point in his TimeDancing. I guess we'll have to wait and see. Anyway, it is a good, fun cover.
- We pick up more or less where we left off, though I get the sense that some time is passing in 10-12 that we are not seeing. There is a lot of traveling through Scotland going on and I'm sure Brook is spending days on the road. What strikes me about that is that this time is passing without note, which contrast greatly with the previous three comics where every minute was accounted for. So, Mary, Finella and Brooklyn arrive back at Wyvern. A few years have passed since the Massacre and all seems quiet and calm at the old Castle. Brooklyn finally gets a chance to really face what happened to his Clan. Their crushed remains lie all around him. Brook is such a rich character. Capable of such sorrow and anguish and still be one of the most humorous characters in the series. Great writing. Brooklyn learns quickly that it isn't a great idea to talk about future events to people in the past when Mary asks about Tom. I get the sense here that Mary and Finella know and believe Brook is from the future, but not from how far in the future. I doubt Mary knows about how time passes on Avalon, so I suspect that she might only believe Brook is from a few decades down the road. Interesting. Also of note here is that Brook finds an old scabbard for the sword he obtained in the last chapter. I think this merits note because suddenly Brooklyn feels the need to carry a weapon, something he has never needed before. He also discovers that Goliath's half of the Phoenix Gate is not available.
- Meanwhile, in less quiet corners of Scotland, the busy world of war and politics is ticking along. Constantine fulfills his moniker of "Constantine the Bald" by shaving his head. Thanks to Todd Jenson and the GargWiki I was well aware of this historical tidbit before reading this chapter and it gave me a cool feeling. Constantine's relationship with Gillecomgain is very interesting, and thus the relationship with Mail Brigti is interesting as well. Constantine seems creepily fascinated by the teenager and this seems to worry Brigti, though he is probably wise to say nothing of it. Most strongly on Constantine's mind seems to be the war however. I like how he mentions the "Three Brothers". Valmont is cool here too. He deduces that Katharine and Magus have left "this world", Tom is with them or dead and that the Grimorum remains in Scotland all by reading the entrails of goats! A talented and creepy sorcerer to be sure.
- And finally, in another corner of Scotland, Demona arrives to her clan's cave with bad news. "They're all dead". Yikes. She seems mostly pissed off, but everyone else seems more shocked and sad. I like that distinction. And lets talk about this clan. The male gargoyles are not new to us, but the females and the beasts are. I can't help suspecting that the beasts are Bronx's biological parents and that the young female is 'True', Hudson's biological daughter. As it turns out, both suspicions were correct as revealed at the Gathering. Apparently, this cell is of gargoyles that originated at Wyvern. Kinda cool. We also get our first canon mention of the Wind Ceremony (just as earlier we got our first canon mention of the Humility Spell, this is a good chapter for canonizing things). I like how young, innocent 'True' suggests a Wind Ceremony, but the older, harder, angrier Demona just wants vengeance. For me this symbolizes Demona's ironic drift from the true gargoyle ways.
- And in yet one more corner of Scotland, the army of the Three Brothers assembles. I love their emblem being the three swords. A symbol of unity as opposed to Constantine's claw being a symbol of domination. So, while Demona plots to kill all humanity, Grim is hoping they will be strong allies, that is pretty cool. Really plays into how much I like the Grim. And he gets some luck when Brooklyn arrives and immediately allies himself, with hope that he can bring an army of gargoyles. Things are looking up for the army of the Three Brothers. I also want to mention that I found it funny to see Bodhe and Brooklyn standing next to each other. Not two characters I ever really suspected of being in the same scene, but I suppose TimeDancer will give us plenty of surprises along that line.
- So, we've visited all the 'camps' in this issue and now they all start coming together. After a really funny moral message to his audience beyond the fourth wall, Brooklyn leaves to find the last remaining gargoyles in Scotland. I get a good sense of a lot more time passing here. Maybe a few days or even longer. Brook finds more smashed clans and spends his days hiding before finally being discovered by an old acquaintance, the gargoyle who will be Demona. Naturally, he attacks her immediately. She is amazed to discover she knows him and he barely keeps his anger in check. I like how they both start lying to each other about how they survived the Massacre. After Demona stammers out her line about being in the forest, Brook brushes it off with a "Doesn't matter". I love how he knows she is lying and yet doesn't call her on it. Good restraint on his part and from the other angle it makes me wonder what Demona's reaction will be when she realizes Brooklyn was not being entirely honest either.
- Back at the ranch, Finella wants to try to use the Grimorum. Mary says this sounds dangerous, and I have to agree. Everyone else who has used the book was probably in training for years. We'll see if she can pull it off. I suppose knowing Latin and seeing magic performed before is a good start, but still...
- And at the opposing army's camp, Constantine the Artist is doing some really fun face-painting for the kids... or actually creating an emblem of fear, hatred and genocide which will last for centuries. And all the while is being a real jerk. Killing the messenger and all that. And finally we come to the Battle of Rathveramoen, which we've been building towards for a while. The army of the Three Brothers seems way out-gunned until sunset. And then we get this AWESOME two page spread of Brooklyn leading the gargoyle army into the battle. I noted a couple cool things with this battle. I liked how the gargoyle beasts are seen already chomping down on Constantine's men. I like how Demona's Clan left the young gargoyles behind which contrasts with Bodhe being in the battle, against Gillecomgain, no less. I like how Demona's Second is thrilled at the thought of a 'true battle' rather than the hiding the scattered clan had been doing, and I find it cool that he (and apparently the whole clan) has started calling Brooklyn "The Gargoyle of the Sword". Not a name, of course, but just gargoyles being gargoyles. Why call it 'The Hudson' and not just 'the river', why call him 'Brooklyn' and not just 'the gargoyle of the sword'? The are just called what they are, I love it.
- And lastly we get the battle coming to where it wasn't supposed to get. Mary and Finella's guards are quickly taken out by Valmont and the Grimorum is snatched away. And we get this iconic Gargoyles moment where Demona and her enemy speak the same passionate line. In this case both desire to control Scotland. Really great stuff.
- This was a really interesting issue. Lots of new, cool things to look at, new canon stuff and a great battle begins. A fun issue that clearly left me desperate for more as I was unable to stop reading at this point. And I can still in my mind almost hear Valmont or Constantine's voice-over say "To Be Concluded..."
Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I did really try to put everything I could into those issues...