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I finally got my copy of "Bad Guys" today, and here's my review of the final two chapters in it, as a single post (they blended so well, I thought, that I decided to review them together).
I'll start with one word: Falstaff! I'd hoped, after Dingo's real name was revealed, that he'd get into "Bad Guys" in some way, and I was right. And as a bonus, we not only get Falstaff, but also his familiar gang (Mistress Quickly, Bardolph, Pistol, Doll, and Points [sic] - was his name deliberately changed from "Poins"?). I was delighted that in the last chapters of the comic, we'd get some fresh Shakespeare into "Gargoyles" - this time, you make use of the history plays for the first time.
And I got a big laugh out of Falstaff's original name being "Oldcastle", and his headquarters being named "Eastcheap". Not to mention, also, young Harry saying about his mother Mariah "She's the wind." Though the laughter quickly dried up after I saw, at the end of Chapter Five, what *really* happened to her.
I get a kick out of the way Fang's sitting at the conference table when Hunter's telling them about their new mission.
Was Bardolph's fire-breathing ability inspired by all the jokes about his Shakespearean namesake's fiery complexion in the Henry IV plays?
When Falstaff says that the Illuminati want to save the world, I couldn't help thinking that he might be right about that. We learned in "Gargoyles" #9 that the Illuminati's goals (at least, from Peredur's perspective) had something to do with Arthur's anticipated return, most likely to help him out when that happens - certainly a worthy aim. But of course, as Monsieur le Maire brings up in his phone conversation with the Director, the Society's taking the attitude of letting the ends justify the means (enrolling people like Xanatos, Thailog, and Mace Malone, running the Hotel Cabal, supporting the Quarrymen, stealing a national treasure like the Stone of Destiny, etc.).
Incidentally, even if you hadn't mentioned that the Director was at odds with the Illuminati in "Ask Greg", I think we'd have suspected that the Redemption Squad would be facing them at some point. The conversation between Hunter and Castaway in "Estranged" about who each other's financial backers are, and the Casablanca Hotel (whose name echoes the Hotel Cabal's), set up enough of a parallel to the Illuminati Society that a clash would *have* to take place. (Your philosophy about what makes a good antagonist at work, clearly.)
So Fiona Canmore's a member of the Illuminati. It's not a total shock (I'd seen speculations about it before), but a fun surprise, all the same - and so logical, too, in light of Hunter's identity. Thailog's cameo was fun as well (especially Yama's initial belief that the color on the monitor's gone wrong).
Despite Fang's many bad habits, I was impressed that he helped alert his teammates to the Illuminati's nature through his comments on Thailog, and his part in the battle that followed. Maybe, just maybe, there's hope for him yet.
I was delighted when Dingo urged his teammates not to destroy the island, because of all the artwork and historical artifacts stored there (it reminded me a bit of Broadway and Hudson urging Goliath not to burn the Scrolls of Merlin). Another reason why I've grown fond of the guy.
I liked the ending - Falstaff gets away and the Redemption Squad have only managed to capture one of his gang, but that wasn't the real issue. The real issue was their search for redemption, as Yama points out. (I liked the leavening of humor here - Matrix still displaying his single-minded interest in law and order; even Yama is amused here - and his turning to stone in mid-speech, to Fang's exasperation.)
Thanks for the spin-off, Greg. I hadn't initially expected to like "Bad Guys" (I thought it would be just another conventional action series), but I really enjoyed it a lot - especially with Falstaff and his gang, as I said above. And thanks for the eighteen new chapters in the Gargoyles Universe that you gave us with the comics. I hope that they shan't be the last - but even if they were, they've enriched us all the more.
Yes, Poins was deliberately changed to Points to fit his skills... and Bardolph's ability was indeed inspired by the "hellfire" within that the Shakespearean Bardolph is always described as having.