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My Review For Bad Guys #6, "Losers"...
- Alright! I'm glad we are ending this mini-series with a pretty strong cover. And I'm really pleased that this cover is what made the cover for the trade. I had kinda figured we'd be getting a group shot for this final cover and it looks great. Matrix is very cool here and Hunter and Dingo look awesome here. My only complaints is that Fang looks a bit too cat-like and Yama looks like Goliath. But I can get over it.
- So, here we go. We don't pick up where we left off at Eastcheap Island, but back in Paris where the Mr. Director is chatting with Dolores and later Monsieur Le Maire. A bunch of characters we don't know anything about really, aside from the fact that they are part of the organization that formed the Redemption Squad. Hunter at one point claims this group is Interpol, but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to believe her or not. I hope (and suspect) these three unknown characters will be expanded down the road, particularly the Director. On a related note, I was expecting to see the story of Hunter's recruitment in this chapter, but it was not to be. A story for another day, I suppose. This issue has a lot to work with already.
- Back at Eastcheap, everybody chills out (except Hunter) and sits down to a nice meal. Falstaff couldn't be more right when he called this lot a motley crew. Something that has always appealed to me about the Redemption Squad is that they seem like they'd be perfect for and a lot of fun fighting another group. I've been looking forward to a Redemption Squad versus The Ultra-Pack battle for years, but Falstaff's Band of Thieves seems like they'd make a great group antagonist also, and I'm sure we'll see more of them in the Bad Guys series.
- We continue on with a lively discussion at the dinner table. Falstaff, Dingo and Hunter all have this great dynamic with each other. It is like none of them really like each other, but are trying to get along. Dingo in particular plays the middle-man so well here. Mediating between these two groups. And it is funny because he doesn't have much reason to trust either Falstaff or Hunter. He doesn't know or understand what Falstaff is doing here, but Hunter won't even tell him who he is supposed to be working for. And on top of that, he has this past relationship with Falstaff and this blooming future relationship with Hunter, so he really is stuck in the middle here, and it seems to me now that Dingo has always been the middle-man. Balanced. Not good or bad. Anyway, a fun scene. We also get a cool bit where Fang is chowing down... and Matrix is eating a fork! Funny.
- And speaking of Matrix. I find him to be very interesting is this chapter. What strikes me most is his non-direct interplay with Falstaff. Falstaff really seems to be bothered by Matrix a lot. Looking at him funny, thinking over the things Matrix says. I can't put my finger on it, but I suspect something is going on in Falstaff's mind concerning Matrix. And Matrix continues to be an incredibly resourceful and useful teammate. In that aspect, he is sorta the R2-D2 of the group. Maybe not the main hero, but consistently saving and supporting the hero. That kind of character has always appealed to me and Matrix is no exception. I do remember hearing Greg talking about Matrix doing something truly incredible down the road and becoming a foe the Redemption Squad must face. I hope we get to see that story eventually because Matrix really is fascinating.
- Meanwhile, Falstaff tries to convince the Squad that they really are the good guys. And he does this in such an interesting way. Falstaff himself talks to Dingo. Tries to show him that he has reformed and is some sort of guardian these days. And Falstaff sets up some communications with a couple other Illuminati members: Fiona Canmore and Thailog. This is just brilliant, great stuff. There are so many conflicting things going on around here. You have a team of villains who don't know who they are working for that are trying to be good guys confronting a team of possibly bad guys who are trying to prove they are good guys working for a possibly good organization and as proof they get a couple not-so-protagonists to vouch for them. And one of them is a gargoyle and the other a gargoyle hunter. Wow.
I'm not sure if it was just luck that Matrix went along with Hunter to talk to Fiona instead of, say, Yama. Would've been an interesting conversation with Aunt Fiona with a gargoyle standing next to Hunter. Nice to see Fiona in the canon finally. And not far away we get Yama make something of a joke for us ("Someone fix the color!" Very funny.) and he and Fang chat with Thailog. These conversations don't seem to go as planned for Falstaff though. Hunter has left the family business, but Fiona indicates that there is more to things than that. We don't see what happens next, but it seems to me that Hunter has a hard time going along with whatever else Fiona has to say. And Fang vouching for Thailog means little since no one trusts Fang. So, in the end it seems only Dingo is willing to give the Illuminati the benefit of the doubt. Maybe.
- So, the Squad takes a few minutes to confer. As a side note, anyone else notice the tapestry in the room they are left in? Looks like a gargoyle fighting a human to me. Hunter gives it a passing glance anyway. Safe inside the Matrix Isolation Sphere, we see some sharing of notes. Of course, all of this is intercut with the following scene. Like the last issue, these flashes back and forth in time really keep the suspense up. Sometimes it even comes across as if the scenes were talking to each other, if you get my meaning. Dialogue in one scene inter-plays with dialogue in another. And we are not always sure what each group, even each character, is up to until the end. Really great stuff. Kudos to Greg for that. And Fang starts off a pretty climactic battle. Matrix takes out Mistress Quickly pretty easily, which makes his point. He wraps her up in some sort of shell. Greg indicated at the Gathering that she was, in fact, still alive, but in some sort of hibernation. That can't be fun for her, yikes. Of course, her teammate Points is dealing out some damage of his own, stabbing Yama in the gut. I like how Yama admits that Points is a superior swordsman, but endures the injury to take advantage of his own superior traits, namely his strength and knowledge that he will heal. Still, must've hurt, yowch. Dingo pulls out his old bolas. I don't think we've seen Dingo use the bolas since "Thrill of the Hunt". Falstaff pulls a Goliath by snapping his way out of them though. Guess he still has some muscle under the medieval getup and pounds of fat. And Hunter kicks the face of the amazing, fire-breathing Bardolph. I guess his face was already messed up, but still...
But the Squad is outnumbered and out-gunned... seemingly. Falstaff and Dingo play a game of bluffing and Falstaff bails. He reveals that Eastcheap isn't an island, but a submersible vessel of huge size. Didn't expect that! The Band of Thieves leaves the Squad to its fate in the soon to be flooded chamber. I can't help think that despite his words, Falstaff knew they'd escape and survive like we all did. Matrix saves the day again and we get our last scene with our heros(?)
Hunter is frustrated that they did not manage to capture the island or the treasure or Falstaff. No one points out that they did escape with a prisoner however. Anyway, Fang is content just to survive and Yama... actually agrees with Fang sort of. Yama tells the team that the road to their redemption is a journey and that gaining a captive or an island or whatever isn't as important as walking the road. These results are not the destination, more like perks along the road. There is a beautiful but brief moment of comraderie here with everyone, but most notably between Fang and Yama. Yama actually puts his hand on Fang's shoulder (must be the blood loss) and Fang listens so intently to Yama's words. Of course, the sun rises and we don't get to hear the obvious answer of when we've reached redemption. Fang goes back to being Fang and gives us one last curse word for the books. His use of the word "crap" really serves to re-emphasize to me, the reader, about how dark this comic was able to get at times, yet how fun and comedic it was too. A cool moment. Hunter and Dingo's last little look at each other is nice too. Honestly, the last three pages are just wonderful. Very poignant and satisfying. A great ending to this mini-series. I really hope to see more of the Bad Guys spin-off down the Redemption Road.
P.S. Can't help notice that the Humility Spell didn't turn Yama's clothes to stone... guess the Squad is in for an eyeful at sunset. : )
Glad you enjoyed the issue and the volume...