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Alex Garg writes...

Without traffic, it's a 30 minute drive to my comic book store. With traffic, it's one and one-half hours. The latter is what I fought in order to get my copy of Gargoyles #3, but I say it was worth the trek.

Of course, there's the required sigh of relief: After 11 years of waiting, new canon! In this true follow-up to "The Journey," we still have some character introductions and blunt exposition, but we might as well get them in one story rather than drag it out; that way we can get to the real meaty canon waiting for us in months down the line.

The non-spoiler version:

The art shows plenty of improvement, and plenty of places where improvement can be had. I think the coloring in this issue matches Hedgecock's style better, but it's still not going to get any rave reviews. I'm somewhat lukewarm to the new characters, but then... they're new. There's a long way to go with them.

But with the SPOILERS (and LOTS of them):

First, let's jump into the art. This is a comic after all, so there's no point in ignoring it. Hedgecock asked for three issues before we cast judgment, and this is issue number three, so: No, I'm not wild about the penciling, but I don't think it's been worth a lot of the fuss that's been made over it. Obviously the fandom has had its share of stellar artists, most of whom I *would* prefer to see taking on a project like this, but I don't see the art here as being too out of synch with a lot of new comics.

Frankly, I found more fault with the coloring of the first two issues than the pencil work, and I think Dustin Evans' work is a better fit for Hedgecock's style. And there's plenty of evidence in this issue that Hedgecock is getting a hang of the character models, so on the whole I feel positively towards the artwork of this issue.

Now, on to the meat:

I liked the reference to the upcoming visit to the White House in the opening page - subtle, but there - although to whomever was in charge of that page: You, er, missed the comma between Washington and D.C.; and even more technically, for an address you would use the postal abbreviation DC and not the D.C. form. I'm just pointing it out as a local, not a critic.

The use of the background radio chatter was a nice way to set the stage in the opening panels, and it segued nicely into the Task Force's meeting, where we meet two new detectives, and three cheers for the reappearance of Martin Hacker! I've been a quiet fan of his for a long time - I just like the idea of a guy who on the outside seems like a pretty mid-level management/agent kind of person, ultimately forgettable, but who in another realm is someone of real consequence. Matt clearly is still a bit upset about having been lead around the bushes by Hacker for so long, and I think that comes out very nicely in their brief "on scene" exchange.

After the meeting, I'm glad it was Officer Morgan who approached Elisa, as there's no way I would see Elisa approaching Officer Morgan - pre-talk with Goliath, anyway. Clearly Elisa was dealing with the many issues which presented themselves in recent nights, and I doubt she was of the mindset to approach a colleague and proposition him for a date.

I was also particularly fond of the exchange with Jason. He's letting her go before anything else needs to be said, and I think it shows that he still has a pretty strong character to be able to fess up to that. And who brought Jason the flowers sitting on the table at the foot of his bed?

Next scene with the gargoyles awake, I like Brooklyn's silent reactions to watching Broadway and Angela make nice as a couple. First it's angst, but by the last panel of page nine, he looks really annoyed at how obvious the two are making it, or perhaps just repulsed by how clingy they seem (they definitely have the new-couple clingy thing going on). It's no surprise he wanted to bail to the Labyrinth (with an appropriate choice of words: primp. Good word. Apt word. Primp).

I did end up feeling particularly bad for Goliath his conversation with Elisa. "I realize your options are limited-" "Limited?!" The laundry list of things she wanted that he couldn't offer, she might as well have pulled out a picture of Norman Rockwell's work and said, "You see this? This is what I want. Can you cook a turkey?"

And that was a very clever way to bring back Demona.

Jumping ahead a little bit to put together all of Hacker's conversations with Bluestone, Xanatos, and Castaway, it's clear he's lying to *somebody,* but I'm hesitant to say that he's lying to *everybody.* Clearly the Illuminati either wants something to do with the gargoyles or nothing to do with the gargoyles. If it's the former, then clearly Castaway's being lied to, and if it's the latter, it seems like the Illuminati are going to excessive lengths to get rid of the gargoyles. Giving Xanatos an order to walk out onto the parapets with a sledgehammer at dawn would be sufficient for that cause.

Of course, I'm not writing the thing, so I can only make guesses at this point.

Getting past the exposition of the Labyrinth, more angst for Brooklyn! It's bad enough he's in proximity to one of the females who outright rejected him, but then he has to suffer a block from Goliath. I mean, wow, the guy has worse luck than I do.

As for the new character introduced in the Labyrinth, I have to say that I gave her a lukewarm reception. She strikes me as awfully third wheel: an apparent acquaintance of an associate to a minor villain doesn't strike me off the bat as someone worth raising much of an eyebrow for. But, then, there are many issues down the road to find out things about her.

I like the approach to Castaway. He wants the gargoyles destroyed, not his reputation and budding standing within the city. With this kind of character, there are plenty of places Castaway can go, and I'll look forward to following him.

And three cheers for the dramatic return of Thailog! Guns at the ready and everything, it's a great jump off to issue #4.

On the whole, it's a fine way to return to canon stories. Plenty of story arcs are open for business, and I'm looking forward to May to get back into them. Well done, Greg, and kudos to your team!

Greg responds...

Thanks. I'm not sure which "minor villain" you're referring to though.

Response recorded on April 10, 2007