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My review and observations of issue #5, SPOILER heavy.
Starting with the big picture first, this issue is by far the finest to date. It completes the first new canon arc with great pacing, excellent character interactions, and action! Action is always good. The art, too, is some of the best Gargoyles artwork since the series was on air, but then Karine has been drawing Gargoyles artwork since the series was on the air and Stephanie coloring since that time as well, so I will avoid making comparisons to the other artists who have contributed to the comic as newcomers to the property (to say nothing of my bias towards those artists).
Diving into it…
The cover illustration was probably the most eye-grabbing covers I've seen on my local (…ish) comic book store's shelves in a while. It's been a while since Goliath has been so obviously, severely wounded - other times he's tended to suck it up and stay in the fight, this time he was clearly out.
I will be honest that I did NOT catch Mary and Finella's appearance on the first read. It's just been so long since I've seen them that I passed them over; but once I did recognize them, I was glad to see them again - and took my anticipation of Timedancer up a notch.
I also liked how the Judge's opening line was repeated by Thailog under much different circumstances (and I am blanking on the literary term for this…), much like in "Invitation Only" where Thailog took off of the DJ's opening statement.
Jumping ahead to keep with the conflict, I know you said at the Gathering that Angela was speaking *literally* when she called Thailog a bastard, it still seems to me that Angela, of all the clan, would be the least likely to drop that term - because even as Demona's daughter, it's hard for me to perceive even Demona using terms like that. But then Gargoyles was a show for a younger audience, so only you know what the characters are saying "off-screen."
As for the battle itself, Thailog does seem to be having a grand old time going around and slashing the gargoyles and Elisa, really, unopposed - even Brooklyn doesn't seem to put up much of a fight. More here than at other points he comes off as one sadistic, well, bastard.
Delilah's appearance at the end of the battle raises some very interesting questions - which I ask in a post right behind this one - but what I find particularly interesting is just how dismissive she is of the Manhattan clan in favor of her clan. She shuts Angela down, doesn't hesitate to stick it to Goliath, despite his pain, and she doesn't help Brooklyn to his feet on her entrance but rather Malibu. Granted, she has every right to be mad at Goliath for using her, but she seemed pretty cold to him in "Invitation Only" to begin with; and it's not that I ever thought of Delilah as being a friend of the Manhattan clan's, but I also hadn't pictured her as being quite this cold as well.
That she dismisses Thailog too, then, seems to be perfectly in keeping with her character - or what we know of it to this point. Despite being programmed as the "perfect companion," she does not like to be thought of as other people's property.
And then there's the conclusion of the combat where Brooklyn is shot down once again. It can't be easy being Super-Goyle.
Of course, Brooklyn's grief can't overshadow Elisa and Goliath finally coming to terms with their feelings for each other, but what in my mind does seem to rise to the forefront is how Dr. Sato is feeling at that moment. Not only have gargoyles been revealed to him as more than a good foundation for a costume, but that one of his acquaintances has a deep relationship with one must be a lot to take in.
I almost hope that he's too concentrated on keeping Goliath's vitals up to not pick up on Elisa's relationship to him, but somehow I doubt that.
On the Illuminati arc…
So we learn some more about the structure of the Illuminati; not only in the number of members (I should have expected nothing less than for you to have chosen the mother of all numbers in Western culture, and yet I was still surprised) but that at least the senior membership of the Illuminati does have access to a pretty good health plan.
As I said in my review/observations of "Masque," the personal staffers of powerful people tend to have the best access to said powerful people, so why Quincy's revelation necessarily *impressed* Xanatos rather than made sense to him kind of raised my eyebrow.
Then there's Shari, who I was obviously very wrong about being "third wheel." Really I don't have much else to say except mea culpa, and that Thailog looked slightly less than happy that he might be taking marching orders from her, "executive assistant" or not (whereas she seemed fine with it).
Back to the big picture…
What I like most about this issue is that it brings out everything we had seen in the last two issues - the way characters were behaving and interacting with each other, their motives and thought processes, and it resolves a number of issues from "Invitation Only" and earlier while keeping things open for stories down the road. Combined with the last two issues, it finally feels like we've gotten a new *episode* of Gargoyles out rather than a few interesting stories.
Very well done.
Thanks. That was the intent.