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Clan-Building #10: The Gate

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Clan-Building Review

There's a pretty comprehensive review of Clan-Building here:

http://www.examiner.com/review/celebrate-twenty-years-of-gargoyles-with-slave-labor-graphics-clan-building

This guy really knows the series.


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Greg Bishansky writes...

For the GargWiki's timeline, I was wondering if you would share the dates and descriptions from your timeline of the events from #10, #11, ans #12 of "Gargoyles."

Thanks

Greg responds...

997
Time-Dancing Brooklyn arrives and immediately encounters King Constantine, Maíl Brigti, Gillecomgain and Brother Valmont. He rescues Mary and Finella (and the Grimorum Arcanorum) from villagers, who believe the two women are witches. He gains a sword in the process. Maol Chalvim, Findlaech, Kenneth III (a.k.a. The Grim) and Bodhe discuss how to topple Constantine, perhaps by allying with gargoyles. Constantine and Gillecomgain destroy a cell of gargoyles at Sruighlea, and Demona finds the rubble. (“The Gate”) Brooklyn, Mary and Finella journey to Wyvern but are unable to acquire Goliath’s piece of the Phoenix Gate. Constantine shaves his head. Demona tells her cell of gargoyles, including Second, Sacrifice, Brooksbro, Schnozz, Kermit, True, Chomp and Chaw about the dead Sruighlea gargoyles. Brooklyn, Mary and Finella make contact with Grim, and Brooklyn tracks down Demona to get her help. (“Tyrants”)

Hunter’s Moon, 997
All combatants and their armies converge at Rathveramoen. Valmont takes the Grimorum. (“Tyrants”) Valmont uses the Grimorum to rain arrows from heaven. Sacrifice, Maíl Brigti and the old nag Magus are killed. Demona ends the spell. Brooklyn returns the Grimorum to Finella. Constantine III is killed at age @26 at the Battle of Rathveramoen by the popular Kenneth III (Katharine’s cousin, the son of Duff). The Phoenix returns and Brooklyn, Finella and Mary leave this time period with the Grimorum. (“Phoenix”)

Saturday, January 10th, 1997
Brooklyn is accidentally sent dancing through time by the Phoenix that was inside the Phoenix Gate. (“The Gate”) He returns to the present mere seconds after he departed. But for him, forty years have passed, and he has not come back alone. Brooklyn brings along his mate Katana, their son Nashville, the gargoyle beast Fu-Dog and an unhatched gargoyle egg, nicknamed Egwardo. (“Phoenix”)

Response recorded on February 23, 2012

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Todd Jensen writes...

One of the big changes you made from canon-in-training to canon, in "Clan-Building", was having the Phoenix rather than the Phoenix Gate be the cause of Brooklyn's timedancing. I thought about it recently, and think that it was a good change.

Aside from it providing a good explanation for why it took so long for Brooklyn to get back (it would probably have seem far-fetched if each time the Phoenix Gate appeared during those forty years, he always failed to grab it before it disappeared again), I think it added something to his journey. While we don't know exactly what the Phoenix is as yet, or what its agenda is, the way it was depicted (and Brooklyn's own comments) made it clear that it deliberately took Brooklyn to Scotland in 997, that this was not just some accidental fluke, that the Phoenix has a purpose and intentions like those of any sentient being. Brooklyn isn't being battened about the time-stream by an out of control magical talisman, but is being sent places to fulfill a mission, like Goliath and his companions on the Avalon World Tour. His adventures up and down history, past and future, are the product of a plan, not just the whims of chance. I think it made for a much better story.

Greg responds...

Thanks.

Response recorded on March 12, 2010

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Chip writes...

Review for GARGOYLES CLAN-BUILDING; CHAPTER 10: THE GATE
Okay, this has been the most anticipated story-line in the entire Gargoyles Fandom…and man it did not disappoint.
First, a shout out to the AMAZING art by Greg Guler…Karine Charlebois said that the art was beyond description at the 08 Gathering…but seeing it nowâ€"it knocks Karine from my favorite gargoyles comic artist to my second fave. (No offense to her, I do still LOVE her work)
So Brooklyn goes gliding away from the Eerie Building…presumably to get away from the Lovey-dovey couple. Too bad they appeared to have followed him. The look of annoyance on Brook’s face was priceless. (Oh, incidentally…it took me ages to figure out what the sign on the building they landed on said. At first, I thought it might be the GOLDEN CUP building from the series, or perhaps the CASABLANCA HOTEL. I finally realized that it’s THE DAILY BUGLE. Clever…you placed so many GARGOYLES references in SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN; it was kinda nice to see a Spidey reference in Gargs.)
You waste no time, the Gate appears, and Brook tries to pick it up…and it disintegrates. An enormous two-page Phoenix emerges and swallows Brooklyn whole, leaving Broadway and Angela behind, looking on in horror…I could hear Broadway’s voice…
997, Brook emerges from the flames…I note that the Phoenix itself does not seem to appear, but rather an orange glow just off-screen. It makes me wonder if the Phoenix actually shows up when Brook is arriving, or if he just tumbles out of the flames, with no actual Phoenix manifesting.
I recognized Gillecomgain, Constantine III, and Mail Brigti right away (though, I did not know Mail’s name…just that he was Gilly’s father.) Their reaction’s to Brooklyn’s appearance was not unexpected. Brigti seems indifferent…oh look, a gargoyle. Oh look, a cow. Oh look, a horse. No big deal.
Gilly calls Brook a “demon”. BIG shock there. (Rolls eyes) Constantine orders them to kill it. It reminds me of his “I don’t like Gargoyle Eggs” line in “Avalon Part 1” C and G fail miserably to take Brook down…but this fourth figure…Brother Valmont, uses potent sorcery to shoot a flaming arrow that hits Brooklyn’s leg.
From what the Magus said in “Avalon Part 3” I thought one needed a conduit to use magic…like the Grimorum, but this guy seems to be able to use magic without one.
The next few pages are the most interesting to me…Brook breaks apart the arrow and it bursts into magical flames…makes me wonder if it would have done that if he’d left it in.
Finella tears the wanted poster off the door…and mysteriously…there’s another…and when the guard tears off the poster…there’s yet another. Is this another one of Brother Valmont’s magics?
And then the minions come…and it can’t help the gargoyle-human relations that Brook is red…with horns. Based on Finella’s expressions, I don’t think she’s ever seen a gargoyle before.
Moving on…Maol Chalvim and Kenneth III (AKA The Grim). I like The Grim, but it surprised me that he’s Bodhe’s dad…and it upset me slightly that when I did the historical research that Maol would overthrow him. But…I liked Findlaech’s appearance too.
Then we some cool new gargoyle designs, including a new beast in the foreground, only to see them get smashed. I especially liked the female with the “beard” of spikes. She was cool. And another wanted poster is posted.
And Brooklyn awakes…I love how much Mary has changed in her attitude in just three short years…and Brook makes a Quantum Leap reference…very cool, considering that that show was quite popular in the 90’s. (And still is in some circles)
I love that Brooklyn GETS why he’s here so quickly. He understands how Avalon works, and figures that the Phoenix works the same way. I also think he’s actually pleased with the situation…considering that he’s now away from Broadway and Angela…I would be too in his shoes…and I HAVE been in those shoes before.
And we end with a full page picture of Demona that was so cool I took a picture and made it the wallpaper on my phone, and I’m not even that big a Demona fan. I note she’s holding the wanted poster…and wonder if there is a new one on the cave wall.
I think that I will post my reviews of 11 & 12 at a later date, but I look forward to the arrival of my Bad Guys.

Greg responds...

And I look forward to your reviews, Chip. Thanks!

Response recorded on February 23, 2010

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Matt writes...

My Review For Gargoyles #10, "The Gate"...

- Having the next chapter a page turn away but forcing myself to refrain from proceeding until I write up a review is really good motivation for writing said review. So even though I'm not feeling well and just want to read the next chapter and go to sleep, I'm gonna write up my #10 review instead. Who knew I could be so disciplined?

- So, lets start with the cover for this one. A cool cover, though I wonder if it is a bit bland. I'm not sure it would do a great job of catching the eye and bringing in new fans, though I suppose that criticism is moot given that it never hit the stands anyway. Being an old fan (and knowing what the Phoenix Gate is and why Brooklyn's hand is reaching for it), I thought it was very cool. Very exciting.

- Beyond the cover we find ourselves in a new adventure quite separate from the last couple chapters. A different setting, a different bunch of lead characters and, most strikingly, a different artist. Like many others I've greatly anticipated Greg Guler's art in this issue. And, to no one's surprise, he didn't dissapoint. Like Karine Charlebois, Guler's style here really echoes the TV series. This, of course, isn't a shock since Guler designed many of these characters for the series in the first place. It's impossible not to like Guler's work here since it feels so Gargoyles. That doesn't mean I don't like Hedgecock's (or other artists') work on the book, because many people know I liked Hedgecock's work a lot. But one thing I greatly enjoyed about Hedgecock is that he kept well-known characters recognizable while still maintaining his own style. With Guler, the style is the same style as the show. I think both are great, honestly. The ironic thing I noticed immediately when reading this chapter is that some characters not directly designed by Guler (such as Broadway) are spot on, while others he did work on extensively (like Angela) seem a little off at times. All of it looks great though.

- So our story starts back in Manhattan where the oh so melancholy Brooklyn endures the Broadway-Angela relationship. This must be especially tough with Lex and Hudson off in London. Clearly, Brook wants them back for their company. He seems so lonely. I wonder how much he hangs out with Goliath. Who else can he hang out with? How many times in these reviews have I said "Poor Brooklyn"?

- Anyway, the three young gargs are hanging out and a portal opens and out pops the fiery Gate. I wonder if this is where the Gate immediately came after Goliath tossed it in "Future Tense". And if so, why here and why now? Did Goliath's mind have some influence? Or did the Gate come here and now completely on its own accord? Hard to know, though the events that happen next make me suspect the latter. Before anyone has a chance to do anything, the Gate seems to... evaporate or something and out from the ashes (how neat is that?) comes one huge flaming Phoenix. Woah! Thats a big bird. I wonder what nearby New Yorkers thought of that pyrotechnic display. I really like how the Phoenix seems to single out Brook. I wonder why, but no one gets any answers here. The bird gobbles him up as if it didn't have a moment to spare (haha). This leads to one of my favorite moments in this chapter; Broadway and Angela. Now, having the general idea of this moment spoiled to me nearly ten years ago, I've had a lot of time to imagine how it goes down. In ways I'm not too far off, in other ways I was surprised how I reacted. As I suspected, Broadway and Angela do what they can to rescue Brook from the flames and are not successful, but after he is gone and the flames have died out we get one great little panel. Broadway says, "We've... we've lost him..." And Angela responds, "Maybe forever..." How chilling that was! I'm serious, the first time I read it, I got chills from Angela's line. And I think I know how this sort of ends even! Broadway has this sad moment of fear and helplessness and frustration and Angela responds with this great line that contains this mix of pragmatism and sorrow. Like she is trying to comfort Broadway, reassure herself, but ultimately face reality all at once. Leave it to Greg Weisman to deliver such powerful moments in such little dialogue. I mean I am really impressed. A couple frames to look at and no voice actors and I still totally feel for these characters. Great stuff. Really great.

- And what about our poor Brooklyn? Well, he seems to barely have time to catch his breath before he faces danger yet again. This chapter just keeps moving forward, which contrasts greatly with the last three issues. As fun and interesting as the non-linear storytelling was, it really is a relief to get back to a more standard format. One big catch is that I seem to read through these issues even quicker. Anyway, Here we are again in the tenth century, much to the delight of many fans, I'm sure. Flashbacks and time travel and other adventures in the past really are one of the great things about Gargoyles. It is no surprise to me that nearly all the multi-part episodes contain them as they seem to be bursting beyond the seams of a normal length tale. There is so much neat stuff going on in (the year of our lord) 997 that I barely know where to start. Some of the cool things that come to mind include the use of tenth century 'slang' and viewpoints, the natural alliance of Gillecomgain and Constantine, the appearance of one of Constantine's aforementioned sorcerers, and Mary and Finella's continued life on the run. All these characters are so fascinating. I look at Finella and wonder if she has ever seen a real gargoyle before. She seems so amazed that they actually bleed. I love that Constantine is a jerk, but a smart one, he knows his enemies will seek the help of gargoyles and moves to destroy them. I like how he kills the gargoyles out of strategy and maybe a bit of evil joy, while Gillecomgain's destruction of them is pure anger and vengeance.

- And how about the gargoyles themselves? Naturally, I'm thrilled to see a new bunch of Scottish gargoyles, especially since they include females and a beast! They didn't last long though, and boy is Demona pissed about that. Of course, she hasn't been named Demona yet, right? But damn isn't she getting an awful lot of non-speaking cameos in the comic. Isn't this the fourth or fifth book we've seen her, but not heard from her? I know thats about to change, but it strikes me as interesting. Like Greg is baiting along those diehard Demona fans! Haha.

- And as for Brooklyn himself, we see here so clearly how he, more than many other Gargoyles characters can lead his own spinoff. He is a warrior and has issues and aspirations and problems and a keen mind. But most of all he has that sarcastic humor we all love him for. He really had me laughing out loud in this one. Kudos Greg! Some great lines: "Okay, now that I've set back human-gargoyle relations for the next millennium..." and "Look, I know you've never seen Star Trek or Quantum Leap, but I need you to understand - I'm from the future." Great, great stuff.

- One other scene I want to point out is the meeting between the rightful heirs of the Scottish throne. There is a lot of cool stuff going on here. You've got this new character called "The Grim". The moniker is such a contrast to how he seems to actually be. I like him. He seems wise and kind and good-natured. A really good guy in a really ugly world. I love how he knows from his own family history that gargoyles can be powerful allies. He makes me wish that his wisdom and optimism about gargoyles would lead to a good future between the species, though we know this is not to be. Not yet. The other three characters are not new at all. We've got Maol Chalvim just as brooding as ever. Findlaech, who has always been such a great mix of "look at the bright side" and "face reality". And then young Bodhe. Bodhe was a fun surprise. I was surprised he was the Grim's son, I was surprised at his relative youth next to his future friend Findlaech, and most of all I was surprised by his eagerness to follow his father into battle. This is very different from the somewhat cowardly man we know he grows to be. I have to wonder what changes him down the road?

- One final note before I wrap this review up. The "wanted posters" that Constantine is displaying all over Scotland... they seem to have been drawn by the same artists that are designing the characters in Spectacular Spider-Man. Tom especially has a strong resemblance to Peter Parker. I find myself looking for the mole... Anyway, kinda funny. I guess now that references to the other show goes both ways.

- This issue was just awesome. One of the best of the ten chapters, in my humble opinion. The art, the plot, the writing all of it was perfection. My only gripe would be the cover, but one message of this series has always been to not judge a book by its cover and that axiom certainly bears truth for me here. This chapter really leaves me desperate for more, so I'm off to read #11!

Greg responds...

If Greg Guler was consciously trying to ape Sean Galloway's style for those wanted posters, it's news to me...

Response recorded on February 22, 2010

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Blaise writes...

GARGOYLES
CLAN-BUILDING
ISSUE #10

THE GATE

Yes! Finally! The "TIMEDANCER" story! A three-comic arc focusing on my favorite "GARGOYLES" character! I have been looking forward to this for (literally) YEARS. And it did not disappoint. Okay, maybe there are a few nitpicks here or there, but who cares? It still rocks! So let's start with the first part.

SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

First of all, I must address the art. Greg Guler did a fantastic job here. I mean, good God, this is probably the best art I've seen throughout the entire "Clan-Building" comic run (Karine, I love you and your work on "Bash" but this...wow, just...wow). I mean, the issue even starts out with what could only be called a "hero shot" of Brooklyn, and it kicks ass! The only nit is that in the first panel it looks like Brooklyn has the "one-claw" style wings instead of his normal ones. Well, maybe the other two claws are hidden. Regardless, it's still great!

Anyway, Brooklyn seems to be enjoying a glide out by himself...and then Broadway and Angela show up. And they're holding hands (and just what had they been doing to make their eyes glow like that?). Brook is not happy (I love his expression here). Broadway remarks how dull it's been with Lex and Hudson off in London (really, Broadway? Is spending "quality alone time" with Angela THAT boring?). He wishes they'd come back, to which Brooklyn responds "Yeah, that's one of my wishes...". Wow, for being the two most intuitive members of the clan, Broadway and Angela are REALLY blind to Brooklyn here. I mean, it's like (to borrow from "The Princess Bride") they're giving him a nice paper-cut and pouring lemon juice on it--and they don't even realize they're doing it!
Actually, Brooklyn's kind of interesting here. He seems to bottle most of his feelings up around them. I mean, it's like he's trying not to make a big deal about his disappointment over not "getting the girl" and just trying to avoid being constantly reminded of it, but all the body language and subtle hints in the world aren't piercing through the little "love bubble." I can only wonder what this little powder keg might have become had he not gone on his little Dance. But I'll get to that in a minute.

A little art tangent here: Angela's collar. Now, we've seen Angela's new two-piece since the start of the comics, but one thing that's always been inconsistent about it is the presence or absence of a high collar. Well, there's also the number of threads covering the, um..."low cut" area on the chest. Whenever Greg Guler draws Angela, whether on the covers, or right here in his own issue, he draws her with the collar, and only two threads over the low cut area. The ONLY OTHER artist who did that is Gordon Purcell (in Issue #6 "Reunion" for the "present" scenes). Every other artist who drew her in her "normal" outfit draws her top without the collar and with a LOT more threads. This is something that's always bugged me. It's a new outfit for her, designed by Greg Guler (I believe), so why not follow his design all the way? Why do so many make her new two-piece look like her original one-piece with just a section missing. Maybe I wouldn't care so much except I LIKE that collar. I like the distinctive look it gives her. And yes, I admit, I would not say "no" to less threads obscuring the low-cut area. ;-)
Okay, there, I've said all I need to say about that. Sorry for the digression--on with the comic.

The Phoenix Gate arrives, bouncing off one of the letters in the sign before coming to rest on the rooftop. Angela is really concerned about this development, while Brooklyn seems rather calm (and even flippant). Maybe he's just glad for the distraction from the happy couple. I like the glow of the Gate reflecting off Brooklyn's eyes.

Brooklyn reaches for the Gate (not unreasonable, from his POV--you don't want to leave something like that lying around), and...it disintegrates. Ummm, okay, in the 12 years I'd known about "TIMEDANCER" I never thought that the Gate would do this. First disintegrate, and then spit out a huge flamin' Phoenix that would swallow Brooklyn whole and vanish! I especially like that first panel on page 6--with the Phoenix's eyes looming over the three gargoyles. Maybe it's because he's closest to center, but Brooklyn does seem to be the focus of that gaze (no surprise there).

And now we begin the real meat of this tale--Brooklyn's adventures in the past. I easily recognized Constantine and Gillcomgain. Gil's father I didn't recognize until Gil referred to him as such, and a few pages later we finally get a name for him, Brigti. Anyway, poor Brook lands right in front of this rather hostile audience. Gil immediately calls him "demon" and Constantine (for reasons soon to become apparent) gives the order to "kill it." Brigti's reaction is the odd one out, if only because it's so calm and matter of fact. I wonder if Brigti sees gargoyles as something a person doesn't need to kick up much of a fuss about, at least no more so than any wild animal. This makes his reaction an interesting contrast to Constantine and Gil's rather vehement ones.

Young Gil trying to take out a surprised Brooklyn with a knife=FAIL! Constantine trying to take out Brooklyn with his HORSE=a considerably more dignified FAIL. That guy in green casting a fire arrow spell with no magic book or other noticeable conduit and getting Brooklyn in the leg=OUCH! Actually, overall, I'm impressed by how Brooklyn handles himself throughout this whole thing. He doesn't panic, keeps his head (even manages to crack a few smart remarks), correctly figures the place and century he landed in, is able to get enough height to glide somehow (it looked like a hilly bit of land, I guess) and even manages to take a FIRE ARROW in the leg and keep going (much to Constantine's displeasure). Go Brooklyn!

Anyway, we learn more about what Constantine is doing out at this hour--posting "Wanted" posters for the Magus, Tom, Mary and Finella. It would also seem that he's also hunting down gargoyles because of past history (and for those of us who have read the "Three Brothers" story, this is an added bit of icing on the cake). Oh, and the wizard in the green cloak is called Brother Valmont...and maybe it's the bald head but he looks strangely similar to someone from the previous chapter....
And just what is this "Grim" that is amassing an army?

As soon as I saw that feminine, blue-sleeved hand rip off that poster, I knew Filella and Mary had arrived. Constantine, that jerk, has been doing a bit of spin-doctoring it would seem. Among other things, the poster accuses Finella of "turning to sin and Satan" (even with the violence and minor swears the comics have been able to get away with, that line surprised me) in grief over the loss of her son.
MARY: You had a son?
FINELLA: I--NO!
Okay, that line and the look on her face leave me to wonder if she was telling the truth there.

To get past the Porter, Mary introduces Finella as the Lady...Fiona (the name of *another* "GARGOYLES" character voiced by Sheena Easton). Meanwhile, Brooklyn lands nearby and pulls out the arrow. Wow, hardcore. The expression of pain on his face is great, as is the surprise and lighting when the two halves of the arrow dissolve into flames (he should be thankful they didn't do that while he was holding one in his mouth).
Well, gold is enough to get the past the Porter, but not the Guardsman, who pulls off the poster...what, wait a minute! Didn't Finella already tear it off? Yeah, there she is holding it, and now the Guardsman's holding one and...THERE'S ANOTHER ON THE DOOR?! Okay, Finella looks about as surprised as I feel. Does the poster have some sort of magic spell on it that creates an exact copy if it is torn off?
Things go south very fast for our heroines. The jerk Guardsman can apparently follow orders enough to want them alive, but no one else in the town seems to agree. Finella tries to bluff her way out with the Grimorum (LOVE that last panel on page 15), but the Guardsman is not as easily cowed as the townspeople. Until Brooklyn arrives, that is. Brook even pulls a Goliath and takes the sword in his had by the blade (leaving a fair amount of blood in the process). And then he pulls a Hudson by taking that sword and keeping it with him. I loved his lines here (especially, "You wait here for my clan to come eat your brains..." and "Now that I've set back human-gargoyle relations for the next millennium").
"RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!" You've just been waiting to put that Monty Python bit in, haven't you, Greg?
One art nit: It would seem the top part of a word bubble is floating just above the bottom of panel 6 on page 16. Oh, well.
I love Finella's expressions first after Brook appears and then after he turns to stone. I'd guess this is the first time she's been this close to a gargoyle in her life. She seems concerned about the wound on his hand though (YIKES, yeah, you wouldn't have been able to show that much on the TV show). Mary seems to wear a concerned expression, too in the final frame of page 17.
Mary named the horse "Magus?" Heh. That's kind of cool.

And now we meet "The Grim"--jolly Kenneth (soon to be King Kenneth III), cousin of Maol Chalvim and Princess Katharine. We see Maol, too (as gregarious as ever), and surprisingly enough, a younger Findlaech. Oh, and Bodhe as a boy, ready to follow his father into battle (or so he says). I got the Shakespeare reference (either Kenneth or Shakespeare must have been psychic), and the irony about Ken being called "The Grim" instead of Maol. After some exposition on how the war against Constantine goes, Kenneth brings up gargoyles ("the solution of our fathers") and we cut to a group of gargoyles sleeping in a cave...right before they fall to the mace. Gillecomgain, not surprisingly, is in a frenzy, screaming at them to "DIE" as he smashes their unconscious forms to rubble. He is so into this, it impresses even Constantine (who had smashed the first one with a smile on his face). And unless I miss my guess, it unnerves Brigti somewhat.
Why would they put a poster there? Do they really expect people to stop by that cave? Or is it for any other gargoyles that might happen along?

Loved Brook's wake up (and the detail of stone flakes on Mary's hood a few frames later). Brook and Mary recognize each other from Wyvern and exchange names (and I wonder if Brook had already heard about Finella from Goliath or Angela retelling Tom's story). Brook's response to all this? "Oh, this is too cool!" Wow...that would not have been my response. I mean, seriously, Brooklyn has adapted to this situation admirably fast. Maybe that's because he HAS seen "Star Trek" and "Quantum Leap" (loved those references, by the way). At any rate, he certainly is handling himself well, all things considered.

"The year of our Lord Nine Hundred and Ninety-Seven." I don't know why, but I love that Finella stated the year that way. Brooklyn figures that the only way he'll get back is with the Phoenix Gate, and because he knows his "997 Clan History" he knows that half the Gate is with Goliath and the other half with...

...Demona, in a FANTASTIC final image!

Here's to the first part of a great Brooklyn story!

Greg responds...

I'm glad you like it!!

Response recorded on February 10, 2010

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Vaevictis Asmadi writes...

==== SPOILERS!!!!!============SPOILERS!!!!!========= SPOILERS!!!!!========
TEN: THE GATE

"Yes, Angela, I know it's dangerous. Why do you think I want to play w-- I mean, protect it?"

Whoa, that Phoenix is huge! Is there a living creature inside the Phoenix Gate? Or is it simply an emanation from the magic that only looks alive? The two-page spread is amazing.

Hilarious lines:
"I come in peace!"
"What do we do?! What do we do!?" (cue panic)
"...wait for my clan to come eat your brains..."
"Run away! Run away!" (shades of Monty Python)
"...why don't you get in the cart before they realize my clan's not coming.... and I don't eat brains." ROFL
"Badly then?" "Aye."

Saeth ... that's one powerful spell. One word to create a very dangerous weapon that leaves no trace, except for the wounds. And how can Brookly stand, or walk, after that?

Why is the wanted poster written in Elvish?! Well, maybe medieval Scottish writing just looked that way. But it looks just like Tolkien's Elvish.

Several allusions throughout whole arc to Once Upon a Time There Were Three Brothers. I sure hope that it or Dark Ages can be published some day.

Constantine blames Finella for murdering the king... thus the official history is written. But did Kenneth II actually kill her son? Did she actually have more part in Kenneth's death than what was shown in Avalon?

Brooklyn comes to a decision to help the women surprisingly quickly, just as soon as he recognizes the Grimorum. This, and his reference to the Spell of Humility, make me think that his trip to medieval Scotland is not his first time-trip, only one taken out from the middle. But other parts of the arc make me think that it must be his first trip. Either way, he has his wits about him. But how does he know the Grimorum will be so important? Because he still believes that Xanatos read the Magus' story from it?

There's unfortunately an art error on the page with the brain-eating comments. Part of a speech balloon from the last panel is showing up in the panel above it as a white area.

I'm surprised to see Bodhe show up as a child. In City of Stone he looks to be about Findlaech's age. But since Kenneth III is clearly about the same age as his cousin, Bodhe is still a small child.

I am happy to see and examine the new gargoyle and beast models in this whole arc. And it is also wonderful to see so many of them together. Of course it is terribly tragic to see any pre-modern clan, because I know they will all die. It is especially horrible with that little girl in #11. And that green, beaked fellow looks like just a kid, too.

I'm slightly confused by the red-eyed beast. Boudicca's eyes glow white.

Gillecomgain's joy as he murders gargoyles... it is repulsive.

And there's a great full-page art of Demona.

Overall, I enjoyed the Timedancer arc the most, out of the 12 issues. That's no surprise considering that City of Stone, Awakening, and Avalon are some of my favorite episodes. I just enjoy the medieval flashbacks a lot. I suspect that if Dark Ages was ever written, it would be my favorite spin-off.
==== SPOILERS!!!!!============SPOILERS!!!!!========= SPOILERS!!!!!========

Greg responds...

This is Brooklyn's first stop on his TimeDance. But of course he knew the Grimorum was important. Remember "Temptation". And he knew from Goliath, the role it played on Avalon later...

Response recorded on December 17, 2009

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Todd Jensen writes...

In the scene in "The Gate" where Brooklyn scares the suspicious townspeople away from Mary and Finella, was the cry "Run away! Run away!" intended as a "Monty Python" allusion? (Especially since you'd done such an allusion in "Future Tense", with the Xanatos Program's "bite my knee-caps off" line.)

Greg responds...

Yes.

Response recorded on December 16, 2009

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Todd Jensen writes...

My review for "The Gate".

* SPOILERS FOLLOW *

I'd been expecting Brooklyn's Timedancing to be the next story after the Stone of Destiny one. For one thing, its consequences (which turned out to be canon, not just "canon-in-training") would indeed help to build up the clan with the new additions. For another, with Brooklyn, Angela, and Broadway left behind in New York while Hudson and Lexington went off to London with Macbeth - I suspected that you were laying the groundwork at that point.

The appearance of a literal phoenix was a definite surprise, though (except that I'd gotten a glimpse of it in Slave Labor Graphics' official teaser). Somebody had said once that you'd stated that, in the same way that the Eye of Odin would turn out to be literally Odin's missing eye, the Phoenix would eventually be associated with the Phoenix Gate - but I didn't think that would happen so soon!

Trust Brooklyn to bring in another "when" as well as "where", once he finds himself time traveling.

A new villain in the form of Brother Valmont, and a creepy one at that.

The writing on the wanted poster reminded me of Tolkien's tengwar (Elvish lettering, for those not familiar with the details of Middle-earth).

Gillecomgain and his father showing up to help Constantine was another surprise.

Another touch I enjoyed: Constantine's lie about Finella having a son murdered by Kenneth (I recognized that at once from the research I'd done on the original Scottish histories about Kenneth and Finella).

And her alias of "Fiona". (No relation to a certain Canmore, I assume.)

I really liked the medieval Scotland setting in this story and the next two issues; another of my favorite aspects of "Gargoyles".

I liked the cameos of Findlaech and a surprisingly young Bodhe. (I hadn't thought he was that much younger than Findlaech!)

Ah, another touch of Shakespeare, as Kenneth III quotes "Hamlet" (if it counts as a quote when that play isn't to be written for another six hundred years).

Got a kick out of Brooklyn referring to various sci-fi series he'd seen.

And a great cliff-hanger (I hadn't even thought that Brooklyn might be looking for the pieces of the Gate extant in 997 - and, yes, just his misfortune that Demona has half).

* SPOILERS END *

Greg responds...

Glad you liked it.

Response recorded on December 10, 2009

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Greg Bishansky writes...

"Gargoyles, Clan Building Chapter Ten: The Gate"

And now we enter a story development that many fans love, and quite a few loathe. But, love it or hate it, I think just about everyone has been waiting for this story. So, I'm going to dive right in.

I think I'll start with the artwork, for once. First off, the art for the three final issues are terrific. But Guler's art in this issue is just stunning. Wow. Robby Bevard's colors were terrific as well.

So, we open up with a concept many fans thought they were familiar with. Brooklyn is depressed, which he has been throughout "Clan Building" when he comes upon the Phoenix Gate on a rooftop. Angela and Broadway join him, but, the second Brooklyn touches it, the Gate dissolves and a gigantic phoenix explodes out of the Gate and swallows Brooklyn... into the time stream. That double page spread was just gorgeous.

Brooklyn comes to in Scotland, 997, right in front of King Constantine, Gillecomgain, Maíl Brigti, and a mysterious sorcerer called Brother Valmont. They give chase briefly, but Brooklyn escapes.

Let me go off on a tangent for just a moment. I'll admit that I have some suspicions about Brother Valmont. Especially having just read "The Rock of Ages." I'm not going to get too specific right now. But, he's looking like an interesting antagonist in this story.

Meanwhile, Mary and Finella (whom we have not seen since "Avalon Part One" (or "Bash" if you're counting that)) are still fugitives. Constantine has charged them with theft, treason, kidnapping Princess Katharine, and the murder of King Kenneth II. I'm glad to see two years of a crown on his head has given Constantine the proper sense of nobility and justice... /sarcasm.

Anyway, these two women are attacked by townspeople and saved by Brooklyn, who explains to them that he needs to get to Wyvern so he can hopefully use Goliath's half of the Phoenix Gate.

As this happens, Kenneth III and Findlaech (Macbeth's father) meet with Maol Chalvim to prepare for war with Constantine. But there is a dilemma, Constantine's forces outnumber them five to one. Their only hope, according to Kenneth III is to ally with the gargoyles as their fathers did when they overthrew King Cullen back in 971.

Else where, Constantine and his troops stumble upon a cell of scattered gargoyles, and destroy them. Gillecomgain does so with a passion... and he's not even the Hunter yet!

As Brooklyn, Mary and Finella, Brooklyn realizes his own dilemma. If he wants to return home, he'll need both halves of the Gate. One half is held by Goliath's statue. The other, by the one person Brooklyn hates more than anyone else... Demona.

And may I add, that full page, money shot of Demona is awesome.

Overall, awesome. Just, awesome. I'm a sucker for medieval history, especially Scottish history. I loved it when "Gargoyles" used actual historical figures, and this issue is full of them.

To be continued.

Greg responds...

Thanks. I thought that full page spread of Demona was pretty awesome too.

Response recorded on December 09, 2009


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