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Clan-Building #12: Phoenix

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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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Vaevictis Asmadi writes...

(Regarding "Phoenix") Greg responds... (to my post a while ago)
<<Showing a second jump would have ruined the shock value of his arrival. Defanged it.
That's not to say I wouldn't eventually like to show ALL his Dance, but that moment of him leaving one era (at the beginning of the Dance) with Finella and Mary and arriving (in another era at the end of his dance) with Katana, Fu-Dog and the kids was ALWAYS my plan since as far back as 1995.>>

You know, I think that _was_ the reason for my thinking about including the start of the second jump. I just don't like huge shocks. Or change. Which is why I'm glad Timedancer was "spoiled" for me. That made the ending significantly less of a Huh? OMG WHAT?!? AAIIEGH!!! moment and more of a "Phew, he only lost an eye. Katana looks cool." moment.

Greg responds...

Uh... I don't know how to respond to this. I love it when there's a huge shock as long as ultimately it MAKES SENSE.

Response recorded on August 31, 2010

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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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Matt writes...

My Review For Gargoyles #12, "Phoenix"...

- So, we have finally come to the last chapter of Clan-Building. As with Issue #11, I'll do my best to review this one with my initial impressions at the forefront, though I know I won't be able to resist mentioning further information and insight from the Gathering.

- Again, lets start with this awesome cover. After all the mixed feelings I've had about the numerous covers (both from Gargoyles and Bad Guys), I'm happy that this final cover really hit all the right spots. It is brightly colored and visually interesting. It is funny due to the obvious Star Wars reference and thus works well to grab the attention of comic book store shoppers. It has a lot going on without giving anything away or being too busy. I really think it is the best cover (aside from Issue #1 and possibly #5) and so I was thrilled it made it to the cover of Clan-Building Volume 2.

- On to the meat of the book now (and boy, is there a lot of meat, this thing is crammed full), we open, no in 997 with Brooklyn as I suspected, but rather in 1997 with Goliath. His monologue here is really great. It bookends this chapter, but more importantly it bookends the Clan-Building series as it parallels directly with Goliath's monologue to Elisa (and us) in Issue #1 about his clan. You could even say it goes all the way back to the opening sequence of the Season 2 episodes. Anyway, it works beautifully here. I can't help but think of Closing Ceremonies at the Gathering when I read it now. Greg Weisman talked about how the moment was so bittersweet, and it was... is. But reading this issue, and Goliath's monologue in particular, really gives me hope for this franchise and this fandom.

- Meanwhile, a thousand years ago, Brook is giving his own inner monologue, but he isn't doing it in quiet solitude, he is giving it in the thick of the Battle of Rathveramoen! I like that even as people are dieing all around him and his own life is truly at risk, his thoughts dwell on his family back home. We worries that they are worried about him, but of course, they barely have time to worry at all, but he doesn't know that yet. But he realizes to get home to see his family again, his job is to help the Grim win the battle, keep the Grimorum out of the wrong hands, and keep the last bunch of gargoyles in Scotland safe. Of course, all of these objectives are in jeopardy of going undone. Ironically, the battle itself seems to be going well. Brooklyn, "Demona" and the clan are kicking some ass (or rather breaking some necks, slicing some flesh and causing some heavy damage from high-altitude drops). This battle is a lot of fun visually. And there is a lot going on. Brook has a couple really great moments. First he and a fellow gargoyle, "Bro", have this great exchange about being rookery brothers. It was very cool to finally meet a rookery sibling of the trio (knowing that they were, of course), but it wasn't until the Gathering where Greg Weisman pointed out that the gargoyle behind these two watching this exchange is probably Brooklyn's BIOLOGICAL brother. How cool is that?! We get a great example of how relationships work within gargoyle clans. So cool, and such a contrast to what we see going on with the humans, where blood relationships define everything (and seem to be causing a lot of trouble). Then Brooklyn gets a very cool moment with Demona where they discuss Goliath. She is such a hypocrite here. She bitches that when the humans are finished fighting each other, they will come after the gargoyles, but her plan is to kill their human allies once they've defeated their rivals! Does she even hear herself? Well, this is Demona, her own worst enemy after all.

- While the battle rages, not far away, the Grimorum has finally fallen into the wrong hands. Mary and Finella (and Magus the horse) do what they can to get the book back, but to little avail. Valmont uses the book to cast a pretty nasty spell that seems to amplify the one he has used a few times before. Fiery arrows rain down on the battle and a lot of gargoyles are injured or killed. We get a really sad scene of the sacrifice of one gargoyle for her mate. But this whole thing makes me so angry at Demona. She uses these deaths (both in this chapter and in City of Stone) as fuel for her hate, but in doing so she negates all that they are fighting and dying for. And THEN, she remarks how she cannot undo these awful things that have happened. Well, duh, girl, but making things worse is not the solution! What a hypocrite and a bitch! She drives me nuts, and to all of the Demona-apologist fans out there I ask you to pay attention to what is going on here.

- Meanwhile, the humans are battling it out. Constantine and the Grim seem evenly matched until Constantine threatens Bodhe, then the Grim really lets him have it. Constantine's reign as King ends as it begins, with someone getting stabbed, though at least this isn't a cold murder, but a death in battle. The Grim has that over Constantine. And speaking of Bodhe, he seems to be getting trounced by Gillecomgain, which is no surprise in that Gille is twice his size and probably much more skilled in battle. Bodhe seems to barely survive, and only luck saves him when Gille gets distracted by his father's death, but you can tell the event probably traumatized him for life (Greg indicated at the Gathering that this event, the murder of the Grim a few years later and the murder of Bodhe's own sone a few years after that all lead to his behavior in City of Stone. This all has made Bodhe very interesting to me). Findlaech really comes across as a good guy here, he wanted to share with his brother and Mail Brigti refused, he didn't want to kill his nephew because after it all he didn't want to end his brother's line. It really makes me wonder what Findlaech thought when Maol Chalvim usurped the Grim a few years down the line. And speaking of that, some of Constantine's final words seem almost prophetic. He senses Maol's thirst for the throne and blattanly tells the Grim of it. He even inspires Gillecomgain to become the first Hunter.

- Anyway, the battle ends, the arrows are stopped and just when things seem to have called down the Phoenix reappears. Brooklyn is understandably annoyed. He doesn't get to see what comes next, and we can relate, we don't either. Guess it is off to hit the history books to see what happened next... for now. Before he is off, Brook smoothly recovers the Grimorum from Demona and passes it back to Finella and Mary. I was a bit surprised that Finella didn't get a chance to use magic herself as I thought she would due to her talk in #11, but I wasn't surprised that Mary and Finella asked to go with Brooklyn, having had that idea spoiled for me years ago online. I suspect that all three of them thought they would be going right back to the time and place Brook came from and I suspect therein lies Mary's real motivation. I think she wants to see Tom again and knows he is safe and alive (and married) in Brook's time. Well, we don't get to find out... yet. The Phoenix, once again, seems to have Brooklyn singled out and we can assume the "Time-Fowl" snatched up Mary and Finella and the Grimorum too.

- So we, the audience, pop back to 1997 to the moments right after Brooklyn left... and he reappears. We are told that he is not alone, and I think the less-informed (or less spoiled) fan might think Finella and Mary are with him, but most of us know better. Back at the Castle, Hudson and Lex finally come home from London and as I suspected Coldstone and Coldfire came with. I'm thrilled that they are finally members of the Clan in full. And then we come to probably the most anticipated moment for fans for the last ten years. The reveal of Brooklyn's family. I have to admit, I didn't know what to expect outside of a female Ishimuran gargoyle, her and Brook's son and a gargoyle beast (and an egg, okay I had a good idea what the egg would look like). Katana is very cool. I love that we finally have a beaked female in the canon, I love that attention was paid to her number of fingers and toes to reflect her clan of origin. I do have a slight worry that the two beaked gargoyles would end up together. I know that a beaked gargoyle could just as well mate with a non-beaked gargoyle, but I worry that some fans might not see this. I dunno. A minor worry for me. Gnash is a lot of fun, he seems older than his age indicates. Must be the weapon. Really, the whole family seems like they have a lot of stories to tell. Or rather, for Greg to tell. I like Brooklyn's line about his journey being a long story and "some of it even true". Ties us nicely with the journey Goliath set us on back in #2 and with Shari's tales. And lets not forget Fu-Dog. I LOVE Fu-Dog's design. Very cool. I hope he and Bronx get along. Other nice things about this final scene include Hudson laughing and being so happy. When I see him here, I think back to his line in "The Gathering" where he is so happy that they are not the last and not alone. He gets to see his decimated clan grow. How cool. I really like how Angela wants to hold 'Egwardo'. I never thought about her never having seen an egg before (I suppose I figured she saw the clutches in Ishimura or ChacIxChel), but I love the motherly aspect this gives her and Broadway's reaction to it. A lot of fans seem to focus on Katana's reluctance to let go of the egg, but I don't see that as that big of a deal. It isn't like she violently refused, and after all they've been through, you have to understand her reluctance. Anyway, Elisa's reaction to showing up was really cool. I mean she was probably expecting Goliath, Bronx, Broadway, Angela and Brooklyn at most. Instead she comes out of the elevator too see this whole motley crew. Coldstone, Coldfire, Katana, Gnash, Fu-Dog and even Brooklyn must've been a real shock. I like her "Whoa... Goliath...?" But, there isn't time for explanations, we have to go kick some butt. As Greg indicated at the Gathering, I'm sure they did. All these gargoyles versus Wolf, Jackal and Hyena. As Lex states, they'll "never know what hit 'em!" A GREAT ending to this awesome Clan-Building arc. Of course, it is "Never The End..." Not for the Manhattan Clan or the Gargoyles series or the fandom. This comic couldn't have been released at a more poignant time. Great job, Greg. Really, this is awesome stuff. And ALL of the artists made it work so beautifully as well. Thank You!

Eagerly awaiting Gargoyles #13, "Manhattan, Chapter One"...

Greg responds...

Thanks, Matt. I can't wait to write it!

Response recorded on February 23, 2010

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Blaise writes...

GARGOYLES
CLAN-BUILDING
ISSUE #12

PHOENIX

SPOILERS!!!!!!

Once again, excellent art from Ben Dunn that also remains consistent with the work of the previous two artists. I feel he sometimes puts in a few too many wrinkles/flecks/spots on Goliath and Brooklyn, and he has a tendency to draw some of the women's faces (especially Finella) in a style too similar to Japanese manga. Also, Maol Chalvim's face looks a bit...off to me on page 11 (it doesn't look as "long" as it should to me). Demona's, too, on occasion. But overall, a bang up job.

This chapter actually begins in 1997 with Goliath (in his "thinker" pose) ruminating on how a thousand years ago "the humans" thought they had crushed his kind completely, before we go back to Brooklyn in 997 thinking about how "a thousand years from now" Broadway and Angela are wondering if he'll come back. I like that bit of parallelism.
"Damn good question." I'll never get over the casual swearing (no matter how mild).
For the next few pages, we're treated to Brooklyn's interior monologue as he dishes out exposition. I love how he calls the Phoenix the "Time-Fowl." He would be the type to give a casual name to a magical entity.
I can't help but wonder what kind of sword Brooklyn's using. I've heard people call it a broadsword, but Brooklyn sometimes swings it two-handed. Wouldn't that make it a bastard sword?

Meanwhile, Valmont is gloating about having the Grimorum. "First of the Three Keys to Power...the pathway to Avalon...the fate of Scotland in my hands!" Okay, it's official: Valmont is Archmage Jr.
Well, Mary's clever enough to pull the wagon out from under him. Pity it wasn't enough to make him drop the book.

Back to Brooklyn, as he continues to think about what his actions mean for the gargoyles he brought out of hiding. After he and the gargoyle with the beaky nose lift and drop a couple of soldiers, Brook gets carried away and calls him "bro" and tries to give a high-five (or high-four, in this case). He's able to recover quickly enough, though (easy when you can say "bro" is short for "rookery brother"). I like the camaraderie he managed to pull off with the other garg here.
I also like how he refers to Demona as his "least favorite personal demon." Brooklyn's no fool, he knows Demona's planning a betrayal, but he's got to play along.
Let me take this moment to say that, even if she is the Demona from 997, I am REALLY glad to see Demona back again. I've really missed her. And she is VICIOUS in battle! Clawing people across the face seems to be a thing with her.
Brooklyn's response to Demona's compliment on his battle prowess ("I had a good teacher...Goliath") is wonderful. To me it both shows the respect he has for Goliath, and also acts as his way of sticking it to Demona. She, however, takes it as an opportunity to disparage Goliath's trust of humans, and state that the humans will turn on the gargoyles at the end of battle (you're one to talk, Ms. Backstabby McBackstab).
Meanwhile Constantine taunts Kenneth with talk of "superior numbers" and how he has no mercy (which he says with a vicious smile). Okay, Constantine belongs under the "Complete Monster" category of villain. You know the kind of villain you love to hate? Well, this isn't that kind of villain. This is the type of villain you just want to see die horribly. And Gillecomgain is putting himself in that very same category with his actions here. Sure he was a monster in "City of Stone," but somehow what we see of him here makes him even worse! He's trying to kill poor Bodhe (no wonder the kid grew into a coward) and he's doing it with glee! And Constantine is egging him on. "It is the Hunter's Moon, be a hunter for your king!" (I love the close-ups of both Constantine and Gillecomgain in those two panels--page 9). Findlaech makes an offhand remark to his adversary, Mail Brigti, to the effect of Gil seeming like Constantine's son.
Mail just ignores that, fights him and reveals...that he and Findlaech are half-brothers! I had remembered hearing about this (that Gillecomgain and Macbeth were actually related), but I wondered why Gil would be a peasant if that was the case. Now we get a story where this is explained. It also explains why Mail always acted so angry (bitterness, and he may have taken some of it out on Gil). Findlaech definitely comes across as having the moral high ground, having offered to share Ruaidri's (their father) inheritance, but Mail seems determined to have everything, even if it means siding with a Complete Monster.

And then Brother Valmont casts a spell. While Finella is trying to figure out the translation, Maol finally shows up. Turns out he's quicker to understand Latin, and orders the women to take cover while he threatens Valmont to make him call off the spell. Actually, this shot of Maol Chalvim could almost be considered a hero shot. Maol's a strange character. Not nice, by any stretch of the imagination, and I know he's going to turn on poor, good Kenneth eight years on, but somehow he's able to pull of these "hero" type moments. Unfortunately, the threat doesn't work on Valmont. And Finella figures out the spell just in time to take cover.
The spell? Arrows begin to rain down from the skies (what IS it with Brother Valmont and arrows?).

Demona's Second's Mate shields him from the arrows with her own body and dies (NOOOOO!)! And she's not the only one getting hit--there are several gargoyle silhouettes in the background, some pierced with the arrows (NOOOO! multiplied by however many died). But she is the one we've seen the most of, and the fact that she's the mate of a gargoyle we are (slightly) more familiar with, helps to personalize it as he grieves for her, poor guy. Brooklyn and even Demona are horrified by this turn of events.
To be fair, I kind of figured she'd die before the end of the comic arc simply because we never saw her in "City of Stone." Of course, we never saw the beasts or "True" there either, so....
At any rate, farewell, oh web-winged female. We hardly knew ye.
Poor Magus the horse gets hit, too (NO! NOT THE HORSE!).

Valmont takes this opportunity to gloat to Maol...and loses his right hand to Brooklyn for his troubles. I was actually quite impressed, Greg, that you managed to go this far. Granted, we don't see the actual stump of the hand, but it's still a pretty shocking turn of events. And of course, it couldn't have happened to a more deserving jerk.
Maol's line, "The arrows...they still reign." Love the wordplay there (something that wouldn't come across in spoken dialogue, sadly).
Is it just me, or does Finella REALLY want to do magic. Maybe she's just trying to do SOMETHING and not feel useless. At any rate, a real sorceress steps in: Demona. She manages to reverse the spell (and look cool while doing it), but she can't bring any who died back to life, of course.

And one last casualty of the arrows is revealed: Mail Brigti (NOO--wait, what am I saying, YEEEESS!). Findlaech may be a big enough man to cry over his treacherous half-brother, but as far as I'm concerned, after following Constantine, a man he KNOWS is evil, just for his own gain, Mail Brigti got his just deserts.
Unfortunately, the arrows didn't hit the selectively blind Gillecomgain, who chooses to not see the arrows and believe that his father died by Findlaech's hand. Findlaech warns Gil not to cross him, mostly because he doesn't want to see his brother's line end. Gil chooses to believe it's because Findlaech fears him. This whole confrontation, along with the struggle over Ruaidri's inheritance, adds a whole new level to the Hunter's assassination of Findlaech in "City of Stone." Damn. The only reason they don't fight now is because Constantine and Kenneth's fight passes right between them (even a rain of arrows doesn't stop these guys!).

Geez, Constantine just doesn't shut up! And this is the second time he's gone on about his "superior numbers." He promises to kill Maol Chalvim (while hinting at Maol's future turn) after he kills Kenneth's son Bodhe (well, he promises to gut Bodhe while calling him a very unflattering word). This is the last straw for Kenneth ("You shouldn't make Kenneth angry, Constantine...you wouldn't like him when he's angry"). Kenneth throws away his shield and begins attacking Constantine with both hands on his sword. He manages to unhorse Constantine and slay him. I love the look on both Constantine and Gillecomgain's face before Kenneth drives the blade home (where's your "superior numbers" now, Constantine?). In contrast to Constantine earlier, Kenneth is silent through all this part. It reminds me of a quote from Terry Pratchett's Discworld book "Men at Arms." To paraphrase it shortly, "If you are staring down a loaded crossbow, pray that the man on the other end is an evil man. Because an evil man will want you to know you are beaten, so he will talk and gloat and put off the moment of killing you for as long as possible the way a man might put off smoking a good cigar. A good man will just kill you without a word." Seems to fit this situation.

Well, Demona is in awe at having the Grimorum Arcanorum in her hands, while Brooklyn tries to figure out how to separate it from her. And then the Phoenix appears again. I wonder why Brooklyn focused on "Timedance" as his metaphor of choice, embellishing it with such gems as "chronal-boogie" and "temporal-tune." I can definitely understand his frustration at not being able to know how everything turned out (guess he'll be hitting the books when he gets back).
I loved Brooklyn's way of tricking Demona into giving him the Grimorum (playing on her desire for power, offering to hold the book while she got her half of the Gate). I can only wonder what Demona thought and did after he was gone. This whole thing also adds another level to "Temptation"--how much of this encounter did Demona remember through the years?
Well, Brook's ready to go, but so are Mary and Finella, much to his dismay.

But now we travel back to the present (well, 1997) and repeat the last few panels we saw of Broadway and Angela, and--THERE! In the last panel of page 20! In that panel, Angela has her collar (a bit more wrinkled than usual, but it's there), but in the panel before, and the panel after (first panel of page 21) she has no collar! Just let her keep the collar already!
Sorry.
Anyway, I liked Brooklyn's "Forever...forty years...forty seconds...however you keep time, the Dance is finally done." So cool. And yeah, I've already been spoiled so the "He's not alone" misdirection didn't work on me, but I can appreciate the effect it might have on readers not "in the know."

Well, we return to Goliath and his ruminations. But what's this? Lexington and Hudson have returned...and they brought Coldstone and Coldfire! Goliath is, needless to say, overjoyed by this turn of events. And then Broadway arrives to say that Brooklyn went on "a little trip" of his own and...well, Goliath has to see for himself.

Okay, this is IT! The part I've waited 12 years for. The first canon appearance of Brooklyn's mate, Katana. Not to mention his son, Nashville, and Fu-Dog, and how Brooklyn himself looks after his journey. I will admit, I had not expected him to so closely resemble his "Future Tense" self, but I'm not complaining (that armor just looks cool). And man is he armed to the teeth or WHAT? That Scottish sword (which he apparently kept with him throughout all 40 years), a Japanese Katana, a hand pistol (or blaster of some kind) and a Big Fricken' Futuristic Rifle. It also seems he lost his left eye somewhere along the way. Funny, that's the same eye Hudson lost sight in. You know, Broadway may be Hudson's biological son, but Brooklyn seems to me to take after the old garg a lot more than anyone else.
And Nashville (or Gnash, as he prefers to be called) is pretty much what I expected. I didn't know his coloring, and he looks a lot tougher than I would have thought (he's the physical equivalent of a 9-year-old, but then again, he's a time-traveling gargoyle), and I didn't expect him to be ARMED with a Japanese blade, but yeah, he's definitely Brooklyn's son. The clothes were a surprise, too--more modern than either of his parents, which makes sense I guess (so U.S.N. stands for "U.S. Navy?" Interesting).
And Fu-Dog...what can I say. He's like a green lion (and pretty darn cool looking).

But Katana...oh man, where do I begin? Well, let's start with the fact that she is the first major beaked female in the canon. I am ashamed to admit that in all those 12 years, I was never able to picture her beaked. I knew intellectually that it was a possibility, but for some reason I could never wrap my mind around it. Maybe it was the difficulty of trying to picture a beaked female that DIDN'T just look like Brooklyn with boobs.
But now Katana's been revealed and...the first word that popped into my mind to describe her was "cute." There's just something about her face that lends itself to that. Her beak is smaller than Brooklyn's, and maybe that helps. Her hair is gorgeous, and I love the style. But the real secret is in her eyes and expression. God, those eyes are perfectly shaped, and the look in them, coupled with her smile.... You said, Greg, that her and Brooklyn's relationship would have been like Sam and Diane, or Beatrice and Benedick, and I can just see ALL of that in the look on her face here.
As for the rest, I somehow always figured she'd be some shade of blue. I love the design of her clothes (I have looked extensively at Robby Bevard's design sheet for her). I'd really like to see her use those war fans at some point. I'm still surprised at her having one digit less per appendage (3 instead of 4). And then there's how she acts with her egg. When Angela asked to hold it, she seemed guarded. And she even takes the egg into battle with her! I can think of only one reason she would do that: she can protect that egg from ANYTHING the world can throw at her!
All this, and she didn't even get a single line in this issue (even Gnash got ONE). Damn. Well, you can't have everything. But I still can't wait for the next installment of the "GARGOYLES" comic, or for the "TIMEDANCER" spin off. I want to hear Katana speak (figuratively, of course). I want to see her fight. I want to see her and Brooklyn's relationship. I want to see her three-fingered hand intertwined with his four-fingered one. God, it's going to be a long wait.

"Egwardo?" Brooklyn, some things about you never change.

The group shot at the top of page 23 is kind of neat. I love all their reactions. Bronx and Fu-Dog are sniffing at each other, Angela's excited over the egg, Hudson's laughing, Lex seems to be chatting with Gnash, and Brooklyn...he just seems happy to be home again.

Then Elisa comes in and has a wonderful reaction to the overnight change in the clan's roster. Seriously, I can't help laughing everytime I imagine Salli Richardson saying that line.
Well, Jackal's busted Hyena and Wolf out of prison and they're wreaking Times Square, so the WHOLE FRICKEN' CLAN goes out to meat them. Lex is right, "The Pack'll never know what hit 'em."

This was a great issue, a great arc, and a great series. If I had any complaints about this particular issue it's that the last four pages felt very rushed. I mean it's like BOOM--Lex and Hudson--BOOM--Coldstone and Coldfire--BIG BOOM--Brooklyn and family--BOOM--Pack attacks--BOOM--attack Pack. I felt like I couldn't catch my breath! And this just makes me want another issue right NOW!

"Never the End..." eh? I'll drink to that, but like I said before "It's going to be a long wait." Still, here's to what we did get.

Thank you, Greg!

Greg responds...

You're very welcome. Thanks for keeping the faith all these years.

Response recorded on February 11, 2010

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Vaevictis Asmadi writes...

==== SPOILERS!!!!!============SPOILERS!!!!!========= SPOILERS!!!!!========
TWELVE: PHOENIX

Amusing cover. When I first saw it I wondered what guy had tattooed his face like that. Mother always told you if you make ugly faces, your face could stick that way. Good thing it's only paint, and that hair grows back. Too bad he'll die like that.

The art in the battle scenes is very detailed and good. I love all the different gargoyles. But all the gargs seem to have belly-buttons... I don't think that's right.

That poor gargoyle, Demona's second-in-command, loses his mate. I wish there were enough pages to get to know all these gargoyles. But even without knowing them, it is tragic to see them all die. Tragic, and infuriating to see how genocidal some of the humans are.

And I think Demona blames Brooklyn almost as much as the humans.

That sorcerer, Valmont, got his hand (or both hand?) hacked off, but he got up and just walked away! Yikes!

We get more background about Findlaech and Gillecomgain. It neatly explains why Gillecomgain grew up as a peasant, even though his father is related to Findlaech. This would almost make Gillecomgain's desire to kill Findlaech understandable... almost, if the rain of arrows weren't blindingly obvious to everyone else at the battle. Besides, I can't feel actual sympathy for a guy who so joyfully murders gargoyles. The way he keeps trying to kill little Bodhe doesn't help my impression, either.

I can't help thinking that Demona is rather gullible. She believes Brooklyn when he claims that half of the Gate is enough to control the phoenix... and why should he know she has the Gate, anyway? That was a private moment between her and Goliath. Luckily she falls for it, though.

The ending of this book is a surprise. Not because I didn't know how Timedancer was supposed to finally end. But I expected Brooklyn to freak out and start kissing the ground or hugging people. Plus, I was seriously expecting Coldstone and Coldfire to keep hunting Coldsteel, and for some of the London gargoyles to join the Manhattan Clan. After all, the London Clan is facing severe population pressure, while the Manhattan Clan is way too small.

I am relieved that Brooklyn only lost an eye, instead of an entire limb. An eye I don't mind, but a whole limb would have been disturbing. It is bizarre though, how the Future Tense models keep showing up, first at the Halloween party and now here. How could Puck have predicted these specific outfits? Even if he has the power to see the future, it's quite bizarre that he can see things that specific. Is it just a meta-universe joke?

I like that Katana has a beak, although her face looks kind of squished. I wish more gargoyles had beaks. I like her model.

And they named the egg? That has to be the most pointless... and least gargoylean... thing to do, EVER. Your egg does not need a name! Neither does your sword! Or the sky! Heh. Time to reconnect with your gargoyle roots a little, you three.

I'm actually glad that I read about Timedancer on Ask Greg before reading this comic. I think the whole "40 years, a mate and kid" thing would have been too much of a shock for me otherwise. I tend to be quite averse to change. I also think it might have worked better (if there was room) to show his second jump and one panel of his second destination, to drive home that the Phoenix took him to many times and it was going to be a long trip.

I'm also sad that there wasn't room to show any bits and pieces of Brooklyn's other trips. I would very much like to have seen some of the Ishimura and Xanadu clans, or the Lost Race. Or a glimpse of the future.

I sincerely hope this is not the end. We'll see. Good luck convincing somebody to pick up a graphic novel license some day!
==== SPOILERS!!!!!============SPOILERS!!!!!========= SPOILERS!!!!!========

Greg responds...

Showing a second jump would have ruined the shock value of his arrival. Defanged it.

That's not to say I wouldn't eventually like to show ALL his Dance, but that moment of him leaving one era (at the beginning of the Dance) with Finella and Mary and arriving (in another era at the end of his dance) with Katana, Fu-Dog and the kids was ALWAYS my plan since as far back as 1995.

Response recorded on December 17, 2009

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Todd Jensen writes...

And now, the final story, "Phoenix".

* SPOILERS FOLLOW*

Great opening, with Goliath brooding at Castle Wyvern in his "Thinker" position.

A fine epic battle scene (looks more 13th century than 10th, but then, so did the medieval portions of "Awakening").

Nice touch with Brooklyn's "Bro" slip.

Bodhe's already timid, even as a kid.

Whoa! Constantine crying out about the Hunter's Moon! Gargoyle-haters using that moon goes back further than I'd thought.

I see you've found a way to reconcile Gillecomgain's historical parentage with his depiction in the animated series as a peasant. Good solution.

Valmont's spell of fiery arrows was another unsettling moment - especially since we got to know at least one of its casualties (Magus the horse), and see the grief of Demona's second as he loses his mate to the enchanted shafts.

I like Demona's line "The spell? Perhaps. Its consequences... never". Very true to the spirit of "Gargoyles".

Constantine clearly foresees Maol Chalvim's future treachery.

So now we get to meet Katana, Nashville, and Fu-Dog at last. (And the egg - I wonder whether "Egwardo" will turn out to be another case where canon replaces the old canon-in-training expectations.) And we know what Brooklyn's injury is. (As I said, missing eyes seem to be turning up a lot in the Gargoyles Universe.)

I wonder whether the Pack's attack was meant as a set-up for #13 - had there been one - or a "hero's work is never done" moment. But it was a great way to end the story, as the expanded clan heads off into battle....

And so "Clan-Building" comes to an end. Thank you very much, Greg, for these new stories.

* SPOILERS END *

Greg responds...

Thanks to all of you guys for keeping the flame alive and giving me the CHANCE to tell these stories.

The thing is... Clan-Building was really only about the equivalent of five episodes (give or take). I'm not close to being done telling all the stories I have to tell.

Response recorded on December 10, 2009

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Greg Bishansky writes...

"Gargoyles, Clan Building Chapter Twelve: Phoenix"

Okay, first of all, that cover. I really don't like that cover. It's well drawn, well colored, and it certainly gets the point across. But, a "Star Wars" joke? Really? It'd be funnier and I might like it more if we haven't seen several hundred thousand of them. Everyone makes "Star Wars" jokes, and quite frankly, they were played well before Kevin Smith started doing it. But, aw well, I understand I'm in the minority and people enjoy them. But... I personally could do without them. Still, a beautiful cover on its own merits.

Okay, now, with that, my only real gripe out of the way, let's jump into the story.

That art is terrific. A little too manga-esque in some panels, but I like it. Nice, detailed, but still evoking the series.

The battle itself is brutal. I always loved the flashbacks in "City of Stone" and "Avalon Part One." As I said in my previous review, I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff. So, this entire three-parter has been a real geekgasm.

Brooklyn and Demona's interactions are fun to watch. Demona is just as bitter as she was in the "City of Stone" flashbacks, but here she seems a lot more power hungry. Whereas in "City of Stone" she seemed more content to just survive. Of course, she never had the Grimorum in her, or close to being in her grasp in "City of Stone."

Speaking of Demona, it is so good to see her again. Okay, we had glimpses of her in "Invitation Only" and "Estranged." But, out of all the things I've been waiting for since these comics were first announced, she was at the top of my list. I read her, and it's just her. I can hear Marina Sirtis' voice in every line of dialogue. She is brutal, violent, power hungry, passionate, and cold. This is Demona, and I haven't seen her since 1996. How I've missed her. Okay, technically this is, as Brooklyn said, Demona Classic and not Modern Demona. But still, it's great.

As the battle goes on, Kenneth III's young son, Bodhe, cowers in the brush. I see some things never change. Come on, Bodhe, this is the Dark Ages. Many younger than you are now have faced much worse. I'd say grow a pair, but I know your future.

Speaking of futures, Gillecomgain at fifteen is just as merciless as he'll be as an adult. Gleefully trying to kill the young Bodhe on Constantine's orders. "Tonight is the Hunter's Moon! Be a hunter for your king!" Heh heh heh... so, Gillecomgain's scars inspired Constantine, and Constantine inspired Gillecomgain. They're both so twisted... I love it.

And Findlaech points out to Mail Brigti what we've been seeing all along. Gillecomgain is no longer his son. And now we also learn that Findlaech and Brigti are half-brothers, which would make Gillecomgain Macbeth's cousin. That also adds a whole new layer to their dynamic. I read that Gillecomgain and Macbeth were cousins, but I didn't think this was the case in the Gargoyles Universe. Glad to see that worked in.

And as the battle proceeds, we get one of the coolest sequences we've ever seen in "Gargoyles"... comic or show. Brother Valmont uses the Grimorum to rain magical, fiery arrows from the sky. "Rain of Death" and he's not kidding. Demona's Second's mate is killed. Countless soldiers are killed. Mail Brigti is killed. Even Magus the horse is killed... that bastard. It comes to an end when Brooklyn takes the Grimorum from Valmont... and Valmont's hand as well. Ouch.

Hmm, let's see here. Brother Valmont is bald, wears green, has a French surname, clearly has no loyalty to Constantine or anyone else in this battle, and now he has no hand. Didn't we meet a bald guy who wears green, has a French surname, and a cybernetic hand in "The Rock of Ages"? And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Demona grabs the Grimorum and is finally able to put a stop to Valmont's Rain of Death. The battle is over. Gillecomgain blames Findlaech for his father's death... but Findlaech spares Gilly. Famous last words there, Findlaech

Constantine and Kenneth III's duel finally comes to an end. Kenneth declaring that if he falls, Maol Chalvim will rise to take his place... that just amused the hell out of me, probably more than it even amused Constantine. "Yes, such is his ambition." Constantine understands Maol Chalvim far better than Kenneth III does. The two men are a lot more alike than Kenneth will realize until it's too late. God, I love Scottish history.

But, once Constantine threatens Bodhe one time too many, Kenneth III ends the duel... permanently. And so ends the short reign of Constantine the Bald. May his soul burn in the deepest level of Hell. Amen.

With the battle over, the phoenix once again appears. Brooklyn knows Demona well enough to know that he can't just let her keep the Grimorum. I love the little gambit he plays. "I need your half of the Gate to try to control it, here, let me hold the book for you."

And while Mary and Finella beg Brooklyn to take them with him, we cut back to 1997.

Brooklyn disappeared forty seconds ago, leaving a worried Angela and Broadway. But suddenly he returns, and he's not alone.

Back at the castle, Goliath is greeted by Lexington and Broadway, who have returned from London, bringing with them Coldstone and Coldfire, who have finally come to rejoin the clan. While Angela and Broadway call them to the Great Hall to meet Brooklyn and his new companions.

Oh, I'm sorry, did I say companions? We meet Brooklyn's mate, Katana; their son, Nashville (or Gnash for short); their beast, Fu-Dog; and their egg. Brooklyn himself is now older. Turns out he's been time traveling for forty years (which would make him the gargoyle equivalent of twenty years older. He's wearing armor similar to what he wore in "Future Tense" and is armed to the teeth with two guns, the broadsword he acquired in Scotland, and a katana. Oh, and he's lost his left eye, and is sporting an eye-patch.

Is Brooklyn a big Nick Fury fan? ;)

As the gargoyles celebrate, and meet and greet. Elisa arrives to inform everyone that Jackal busted Wolf and Hyena out of Rikers and they're on a rampage in Times Square. So, the gargoyles decide to go kick their asses.

And in Goliath's final thought monologue, we get the double meaning of the title. The Manhattan Clan is rising again. Once a shattered clan of six, their numbers have doubled.

"Clan Building" has concluded. But, some things never end. One way or another, they'll be back.

Now, to comment on a few things. I loved Katana's design. Nice to finally see a beaked female. I wish we had gotten one line of dialogue from her, but you can't have everything. My friend, Robby Bevard, the colorist, told me that he had the honor of designing her. Now, I knew Robby back when he was just a fan artist drawing for "Gargoyles" fanfiction. So, this is definitely a dream come true for him. He got to design the one character who everyone has been waiting twelve years to see.

So, let's see, the Manhattan Clan now consists of: Goliath, Brooklyn, Lexington, Broadway, Hudson, Angela, Katana, Nashville, Coldstone, Coldfire, Bronx, Fu-Dog, and Elisa Maza (yes, I count her). That's a pretty big cast. But, as Greg has often demonstrated, if anyone can balance casts of thousands, he's the guy.

Now, there's a lot of things to wonder. What will happen next for starters?

What is Thailog up to with their DNA?
What is Demona currently up to, and when will she strike?
Are Wolf, Jackal and Hyena a match for all these gargoyles? I think they'll need another upgrade ;)
Will there be any fallout with the gargoyles and Xanatos after what happened in London?
What will Talon and Maggie's baby be?

These and so many other questions may not be answered for a while, but we have things to look forward to should "Gargoyles" get another shot one day, and I sincerely hope it does.

But, in the mean time, we have the graphic novel for "Gargoyles: Bad Guys" with two issues of new material to look forward to soon. I can't wait.

Greg responds...

I'm glad you liked it. Sorry, the cover didn't work for you. It was less a "joke" to me then an homage. The parallels made it like too good an opportunity to miss.

Response recorded on December 10, 2009