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Ed Reynolds writes...

Hiya Greg. The comics take a while to reach me and I don't always manage to get the reviews in before the queue closes, but the comic's really going from strength to strength. Anyway, my BG #1 review...


'Bad Guys' doesn't instantly grab me. I love the universe and I trust the creators, but I don't yet feel close to the characters. I care about Hudson and Demona and Macbeth because we've been through so much with them, and with these guys we've known them for a long time but relatively shallowly. I'm really excited for the comic to peel back the layers on the characters in the same way the original series has done with the 'Gargoyles' leads. Glad to see Dingo used as a starting point for this reason; he's already the most familiar, and the most intriguing (though my favourite is Fang!). The Harry Monmouth tease is lovely. I got into 'Gargoyles' first off because of the 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' characters so I can't wait to see this angle developed.

I'd be lying if I said it didn't take a while to adjust to the lack of colour. Nothing against B&W as a form, I'm all for it; but colour, to me, is in the DNA of this universe. But the art's really great. The beautiful Sydney panorama, the exquisite fight scenes and the lovely stuff of Dingo in flight. Oh, love the logo too. The paper actually feels a bit more solid than the parent title, if less glossy. There seems to be an errant red dot in the middle of the cover but perhaps that's just my copy.

So the story. I love the structure here. The opening section reminded me of 'Awakening', although it's a standard thing with television pilots (and a few comic #1s) to start in the middle and flash back. Often, I don't like the effect. Occasionally it works really well, but sometimes it feels like an in-story trailer. But that final panel of the flash-forward -- "redemption" metaphorically and literally dead in the water -- is fantastic. Same with the "redemption taking off" image at the end. And then there's the music. Threw me at first, but it actually gives the thing a real linking thread and a sense of pace. I've found a clip of part of it on youtube but by now I prefer to run my own music to it in my head -- truth be told I always like to score things I read (and write) in my head anyway as I go. The explosion panel is particularly powerful contrasting with the music. It's an interesting experiment. Not sure it would work too often, but I think it sets the tone quite effectively. And I just like innovation with the narrative.

There are plenty of great moments as always. The helicopter gag was the funniest; Matrix's spine-insertation the creepiest.

One thing nags me though. The masked supervillain -- concept and execution. Concept-wise, it interests me how this guy was in a position to do something like this, and I love the idea of Dingo living this weird idealised hero v villain world. But in a period fast developing DNA testing and biometrics and CCTV, would anyone really go blowing up downtown Sydney and then walking around in a highly recognisable suit? In the Marvel universe, I wouldn't blink twice, but in 'Gargoyles' it seems startling. Not what I'd have expected.

One of the things I often have trouble tracking with the universe is what the perception of the man on the street is to everything that goes on in the stories. Yeah, the Vinnies and the Brendans are people who have had exceptional encounters. What about people who live in Oregon or Melborne or Cardiff -- nowhere that's a hotbed of activity in the universe (yet, anyway). How is their experience of the world different from ours? What's known about advances in technology on robots and cloning and artificial intelligence? And how astonished should they be at a guy in a mask blowing up a bank only to be accosted by an ex-con TV superstar in a metal suit which allows him to fly? Not very, is the impression I get from this comic. And that surprises me a little.

Overall, it's an enjoyable read, but hasn't yet got under my skin quite like the parent comic. And that's fine -- I'm not going anywhere and I have nothing but faith it's going somewhere amazing. I do suspect it's one of those I'll enjoy best in trade since we're only yet dipping a toe into the waters of 'Bad Guys'.

Thanks to everyone who worked on it -- Greg, Karine and David, as well as Greg & Stephanie and the SLG editorial people!

Greg responds...

Well, hopefully issue #2 will grab your interest more. But I'll admit, Bad Guys is designed as a slow build read, with each issue ramping up from the previous. Issue #3 definitely ups the ante on issue #2, and I'm writing #4 now and I'm thinking it's pretty darn breathless. By the time we get to #6, we should be "getting under your skin" just fine -- if not inserted into your spine. That's the plan, anyway.

Response recorded on January 17, 2008