A Station Eight Fan Web Site


The Phoenix Gate

Search Ask Greg

Search type:

Displaying 1 record.

Bookmark Link

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