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Greg Bishansky writes...

"Gargoyles, Bad Guys: Redemption. #5: Strangled"

This issue is told somewhat non-linearly, but no where near to the extent as the recent Stone of Destiny story in "Gargoyles."

Parts of this center around Dingo's past. We see Dingo/Harry Monmouth as a small child rush home only to be told by his surrogate father figure, John Oldcastle, that his mother, Mariah, has run off again. Mariah is apparently a bit of a free-spirit... and this was the 1970s. Young Harry seems hardly surprised, as Mariah has done this before. But John promises to take care of him. And, for the next decade or so of his life, John... a professional thief and criminal trains Harry and the two of them pull off a series of heists.

In the present day (hee hee, 1997), Hunter informs the now full squad of Dingo, Matrix, Yama, and Fang, that their next target is an Illuminati stronghold on an island. So now, it all comes together. This is the island that we've been seeing this squad battle those giant robots.

The squad destroys the robots and enters the stronghold, where they discover a gigantic Illuminati banner, and they are ambushed by a bunch of freaky villains in Renaissance get-up. Dingo immediately recognizes one of them as someone he worked with when he was younger and pulling jobs with John Oldcastle, and knows who they're up against.

Enter John Oldcastle, who now calls himself Falstaff. And like the Falstaff of William Shakespeare's "Henry IV," Falstaff is a rather large individual who loves to eat and drink. He also refers to himself as the "King of Thieves." The Shakespeare character was a thief as well. Gotta hand it to Greg, if he can reference the Immortal Bard, he will. Shakespeare is always a wonderful thing to include, and like the series, you don't need to be fluent in it to enjoy it.

And while I'm on the point, there was a historical John Oldcastle. He was arrested for heresy, escaped from the Tower of London, and plotted to capture King Henry V (they used to be friends) and his family. He was eventually executed... hanged and burned. They say Shakespeare based his Falstaff off of John Oldcastle. Which makes Weisman's choice in the name very appropriate.

Falstaff greets Dingo with a big manly hug... and then we cut back to our flashback to Dingo's youth, when he returned home to discover his mom had taken off again. Only, she didn't take off... John Oldcastle strangled her to death in their bedroom.

I liked this issue. Everything seems to be coming together, and the story has caught up with itself. I also think that final page outlines the advantages of the comic book medium. "Gargoyles" on TV got away with a lot, but S&P would hardly allow any cartoon series to depict a man with his hands around the throat of a dead woman (and make no mistake, she is already dead in that shot) in their bedroom.

To be concluded...

Greg responds...

Yep, she's dead all right.

Response recorded on February 22, 2010