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Originally I promised I wasn't going to review 3 - 5 until I saw them as a group, and go figure when I finished this was RIGHT when the queue closed. So here it is, though with added time of reflection.
REVIEW OF GARGOYLES ISSUES 3 - 5
by Shannon Muir
As I've stated previously, I didn't want to comment on the comics until I could see the whole story in one piece, which to me feels like I'm reading a half hour episode adapted to three comics with one comic per act. I'm largely going to talk about the story as I think it unfair to review three different artists artwork indepth in one piece. However, broadly speaking I liked issue #5 the best artwise and issue #4 the least (mainly because I couldn't follow the fight scenes in that style which in turn impacted my ability to follow story, though the style itself was interesting).
Now, here's a breakdown of each story arc and my observations --
THE ILLUMINATI: It's nice to finally get a sense of the Illuminati structure as more than just this nebulous organization represented by just a couple people in the show. Castaway, Bluestone, Xanatos, and Thailog all at lowest run almost implies some sort of "race to the top". Both Quincy and Shari I find extremely interesting, and Thailog being a member was a turn I didn't expect. Also that Shari's symbol isn't the ring like all the men wear. (What jewelry does Thailog have I wonder, though I know you can't/won't answer). There's enough here I'm interested in what is going on in their infrastructure. Thailog's goals are, however, at this point a little bit predictable. What is more of interest is the consequences of the pursuit of said goals with Sevarius.
ELISA AND GOLIATH: I have to be honest, this was the arc that I liked the least. To me, the question of Elisa's family plans opened on the castle rampart is a "tentpole" question that should launch a much larger arc and not be thrown away in the equivalent of a half-hour episode. The fact Elisa flirted with Jason, and did take Morgan on the date, cannot be erased in one night no matter how life-threatening. Couples have conflicts but they also need to work through them, and issues of this magnitude take time. I hear rumors later issues will continue with this theme, but even what I've seen here seems just too fast. I know comics by nature need to be time compressed to some extent, but still.
I for one hope that though Elisa's re-recognized her feelings for Goliath in the heat of a pressure moment, the struggles don't end here. Those are some powerful words Elisa told Goliath back at the castle in Issue 3 about the life she wanted, and I truly feel some more examination of this is required instead of a simple daytime soap opera-esque "we'll find a way to work it out" and let it rest until it resolves itself. It has always been one of GARGOYLES' hallmarks to deal with tough issues head on and give them the treatment they deserve - whether it is single epsiodes with undertones of social issues like DEADLY FORCE or LIGHTHOUSE or the complicated psychcological examination of Demona and Macbeth of CITY OF STONE. That, to me, is what makes GARGOYLES... well, GARGOYLES.
As is, it feels like this was "rushed through" to take Elisa and Goliath to some sort of "next level" in their relationship in order to move along other plot elements. I strongly hope this isn't the case.
BROOKLYN, BROADWAY AND ANGELA: Poor Brooklyn just feels alientated by everyone. This was done in plausible contexts that made sense. I know what it is ultimately to lead to (in the most general of senses, as we've been told before), but the question is how long will things go until we get there? I hope they don't drag out but go at a natural pace. As to Broadway and Angela, I think they are handled very subtly in the background, their relationship is reconfirmed as a contrast longside Brooklyn's alienation.
LEXINGTON: Not too much to say here as Lexington is Lexington. However, what is key is his confrontation with his clone, it reveals a lot about his character as he confronts his "dark side" when the clone chooses Thailog over siding with Delilah.
THE CLONES, THE MUTATES, AND THE POWER OF FREE WILL: Maggie standing up and Delilah taking charge were both turns I applauded and worked well, Delilah's especially though I would have liked to have overseen her hearing the conversation where Goliath mentions her. Though, where did Thailog learn about Norma Rae? It took a minute to remember where she overheard Goliath's comment. This was my second favorite arc to Hudson and Robbins (see below). However, we still don't know what happened to Maggie or to Claw. We see Shari at the end of Issue 5 talking to Thailog, and supposedly she took Claw with her when she left the Labrinyth in Issue 4. Where is he? Did I miss something? (I hope so.)
HUDSON AND ROBBINS: The smallest subplot in the arc but it accomplishes volumes in just a few pages. It got a major revelation out of the way - that Robbins has suspected Hudson's identity for some time - but it didn't feel rushed or forced. It felt like every step was completely appropriate and the handshake at the end before Hudson left was the perfect cap. A total contrast to the Elisa and Goliath arc. Even Gilly and Bronx resting together was a nice touch.
BRENDAN AND MARGOT: Margot was predictable but funny, yet the interesting part here is getting a better sense of Brendan. Timing makes it clear he got Dr. Sato to help Goliath, but did he realize Goliath was what he was or does he think Goliath was just a man in a really good costume? Again, you can't answer that one but I'm letting you know the answer interests me.
DEMONA: I know she's a setup for later, but she seems out of place in these three issues if taken together as one story. Not much to say as there's not much of her around. I am left wondering if that page might have been able to be done some other way or at some other point to have better been utilized for this story.
CAMEOS AT THE PARTY: Fun if you remember the show enough. I recognized some and had to research others. I flat out did not recognize the Judge and guessed who he was simply because I had to think of what episode used a Judge. Seems too off model to me, even compensating for the costume.
OVERALL: Would I keep reading at this point? There's enough to keep me interested, but how Elisa and Goliath play out may be a real sticking point. We'll see.
ADDENDUM REGARDING ISSUE #6:I don't have Issue 6 yet (got stuck too late at work to go out the day it came out), and to be honest after hearing about the technical art gaffe I may just hold out for the trade in hope it gets corrected there and I can follow the story properly, especially since it is a stand-alone. I haven't decided. If I do get it and the queue doesn't close, I'll consider a review.
Well, I don't agree with all your comments, but of course you're entitled to your opinions. A couple things I do take issue with:
I don't see Elisa as having flirted with Jason at all. She is trying to comfort him as a friend, and although I like to leave interpretations up to individual readers, I don't even see where that interpretation comes from. Frankly, I don't think she flirted with Morgan either.
I also don't have any idea why you think Shari took Claw with her.