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Gargoyles: Bad Guys Volume 1 Paperback – August 5, 2009
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Bad Guys Vol. 1 focuses on a group of villains and anti-heroes from the show who are seeking to atone for past sins-- former gargoyle killer The Hunter (Robyn Canmore), ex-mercenary Dingo, the nanotech entity Matrix, exiled Japanese gargoyle Yama, and the mutated creature Fang. The group is brought together by a mysterious benefactor and sent on a covert mission, ala DC Comics' Suicide Squad.
Bad Guys is written by Gargoyles' creator Greg Weisman, so the writing maintains the quality of the show, which was known for its mature and nuanced characterizations. It employs a non-linear story that shows our heroes(?) in action, then reveals their recruitment and secrets of their past in flashback. Gargoyles fans will be thrilled by the new information offered about these characters and their world, while newbies to the series are given everything they need to understand these troubled teammates. Particularly intriguing is Yama's sense of honor and self-judgment, Hunter's lingering prejudice, and Dingo's somewhat shocking origin story. Weisman also manages to incorporate references to Shakespeare (another unique element of the show) with the new villain Falstaff and his gang.
Karine Charlebois provides most of the artwork and she admirably captures the look of the show. She also lends a dynamic sense of movement to many of the action sequences, and does nice design work on the new characters. The comic is printed in black and white, which is a bit disappointing at first but thematically logical for a story with many shades of gray.
The collected edition contains the full six issue miniseries, including the final two issues that were not previously printed. SLG has recently suspended publication of Gargoyles due to Disney's increased licensing fees. One hopes that the series and its spin-offs can continue so that we can get more great comics set in this fascinating universe.
The narrative that Weisman has crafted here is as sprawling and complex as the series that preceded it. The depth and maturity of the show even increased with the introduction to the comic book format. Unfortunately it is this same depth and complexity that will leave many who read it wanting for more. As the comics lay the ground works for many different threads of the plot to be followed but is cut off before realizing any of them fully.
For those of you who are new to the story I suggest watching the first two seasons of the show, the third aside from the first episode is "non-canon" as it does not follow Weisman's story, before reading the comic. The book does offer a refresher at but it is hard to fully appreciate the story if you skip the start.
We get back story on a few of the Gargoyles less villainous villains and the start of what could have been an excellent series for comic books, so often awash in a sea of spandex clad mediocrity. This and the other Gargoyle books are a great change of pace from the usual and hey the quest for redemption was a good angle to play here.
I would definitely buy this again but be prepared to be at least a little disappointed here boys and girls there's no resolution to be had.....yet.
This is the story of some of the villains in the Gargoyles universe on the path to Redemption. The story is written with a LOT of flashbacks to all sorts of places, so be prepared.
I really enjoyed the story. I loved seeing all of these characters again. The comic (like Clan-Building) is really helpful for reminding the reader about characters you might have forgotten in the Gargoyles universe, or characters you were wondering about after their stories "ended" in the TV show. It was interesting to see how they worked with other characters, too.
Any Gargoyles fan needs to buy this book. It's a good fill-in for what-could-have-been if the TV show had kept going. It's very much in the tradition of normal Gargoyles story-telling (heck, two of the characters are Gargoyles) and so it has a great sense of nostalgia for the TV show. And again, it's just a really great story.