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Gargoyles: Clan Building Volume 2 Paperback – July 29, 2009
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The compilation includes issues #7-12, which are evenly divided between the "Rock of Ages" and "Timedancer" storylines. The former focuses on Hudson and Lexington traveling to London alongside Macbeth to protect the mythic "Stone of Destiny" on its way to Scotland; whilst over there, they meet up with Sir Griff and the London Clan and a returning Coldstone and Coldfire, all of whom will be needed to repel an attack by Coldsteel, Coyote, and the Steel Clan. "Timedancer" chronicles the first of reportedly many adventures Brooklyn had after being pulled through time by the Phoenix Gate; this specific one sends him back to tenth century Scotland, post-Wyvern, where he will play a part in the clash between King Constantine III and Kenneth the Grim.
Satisfyingly, this collection fixes the imperfections of the first compilation and largely avoids the mistakes its predecessor made. Staple characters who had little action in or were sorely missing from issues #1-6 - like Coldsteel, King Arthur, Coyote, Princess Finella and Tom's mother, Gillecomgain, and (yes!) Demona - finally get some pagetime and make the most of it, contributing to the story appropriately and interacting well with the newer faces. It's also nice to see Lex, Hudson, and Brooklyn get starring roles; we really don't see enough stories centered on them. The storytelling itself is at its most intricate: you definitely won't get the gist of everything going on by just looking at the illustrations. However, while the writing generally continues the high standard set by the animated series, issues #7-9 feature Weisman experimenting with an odd narrative technique in which the story is constantly jumping between times and dates; I am clueless why it was written this way, since all it did was confuse me and necessitated a lot of page-flipping to compare dates, but luckily it's not too debilitating and is dropped as soon as "Timedancer" comes around.
The artwork is fantastic. David Hedgecock (who drew the three original issues) returns and masters his design for issues #7-9, but he's matched Greg Gruler (#10), David Hutchinson (#11, which includes an awesome two-page shot of Demona's clan bearing down on a heated medieval battle), and Ben Dunn (#12), all of whom put a nice touch to Brooklyn's story without compromising what most fans would probably regard as the "classic" design. Admittedly, at first I was a bit dissatisfied with Dunn's work in the final issue, seeing as he has the most "realistic" of all the drawing styles and makes Brooklyn seem a lot less handsome than he's usually depicted, but I quickly came to realize that the style is perfect for the most violent issue of the collection, so it eventually became complimentary to the story rather than derogatory and wonky, as was the case with Nir Paniry illustrating issue #4.
The issues are also full of fun little character interactions and tidbits: Lex and Hudson experiencing jetlag, Brooklyn explaining the definition of "bro" to one of Demona's brethren, Coldsteel attempting to talk free will into Coyote... These aren't major plot points, but nevertheless keep things interesting and made me smile while reading.
If there is anything to criticize about the book, it'd probably be what some readers have described as the fanfiction-y bits of the story. Personally, I think this is a load of bull for the most part, but if you had any problem with, say, Broadway reading Shakespeare or Eliza sharing a smooch with Goliath in previous issues, beware! - because not only do they do these things again, but there are hints (only hints, mind you) that Lexington may be getting the hots for a fellow guy-goyle from the London clan, and Brooklyn...well, I don't want to spoil anything, but the last two pages drop a lot on the reader about what happened during his forty-year travels. Let's just say he stopped being mopey about being single.
Regardless of all qualms, I consider this the superior Gargoyles comic collection for encompassing nearly all aspects that made the show great while still finding new ways to advance the story. I'll say it again: "Clan-Building, Volume Two" has been worth the wait, and ought to be in the collection of every fan, new and old. Don't let the goofy cover discourage you.
There are only the two Clan Building volumes, and the second leaves us with a big window of missed opportunity. There are other comics out there, just not along this main storyline. If you want to know more you can go to Greg Weisman's Station 8 website where he discusses what would have happened if he had had the chance. Still, if you can find this for a good price (some people want an arm and a leg for this) it's worth a read.
I love this book. It's a fantastic continuation of Gargoyles and a rousing story that isn't afraid to shake things up. The real brilliance of Gargoyles is its connections to mythology and history. You meet scads of new characters from the Illuminati, the London gargoyle clan, and Scottish history and lore. Every major character changes and develops, every story arc builds upon the past and links to the future, and every event feels intricately connected to the expanding storyline. The art is colorful and the action is exciting and well-drawn. The drama is unmatched for this genre. Even after everything changes, you feel like they're just getting started. I can't rate it highly enough.
This trade paperback collects issues #7-12 of SLG Publishing's Gargoyles comic series. Issues #9-12 were never published and are only available in this book. This and Clan Building volume 1 comprise the new season 3 storyline for Disney's Gargoyles animated series from the mid-nineties (replacing the Goliath Chronicles storyline).
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.
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.