Gargoyles: Bad Guys
collecting issues #s 1-4 and the unpublished #s 5-6
SLG Publishing (August, 2009)“Redemption” WRITER/CREATOR: Greg Weisman ARTISTS: Karine Charlebois & Christopher Jones
I want to start this review by talking about Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles and the main title from SLG’s Gargoyles run. I understand that there are fans who hated the ABC Saturday Morning version. And I understand why. Creator Weisman left after the first episode, which SLG adapted very well before letting Wesiman do what he wanted. Also, the ABC version was lighter than the afternoon syndicated show and possibly weaker compared to the parent show. However, there were things that I liked that were ignored by the SLG comic, the big one being Xanatos was part of the Illuminati and appeared to have not reformed as he did in the show thanks to having a son to raise along with his wife, Fox. It was a growth of his character but rather than having his sins haunt him as he tried to form a new path in life he was still secretly bad…unless he planned to turn on the Illuminati at some point instead of continuing his manipulative ways.
The other big problem I had was a very personal gripe rather than from any critical standpoint although research says that was finally fixed in the “Clan Building” story arc. That was poor Brooklyn, who kept being denied a mate and family, his biggest goal. As someone who still wants to have a wife and kids at 42 but seeing it more and more unlikely I wanted to see him finally get what he wanted, but every female Gargoyle he came across either already had a mate or would get one before he could do anything about it. Even Broadway, who didn’t want a family, ended up with Goliath’s daughter and as cute a couple as they might have become I was disappointed. Learning just now that Brooklyn finally got what he wanted makes me want to check that story out.
I bring this up because Bad Guys is set during the “Clan Building” series, only it’s a redemption story. As long-time readers of BW Media Spotlight knows I love a good redemption story. In this tale, Hunter (a former Gargoyle hunter) recruits other former enemies of the Gargoyles: Dingo and Matrix, Yama, and later Fang (I put links to those of you who aren’t well-versed in the show or like me haven’t watched it in years) for a series of missions. The first is to stop Dr. Sevarius from mutating all of New York at the New Year’s ball drop. Then they have to track down an Illuminati laboratory that turns out to be run by the man who raised Dingo (after secretly killing his mother–sadly, this won’t be followed up on in the future).
Each member of the Redemption Squad has a reason to seek redemption. Hunter once blew up the police tower the Gargoyles were hiding in, eventually seeing that they weren’t the bad guys her family thought they were because of Demona. Dingo was a member of Xanatos’ TV superhero team (and secret thief/attack force) The Pack and now wants to be the hero he used to play. Matrix is a composite of nanites who wants order that Dingo convinced should pursue law & order instead of reformatting the planet. Yama is a Gargoyle from Japan who tried to get his own clan to live in peace with humans instead of in secret, but his plan nearly doomed the clan to becoming part of a sideshow. In the story he’s banished from the clan until he is judged worthy by the harshest judge possible…himself! Fang…why is Fang on the team? He was working with Sevarius (the man who mutated him from a human to a cat-headed Gargoyle in the show) in the first adventure, shows no interest in redemption, and is a jerk to pretty much everybody. I’m not sure why he’s there.
If you followed the series and like me enjoy a good “villains reforming” tale, Gargoyles: Bad Guys is a good choice. Only four issues were published so I recommend hunting down the trade. You lose the colored covers (since they’re now black and white like the story) but it’s the only loss and it has the two unpublished stories as well. It’s a good read, but you may need to be a fan of the show to have the backstory that they don’t fill out.