Not quite your childhood Gargoyles

Publisher: Dynamite
Writer: Greg Weisman
Illustrator: George Kambadais
Letterer: Jeff Eckleberry

If you’re of a certain age (like me) you’ll probably remember the Disney cartoon ‘Gargoyles’ which aired originally from 1994 to 1997 (now available on Disney+ nostalgia nerds). You might have forgotten, as I did, that there was a comic continuation from 2006-2009 produced by Slave Labour Graphics which carried on the story but also ignored pretty much the entire third season. Gargoyles canonical continuity is complicated.

However! We now have another comic continuation from Dynamite comics which carries on from the previous comics and therefore also ignores much of season three. Confused? Don’t be. This issue basically gives you all the background you need to know about who is who and what Gargoyle is a relationship with which other characters. Goliath/Elisa shippers will be pleased to know the resident cop character and her mythical creature boyfriend are still going strong.

What’s the plot? Well there some crime bosses in jail whilst their minions are causing havoc. There’s a bad guy after the mutant child of Elisa’s brother who is also a mutant. There’s also the classic Gargoyles banter. There’s not a lot of depth to the plot at this early stage and that’s fine because this whole issue is to catch you up to speed on the characters and their history more than anything else.

You want handy exposition and references? You got them. The issue was written by Greg Weisman one of the co-creator producer types of the first two seasons of the animated show and writer of the last comic book run. In other words a man who knows his Gargoyles. So there’s a confidence to the exposition as this is straight from the creator’s mouth. It’s canon and it knows it.

Rather than a team of animators the illustration is by George Kambadais. He’s worked on several IP projects before and does a solid job here. The characters are recognisable though the art isn’t precisely aping the animation but updating it almost. After all the original show is nearly thirty years old (scary thought) and the art did need updating to the 2020s. What Kambadais does is really successful in that regard. It’s not a slavish homage but is interesting and dynamic in its own way.

The action is portrayed well too. We get a real sense of the gargoyles gliding (remember they can’t fly, only glide) and fighting. I mean this as a compliment when I say sometimes it looks like a freeze frame of animation, the action perfectly captured. The choices of how to show things, like the opening car chase, are well made. The use of the background to portray movement, the choice of panels. It all works the way it should.

So yes very solid art. If you are expecting a deeply plotted comic book then issue is not it. This has a job to do introducing the world and characters and nails it. I now know that Brooklyn, Lexington and Broadway really have grown up some, that the gargoyles are hanging around a castle and that pagers are apparently still a thing.

As someone who can’t recall reading the Gargoyles comics back in 2006 or so but as someone who has fond memories of the animated series (mostly because it featured a lot of Star Trek actors and also Shakespeare) I did enjoy this. It fed my little nostalgia nerd heart. Is it the best first issue? Maybe not but it is successful and worked for me. The updated art style was very appealing and the exposition welcome.

This is a solid introduction to the comic book world spin off of a popular animated show from the 90’s. Hopefully the next issues will deepen the plot and characters further. The sun may have set on the old canon but that just means the new can break out of the stone sleep and try something new. Judging from this it should be good.

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