Gargoyles – A review

Cover of Clan Building #3, which shows a number of characters. Clockwise from top left: Flying gargoyle silhouetted against the moon, heavyset cyan gargoyle, small olive gargoyle, large lavender gargoyle with wings covering shoulders like a cape, blue dog-like gargoyle beast, human woman, red gargoyle with horns and white hair. All these gargoyles are male. In the center is a female lavender gargoyle.Warning: While this review is largely spoiler-free, it briefly mentions a few aspects of the show’s premise that might qualify as minor spoilers for the (lengthy) pilot under a strict definition.  I’ve done my best to minimize this by focusing on structure and themes, but it is difficult to avoid altogether.  Some of the links may contain more substantial spoilers, so please click at your own risk.

Unlike many Gargoyles fans, I was introduced to it via TV Tropes rather than the more conventional route of “watched it when I was a kid.”  The latter is apparently rather common for my generation, but I was just a little too young.  Moreover, I was raised on Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, instead of the Disney Channel, so I probably wouldn’t have seen it anyway.  Instead, as an adult I wanted to know who this “Xanatos” person was and why his gambits were apparently so foolproof.  I started watching the show and rapidly found myself addicted.

Seeing as most of us have never heard of Gargoyles, it might help to start with a definition.  Gargoyles is an animated urban fantasy series, with some superhero undertones, primarily set in Manhattan.  It originally aired in the mid 90’s and largely took place in the then-present.  Many parts of Manhattan were substantially more dangerous at that time than they are today, and so the series is a bit of a period piece by modern standards.  Fortuitously, however, this works in the show’s favor: the perception of heightened crime is a necessary backdrop for any crime-fighting story to work.  You can’t have Batman without Gotham.

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Legion Pilot – A (Mostly) Spoiler-Free Review

The newest addition to the ever-growing series of television shows based on Marvel properties arrived last week, with the FX show Legion.

Legion

The show, co-produced by Marvel and Fox, is the first live-action adaptation of Fox’s X-Men and mutant roster. (At the moment, it’s unclear if the show is going to tie into the X-Men Cinematic Universe or not.) The show follows the life of lead character David Haller, based of the Marvel character of the same name, who’s comic alias also gives the show its name. At the start of the show, David is a middle-aged man who has been diagnosed with  a severe case of schizophrenia from a young age — he constantly hears voices and sees things that don’t exist. David is currently being housed in a long-term mental health facility, where he meets the show’s lead female protagonist, a mysterious young woman named Sydney with a severe phobia of physical contact.

As the show progresses, David begins to form a relationship with Sydney, who largely rebels against the hospital’s treatments. Things go awry, however, when Sydney is set to be released, setting off a chain of events that leads David to start to believe what we, the viewer, probably already knew: that he’s not crazy, but he (and Sydney) seem to have super powers.

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The Rise of the Red Shadow – Prequel to the Book of Deacon Trilogy by Joseph Lallo Review

The rise of the red shadow

As promised, here is the review of the prequel to The Book of Deacon Trilogy and all I can say is that it is one of those rare things. A prequel that is leagues better than the original series. However much I may have enjoyed the Deacon series I enjoyed Rise of the Red Shadow more.

In this novel we follow Lian as he becomes the famed assassin that we all knew from the original series. We get a brilliant view into the history of the story as well as a great action and emotion packed set up for one of the best characters in the series.

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The Book of Deacon trilogy by Joseph Lallo (spoilers)

The Book of Deacon series covers

So I have just finished the Book of Deacon Trilogy by Joseph Lallo. All in all I enjoyed it hugely. It was a nice quiet light fantasy with all the favorite magical elements, Dark, Light, Grey, Elemental, a little bit of Healing and some scary crystals and really bad dudes. I feel that it was a good solid trilogy that makes a nice filler between heavy series or just a nice holiday series when you don’t want to think too much. You can just read the story and let the events unfold in front of you. There were some issues with the series but I will get into that in a little bit!

The characters are all mostly likable (Ether being the exception) and even though the bad guys are truly evil, one can’t really hate them. They are all simple characters that are easy to understand (maybe a little to simple but…) and in the case of Myranda and Deacon, easy to get behind. You feel for her point of view about the war and about what it has done to her homeland. This being the driving factor for her as a Chosen.

Personally I rather liked Leo/Lian, he was for me the most well drawn character and the one that I felt that the series could easily have been based more on (on a side note I am looking forward to the prequel Rise of the Red Shadow as it follows Lian). He was certainly the most complex character, with his past as a slave and career as a famed assassin turned reluctant hero.

But I may be a little ahead of myself! I have not even told you what the series is about… shame on me! Let me put that right, right now.

There are two countries, the Northern Alliance and Tressor. They have been at war for about a hundred and fifty years… During that time things have gotten a little out of hand with evil beings from another set of worlds having come through a portal and slowly setting themselves up to take over this world as well. The only issue is the Chosen, Five heroes that were touched by the gods and made for the purpose of protecting the world. So the story starts as we follow the Chosen as they find each other an slowly all agree about what needs to be done. We have have Ivy, Myn, Leo/Lian, Ether and Myranda.

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