"Masque" is the fourth issue of the Gargoyles comic by SLG, and Chapter Four of the Clan-Building story arc.
- Writer/Creator: Greg Weisman
- Pencil Artist: Nir Paniry
- Color Artist: Dustin Evans
- Art Director/Cover Pencil Artist: Greg Guler
- Cover Color Artist: Stephanie Lostimolo
Thailog's back in town! In an adventure that takes us from the Labyrinth to the Eyrie to the White House, the evil clone of Goliath is determined to collect on his debts. Can the scattered clan come together in time to stop Thailog and save Goliath? And does Goliath want to be saved, now that Elisa has broken his heart?
by Todd Jensen.
"Masque" is an admirable continuation of the Double Date story begun in the preceding issue ("Invitation Only") and concluding in the next ("Bash"). It advances that story's threads in a way that makes them all the more intriguing.
After a prelude with Billy and Susan from "The Thrill of the Hunt" (and a friend of theirs named Terry) trick-or-treating at Jeffrey Robbins' house and being greeted at the door by Hudson, we move to the masquerade party being held at the Eyrie Building. Things are in full swing - or would be, were it not for the tensions caused by Goliath and Elisa's dates. Angela is upset about Elisa's bringing her escort (Officer Morgan) to the party when Goliath is going to be present, while Elisa soon becomes unsettled once she actually sees Delilah accompanying Goliath - and all the more so because she knows that Delilah is genetically partly derived from her. The troubled feelings between her and Goliath as they realize how awkwardly the Double Date is going are effectively handled.
But even more trouble is brewing for the clan, as Thailog breaks into the Labyrinth to recover the Clones - who willingly join him. Clearly their old programming "Obey Thailog" has not been entirely removed by the education that they have received from the Mutates, though Maggie pleads in vain with them to think for themselves. Thailog strikes her down and, upon learning the whereabouts of the one missing clone, Delilah, heads off for the Eyrie Building to recover her as well.
Thailog is his usual, thoroughly villainous self - not only cunning and ruthless, but clearly regarding Goliath's troubled situation with amusement. Upon discovering that Goliath and Delilah are on a date, he bursts into a fresh round of maniacal laughter, and is even more delighted when he eavesdrops on Goliath and Elisa's saddened conversation at the castle, commenting "I'll admit I came expecting to be entertained... but your penchant for drama always exceeds expectations, father."
Owen steps in just as it looks as though another father-son battle is about to take place, making it clear that he does not want a fight disrupting Xanatos's party, and bringing a new Commando Team (presumably replacing the old one lost in "Monsters") to enforce his wishes. (One of the most enjoyable touches in this scene is when Owen mentions being tired of having to constantly have the castle rebuilt after the damage done it by the numerous battles fought there in the series.) In the familiar "greyish" tone that we can expect from Xanatos's executive assistant, however, he is ready to surrender Delilah to Thailog in return for Thailog cancelling the fight - or, to be more accurate, let Delilah decide whether to go with Thailog or not. Unfortunately, even Owen's intervention cannot prevent Thailog from carrying out an act of surprise treachery on the final page....
The Xanatos sub-plot is also continued, as Xanatos and his family attend a party at the White House, and Xanatos is called away for a private meeting with one of the stewards there - who is himself an Illuminatus, and apparently a very high-ranking member, at that. We will have to wait for next issue, however, to learn the purpose of this visit.
The story continues to balance action, intrigue, and character development well. It also handles the revelation of Delilah's nature (for the benefit of those readers who haven't seen "The Reckoning") much better than the backstory for the Mutates, Thailog, and the Clones given in #3. Delilah's mention of her genetic background is portrayed, not as two pages of familiar information from the perspective of old fans, but as a means of illustrating her characterization - that she is still naively unaware that telling people that she's a combined clone of Elisa and Demona is probably not a very good idea.
Like #3, #4 ends on a "to be continued" note, with many questions remaining to be answered. Will Goliath survive Thailog's attack on him? Will Delilah choose to go with Thailog or display some free will? What do the Illuminati want to talk to Xanatos about at the White House? Will Goliath and Elisa be able to sort out their problems? Who is the mysterious young woman in the Labyrinth? And what will Brooklyn's costume be? Stay tuned to find out.
This is another good issue for cameos: we see Billy and Susan from "The Thrill of the Hunt", their mother (who's nervously eyeing a couple of Quarrymen - is she having second thoughts about the organization?), Jeffrey Robbins, Gilly, Brendan, Margot, Officer Morgan, and Judge Roebling from "Vows".
The most intriguing cameo, however, comes from Billy and Susan's friend Terry. In the White House scene later on, Xanatos is talking to an "Ambassador Chung", who mentions that she has a son named Terry trick-or-treating in New York. Clearly the two Terrys are the same - which suggests that he is none other than the Terry Chung who would have been one of the leads in the The New Olympians spin-off. Since the Terry of #4 is apparently a pre-teen, while the Terry of the New Olympians spin-off had just graduated from MIT at the beginning of the story, the spin-off is probably not due to take place in the Gargoyles Universe for several years.
We finally learn Brendan's surname: Quarters. (He and Margot get into another quarrel; this time, it's because Margot is indignant about Brendan taking the unimaginative step of dressing up as a gargoyle for Halloween, "the biggest cliche of the season".)
Broadway and Angela attend the masquerade party as the Cowardly Lion and Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz" (Angela even has a little stuffed Toto in her basket). Officer Morgan comes as Sherlock Holmes, and Elisa continues her habit (begun in "Eye of the Beholder") of going as a Disney princess by dressing up as Jasmine from Aladdin. (This probably has nothing to do with the comments by several Gargoyles fans that she looked eerily like Jasmine in the animation for the The Goliath Chronicles episode "Seeing Isn't Believing".) Lexington's costume is the most intriguing, however: he goes as his cybernetic self from "Future Tense", presumably without being aware of the significance of it. (It's probably just as well that neither Goliath nor Owen notices that.)
Ambassador Chung mistakenly believes that Alex is a year old or more, and is astonished to learn that he isn't even four months old yet. It is possible that Alex is growing faster than other babies due to being Titania's grandson, though this has yet to be confirmed.
This issue suffers from two technical flubs: the title was inadvertently left off of Page 5, and David Hedgecock is incorrectly credited with the title of "Pencil Artist". The Pencil Artist for this issue is guest-artist Nir Paniry.
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