Fanfic: After a Millennium A Renewal: Puppet Strings (by Kudara) [Gargoyles]

Review:

I’ve been a Gargoyles fan since it first started airing after The Disney Afternoon block of programming weekday afternoons after school.  The show was moody, dark, and was an adventure show about culture shock.  There had been very, very little like this before it aired, and it, along with Batman: The Animated Series, has sort of defined the animated adventure genre ever since.  My admiration for this show has never really waned, even as I learned more about it, got to meet the people who created it, developed it, acted in it, and supported it.  Even as I came to see the influences that originally drove the origin of this show.

Part of that admiration, however, made me hesitant to pick up any fanfiction based around it.  When I have a favorable opinion of a show, I really don’t go searching for fanfiction on it.  It seems redundant. I look for fanfiction to see an idea taken beyond its original concept, past the limits of the medium it was presented in, and into a more bold direction or more genre-aligned to my tastes.  Since Gargoyles was already there, it didn’t seem very necessary.  I have a similar reaction to El-Hazard fanfiction.  That original OAV series was so very perfect in my mind, it can only be diminished by fan fiction.

(Unfortunately, that did not prevent me from writing El-Hazard fanfiction. Ugh.  What a mistake.)

Anyway, I came across this fanfic because I was reading another piece of work by this author: “Who Saves the Hero?”, which is a Mass Effect 2 fanfic.  I absolutely adore that fanfic, but it’s currently incomplete, so I’ve hesitated to write very much about it until I know how it’s going to turn out.   Since I love that work so very much, I thought, why not see what this author has done for Gargoyles?

I’m glad I did.  This work is quite enjoyable and brings legitimacy to a number of things that I would normally have discarded.  For one, it’s a Demona slash fic.  I really don’t care very much for Demona as a character in the show, and certainly would NOT have wanted to read slash about her.  But this fanfic actually looked at Demona as a character, a flawed character, who sometimes had pretty ridiculous plans and motivations, and said: What would cause an otherwise intelligent character to behave in this way and how could I redeem them?  The fanfic answers both of those questions excellently to the point that I came to much enjoy Demona in this piece of work.

The other thing that normally would have been a turn off is the Original Character who ends up, to put not too fine a point on it, as a Mary Sue.  Generally speaking, she’s not a horribly annoying Mary Sue, and she is saved in this narrative by keeping the focus of the story more or less squarely on Demona, but she certainly had the potential to be a terribly off-putting character if she had been handled any differently.  Kendra, who the OC is called in this fic, turns out to be so very Sue-ish because frankly, that’s sort of what would have been required to pull Demona out of the tailspin she was in at the end of the televised Gargoyles series.

To briefly summarize what this story was about: Kendra, the OC, is a were-jaguar, a sort of spiritually endowed ability that was peripherally encountered in the TV series itself.  She comes to be attracted to Demona and decides to try and meet and get involved in her life to better understand her. Unfortunately, this happens to occur near days before the Quarrymen (a militant anti-Gargoyle group that came about in the last season of the show) make an attack on Demona and try to kidnap her.  In the excitement of the moment, they grab Kendra as well.  Demona and Kendra escape capture but find themselves stuck far from home  and have a very long way to go to find civilization again.  Thus, they are thrust into an unlikely allies situation that quickly evolves into a romantic two-step.

Were that all that this story was, it wouldn’t be terribly fun or interesting on its own.  What then happens, however, is the story dives head long into the mythos the author created around the were-jaguars and goes on to show, in detail, how much of the insane acts Demona has done was because of the myriad of spells the Weird Sisters placed on her and Macbeth back in the dark ages (which was shown in the TV series).  Many of the events that set Demona on the path of darkness are shown from a different light and slowly but carefully peal back everything we saw as ‘evil’ in Demona until she was left with only herself and a lot of regret.

The story moves on to show how Demona copes with this new understanding of her life while at the same time building on the relationship between her and Kendra in a relatively acceptable manner.

The story is good, as I said before, and I recommend it highly, but there are of course some criticisms I have for it.  Obviously, Kendra being very Mary Sue-ish is the primary concern.  She is perfect, powerful, and can do almost anything, which stretches belief very far.  On her own, I don’t find Kendra interesting very much at all, but her interactions with Demona, and what she inspires in Demona, make her worth the time.

The author is generally good with grammar, but the intricacies of homophones (aka their/they’re/there) seem to be lost on him/her.  I occasionally think this story was dictated to a Dagon Natrually Speak-like application, but that doesn’t really hold up because the text is very clearly well edited otherwise.  Perhaps this author just never got the message that those words weren’t interchangeable.

There are sex scenes in this story, some very long, some short, some implied, but after a while, I’m sorry to say, it’s boring.  I’m impressed at how detailed the author got into the specifics of how a gargoyle and a human would mate, and I know from my interactions with the fandom that this is a strangely extensively explored topic, but I’m simply not interested.  Love is exciting, and when it is spurred along by sex, I’m comfortable with that.  But I don’t need every moment of every interaction between the two spelled out for me.

Speaking of spelling out every interaction, the text in this story tends towards the unnecessarily verbose at times.  Topics are rehashed a little too frequently, and there are whole scenes of hundreds of words that seem almost entirely dispensable.  Nothing is out of place narratively speaking, the events in question should have occurred, but they didn’t need to be included in such depth.  Pages upon pages of flying lessons from Demona really pushed me into the snore-zone and I skipped a lot of those passages save for any dialog that seemed relevant to the plot.

Finally, this story is the first part of a series, it appears, as it ends as Demona and Kendra are just getting back to New York City.   How the gargoyles clan deals with her changes are left for another sequel story which is, unfortunately, incomplete and has been for over 3 years.

This story has some good writing wrapped around interesting characters in a scenario that was presented in a manner that was very interesting to me.  I liked what was going on here, I loved the changes and development of Demona, and I wish the story could have gone on to its conclusion.  But it didn’t, so we’re left here in a lurch.  I recommend this work, because it’s a good read, but don’t get too terribly invested, the sequel story doesn’t make its way to the finish line.

Published by TempestDash

TempestDash is a man of many hats, none of which fit all that well due to the size of his cranium. Also, he does a lot of things. On the internet you'll find him writing fiction and reviewing media. In the real world you'll find him examining computer controls at large companies. These two worlds rarely get to intersect.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply