He is the terror that flaps in the night. He is the critic who mocks your webcomic. He is Darkwing Duck. And he is back!
For the uninitiated among you, let me explain: Darkwing Duck is a superhero cut from the same cloth as Batman, The Sandman and The Shadow. And he's a duck, who occupies a little-visited corner of the same universe that Scrooge McDuck and the rest of the DuckTales characters inhabit. Using a variety of gadgets, including a gas gun and a near-supernatural ability to sneak around and appear dramatically at will, Darkwing protects the city of St. Canard from a motley crew of supervillains. Among these are the electrically empowered Megavolt, the plant manipulating Doctor Bushroot, insane ex-toymaker Quackerjack and the fluid fiend known as The Liquidator.
Darkwing Duck was easily the best cartoon to emerge from The Disney Afternoon line-up in the early 1990s and one of the best cartoons I grew up watching as a kid. At the time, it was one of those rare shows that could be watched by anyone - the kids would like the slapstick and the superhero elements while their parents could enjoy the sly asides and parodies that made up most of the series' plots.
Small wonder then, that as BOOM! Studios brings this character back in comic book form, that they would elect to bring Darkwing Duck back with a parody of the most famous "superhero returning to crime-fighting story ever". Look at the above cover art and consider the title of the opening arc - The Duck Knight Returns.
Yes. It's a parody of grim-and-gritty Frank Miller's Batman run. Hidden in, of all things, a Disney Comic!
Is it just me or is that all kinds of awesome?
The story opens on a flashback of Darkwing Duck's final publicized adventure, some 18 months before the comic opens. Since then, a company called Quackwerks has moved into St. Canard, taking over most of the businesses and the police force. Order is kept by a series of robot "Arrestoids" and the various criminals - super-powered and mundane - have been given day jobs, putting their talents to work for the company.
Darkwing is working for them now too, in his secret identity of Drake Mallard. He's working a job he doesn't understand to pay for his foster daughter Gosalyn's schooling and shares a cubicle with Elmo Sputterspark (a.k.a. the super villain Megavolt). And for some reason that isn't explained at first, he had a falling out with his best-friend and sidekick, master-pilot Launchpad McQuack. Drake is, in a word, miserable.
Drake is forced out of retirement and back into action after Quackworks' new-and-improved Arrestoids prove to be a bit overzealous, breaking down walls to subdue middle-school students who illegal download music... including Goaslyn's classmate Honker. Somebody has to investigate the power behind Quackwerks. Somebody has to stand up against the machines that fight crime without any sense of scale.
Meanwhile, Elmo is abducted by his former villainous comrades in the Fearsome Five... er Four and recruited for a complicated revenge scheme against the company that is crushing their spirits and wasting their talents. Their leader in this plan is Quackerjack, who it seems has become more Joker than Toyman in the last year and a half, becoming psychotically unhinged whenever the name of Negaduck - the former leader of the Fearsome Five and Darkwing Duck's evil twin from a parallel Earth - is brought up.
I won't spoil the rest of the issues for you any further. Suffice it to say this is best book for a juvenile audience I've read in a good long while. If you're a fan of the show, you'll love the comic. If you're not, you should check it out and see what you've been missing as they do a great job of introducing the characters and the universe to those who aren't familiar with it. Despite this, there's plenty of in-jokes for those of us who are familiar with it as well as a few cameos which prove that some - if not all - of The Disney Afternoon Shows were set in the same universe. Check out the last panel of this page for another familiar face.
Yes. Apparently Launchpad sought work with The Rescue Rangers at one point. And while I've refused to spoil the details of this storyline past Issue #2, here's some motivation for all of you crossover fans to get issue #5.
I'm hoping that in addition to any other awesomeness, issue #5 re-introduces Double Dee's sometimes girlfriend Morganna deSpell. And clears up what her relationship is to Scrooge foe Magica deSpell. And then leads to a Justice Ducks reunion...ReplyDelete
Oh, that's why I figured they're going with the Magica/Negaduck team-up. How else is Darkwing going to have a decent chance against an evil magician?ReplyDelete
This art rocks and is so spot on to the cartoon.ReplyDelete
Darkwing Duck was my favorite cartoon growing up. This is made of so much win. I wonder if I can still get copies?ReplyDelete
It is. Perfect.ReplyDelete
Possibly. Issue #4 is the most recent. I somehow got the first issue at my usual comic shop and the other three at a different store, so they should still be out there, more than likely.ReplyDelete
As soon as I heard this series was coming out, I already promised myself to buy the eventual collection.ReplyDelete
My Toys R us is carrying some comics, mostly Archie and Boom studios, so they may have this. They also seem to be a few months behind the curve. Worth a shot.ReplyDelete
Great book. But what's your opinion of gargoyles.ReplyDelete
Man, I'm going to have to pick this up. I remember that one episode where DW went into a universe where he was a television character, and at the end, the producers of the show looked for another universe to base their show off of and tapped into Rescue Rangers.ReplyDelete
Well, even if you can't, the Trade is due out in December.ReplyDelete
Hadn't looked at it. To be honest, I was never a big Gargoyles fan. Yes, I know... total blasphemy. I just never saw it.ReplyDelete
It's already available for pre-order. Due out in December. I have one on order for the local library.ReplyDelete
It looks like they're suggesting that Duck Tales, Rescue Rangers AND Darkwing Duck are in the same universe.ReplyDelete
Which begs the question of how you can have human-sized mice like Mickey and mice-sized mice like Gadget and Monterrey Jack in the same universe. I guess it's like the whole question regarding the evolution of dogs when you have Pluto and Goofy in the same universe.
I just attribute Pluto/Goofy to the same thing as Chimpanzee/Human. http://sayer.lab.nig.ac.jp/~silver/photo/I&chimp.JPG , for example.ReplyDelete
The whole different-sized talking mice is a whole other thing, though.
And if you think about it a bit more, I want to ask you one thing- Why is it that Mickey Mouse can wear pants, but Daisy Duck doesn't? Why does Chip n' Dale go pantsless, but Gadget doesn't?
I didn't think they did human-sized mice, only dogs, ducks, and the occasional cow.ReplyDelete
No worries. I'm three weeks behind on reviews due to the show I'm in. :)ReplyDelete
Glad you made it though. And thanks for the correction. I knew her name but I think my wires must have gotten crossed with Magica when I was trying to remember it.
Same here, but I kept thinking "Casta Spella" When trying to remember Magica`s name and then I was all "No...No that`s from She-Ra...."ReplyDelete