Sunday, November 8, 2009

Comics Review: DONALD DUCK AND FRIENDS #347 (Boom! Kids, October 2009)

Front-cover cleavage, Disney comics' first-ever reference to a "one-night stand," and Donald Duck brazenly riding a motorcycle without a helmet?! Truly, we do live in interesting times. I've been anticipating the debut of Donald as "Double Duck" with considerable trepidation, even given the fact that Duck characters have fared fairly well in the realm of the "superspy" in the past. Part one was milder than I'd expected even given the aforementioned shockers, and the mechanics of Donald's becoming a member of the spy agency called "The Agency" are still unclear, but I did enjoy the installment and look forward to what's ahead. (If Donald's lucky, it won't be a brick wall.)

Fausto Vitaliano and Andrea Freccero's tale leads off in typical bumbling-Donald style, with Don wrecking his romantic night out with Daisy by falling asleep during a "James Pond" movie. (Said movie features the overweight, and curiously wacky, Pond promising the comely Quacky Galore that "our love is for one night only!" Cue the startled gasps.) Worse is to come as Donald learns that he owes the city of Duckburg a hefty fine for a parking ticket, even though he can't remember ever parking in the specified location -- in fact, the entire three-day parking period is a blank to him. Enter Kay K, a mysterious babe who slips Don a DVD in which he appears as the suave "Double Duck" and agrees to undergo a "voluntary memory reset" now that he's finished his mission. Say what? With Don protesting all the while, Kay brings him to "The Agency," where, in the manner of Cheers, everyone knows his (code) name. According to "Agency" head honcho Jay J, Donald's a "sleeper agent" ("Daisy would find that ironic," comments Don) and accomplished quite a bit during his three days' worth of action, "saving the world" and such. And now, he's needed again...

Mixing in elements of Men in Black (the agents' names, the memory reboot) and The Bourne Identity (a rogue agent, introduced on page one, whom I suspect will be Donald's main adversary) and adding a touch of "Double-O-Duck", this introductory chapter manages to be entertaining despite the deadening effect of Saida Temafonte's English dialogue. Temafonte does get off a good one-liner or two but actually resorts to ending the script with Donald proclaiming "The name's Duck, Double Duck!" Somewhere, Ken Koonce and David Weimers are not laughing. The story's real plus is Freccero's lively artwork, which goes a little over the top during the "James Pond" scene -- how could any glamour gal be attracted to this pneumatic knucklehead? -- but appears well suited to the slightly cockeyed premise. Get a dialogue writer with a better sense of humor (and absurdity), and this could be good -- though I'm still a little nervous regarding how they're ultimately going to handle the notion of Donald wielding a real, live "piece."

1 comment:

Joe Torcivia said...

With “The Agency”, TNT, the Ultraheroes, and the Little Booneheads… Donald is ONE BUSY DUCK!

How does he ever find the time to go on treasure hunts with Uncle Scrooge and share domestic comedies with Daisy, HD&L, and Neighbor Jones?