Sunday, April 25, 2010

Comics Review: DONALD DUCK AND FRIENDS #353 (Boom! Kids, April 2010)

Evidently, the identity of The Agency's "Big Boss" is, like the Sherlock Holmes story of the Giant Rat of Sumatra, "a tale for which the world is not yet prepared." "Before the Premiere," the new "Double Duck" story arc, instead throws us straight into a new adventure introducing The Organization, which apparently will serve as FOWL to The Agency's SHUSH. Here, Donald is being asked to keep tabs on a former Agency bigwig, orchestra conductor Felino Felinys (who is, against all probability, a bird rather than a cat), whom The Org is apparently interested in nabbing and "reactivating" from his mind-zapped forgetitude. The song-slinging ex-"spook" is presently engaged in preparing the premiere of a forbidding new opera at Milan's La Scala Opera House. Strange doings are afoot, however: there's Bondian tech aplenty in the basement of the grand structure, while Felinys seems oddly insistent (even for a conductor) that "triangle-player" Donald not be "one nanosecond late" to play his one note of the piece, which occurs at the climax of the concluding crescendo. This, combined with occasional slips of the tongue, suggests strongly to me that Felinys has already been "turned" to the side of bad and that we're in for a "sound assault" on someone or something. Could it have something to do with the seemingly irrelevant "Clippedonia election results" reported in the newscast on page one? Perhaps The Org plans to monkey with the results by means of musical malfeasance? It won't take us long to find out, as this story is much shorter than the recently-concluded origin epic. The tale won't be short enough, though, to dispense with the "mundane irritant" subplot. Taking the place of the unpaid parking ticket this time around is Donald's rash promise to give the ever-demanding Daisy a surprise birthday party. Oddly, Donald's frequent lies here trigger mishaps for others, a tic that didn't turn up in the origin story.

Giorgio Cavazzano, the prime influence on modern Italian Duck artists, draws this first segment of the story (and, if Inducks is right, will at least pencil the rest). His loose artwork is an acquired taste for us Statesiders, though WORLD OF THE DRAGONLORDS softened me up to a considerable extent. However, the cohort of Cavazzano-wannabes who drew the earlier chapters of "Double Duck," as well as WIZARDS OF MICKEY, would probably have been hard-pressed to pen the striking reproduction of La Scala seen here (as well as on the cover of TOPOLINO #2767 (December 9, 2008), which I've reproduced above).

As someone who's long had to hear from others about mathematics' inherent power to bore, I couldn't help but chuckle at the implication in the first few pages of this story that classical music bores ALL "normal" males (the poor schlub sitting behind Don and Daisy at the Canasta Club concert is just as anxious to get away as Don is). Part of the chuckle was due to the fact that the opening newscast presents the Milan opera premiere as a news story. If classical music is so irrelevant, then why is such attention being paid to it? Is that news network run exclusively by females?

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