Saturday, May 8, 2010

Comics Review: WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES #706 (Boom! Kids, April 2010)

Andrea Castellan's "Mickey Mouse and the World to Come", which wraps in this issue, is the best original material Boom! has presented to date, and "there is no second" -- at least, not yet. The Rhyming Man's scheme to refashion the world to his twisted liking through his mastery of high-tech and "the world equation" comes to grief, as we all knew it would. Before "all iss done und said," Mickey, Minnie, and Eega Beeva get their heroic licks in, and, right at the climax of the action, a Tale Spin episode suddenly breaks out as King Kontinento of Illusitania and his daughter Silvy lead the Illusitanian Royal Guard in an aerial assault on The Rhyming Man's massive turbo-prop plane. "Rhymes" even wears a Napoleon hat and epauletted jacket and brandishes a sword for the occasion, coming off like a Don Karnage with a better grasp of poetic meter (though, in fact, his rhyming shtick does disappear at several moments, with Minnie inadvertently completing one couplet in the best Bucky Bug tradition). The "retro" look of the big air battle is entirely fitting, as this entire story is the functional equivalent of a Floyd Gottfredson adventure from the fanciful Bill Walsh era. "Casty" (with help from translators David Gerstein, Jonathan Gray, and Stefan Bronzoni) is clearly the best thing Boom! has going for it right now insofar as fans of "classic" Disney comics material are concerned, and Boom! just as clearly recognizes the fact, as WDC&S #707 will bring us a new Castellan adventure. My hope is that either "Casty" gets the entire book next time or we get a non-Mouse backup of higher quality than the woebegone and forgettable "Peg-Leg Pete and the Alien Band". (I mean, we never even got to see Pete actually perform in concert. We deserved at least that minor payoff.)

One minor quibble about Castellan's story coda. King Kontinento's decision to scrap the entire "World to Come" project is entirely understandable, coming complete with a "greenish" comment about humanity needing to realize that "we are zis world's guests, not its masters!". But did it really have to be "all or nothing"? Couldn't the technology be used on a smaller scale to fix earthquake faults, calm volcanoes, bring water to parched deserts, and the like? I think that there was room for consideration, at least, of the "Open your borders some of the time!" option (cf. the Speed Racer episode "The Fire Race")... provided that security was much tighter, that is.

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