Friday, July 23, 2010

Comics Review: DARKWING DUCK #2 (Boom! Kids, July 2010)

Despite numerous moments in the script that can only be described as baffling, part two of "The Duck Knight Returns" manages to maintain the momentum that distinguished part one. Almost in spite of himself, I think that writer Ian Brill has already telegraphed who's really behind Quackwerks' "subtle takeover" of St. Canard. If the "villion" (to swipe a word coined by Gizmoduck) is who I think it is, then he must have mellowed to a considerable extent; using corporate subterfuge and an army of Crimebot robots seems rather too indirect an approach for one who typically gets his jollies from hands-on mayhem. Darkwing's other arch-nemeses appear to have their own personal agenda in this battle, though only Quackerjack has gotten to do anything meaningfully destructive as of yet. Since their agenda partially dovetails with DW's -- apart from the violence, that is -- could we be headed for a "Regularverse" equivalent of the cooperation between DW and "The Friendly Four" in "Life, the Negaverse, and Everything"?

So, exactly how much time DID elapse between the rise of Quackwerks and the events of this story? Brill is now sending us decidedly mixed signals. On page 2 of DARKWING #1, it's explicitly stated that Darkwing's "last known adventure" (the "Starducks Caper") was one year ago. Moreover, the TV report that spills the beans clearly remembers who DW is/was, and Gosalyn and Honker appear to be about the same age as they were on TV. Thanks to DARKWING #2, we now have the following "facts" to range against the above:

(1) A fellow office worker of Drake's (who, in a clever bit, is initially teased as being yet another of DW's old foes) catches the snooping DW in the Quackwerks offices and treats him as Drake Mallard wearing a costume.

(2) An aged Quackwerks security employee definitely seems to remember DW, since he gives the crimefighter a tip on how to crack the Crimebots' secret lair. No one else at the old gent's retirement party does.

(3) A St. Canard radio announcer says that "older listeners may remember" the battles between DW and his foes, but can't remember the characters' names.

All of this points to a L-O-N-G intervening stretch of time between the time frame of the TV series and that of "Duck Knight." So which is it, Ian? Or is some sort of weird "time paradox" going on here? Is someone monkeying with Quackerjack's Time Top behind the scenes, and we don't know it yet? I'd like to think that there's some method to Brill's apparent temporal madness.

Some other aspects of the plotting are a bit wonky. It seems a bit out of character to me for Gosalyn to respond to her best friend Honker's incarceration by... boarding an overnight bus for Duckburg to solicit help from Launchpad. Perhaps she's learned some humility in her "older young age," but she should be a little more upset about the Crimebots' action than she appears to be here. The dispensation of Launchpad is a further mystery; LP is now back in Duckburg in his shack at the airfield (with red, blue, and green biplanes in his collection -- a cute reference to DuckTales' Nephews!), so I would imagine that he broke his alliance with DW at some point during the past year (or years, depending on issue). Would DW's sidekick have cut and run that quickly? Even if the Crimebots have taken over DW's job, I'd think that LP would still feel some proprietary interest in the welfare of Gos and Honker, to say nothing of Drake, and would want to stay in town. And how did Quackerjack suddenly recover "the improved Mr. Banana Brain" from a pile of trashed Crimebots? What was Mr. BB doing there in the first place?

Brill has a real job ahead of him to tie up all the loose ends and answer these questions. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt based on the currently available evidence.

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