Time to pack away the "Disney Hero action figures," and none too soon, I'm sorry to say. The denouement of "Fight Before the Exams" demonstrates many of the basic weaknesses of the entire HERO SQUAD concept. The supposed "big fight" between Duck Avenger and Cloverleaf never comes to pass; instead, all of the Ultraheroes (plus "Doc Ock" Pete, who's roped into a "temporary alliance" with the gang for the duration) are rudely dumped into what appears to be a weird alternate world and forced to battle a three-eyed monster. Yeah, whatever, as the teenyboppers are wont to say. The abrupt shift in focus is just as abruptly reversed as the heroes find themselves in the Villa Rose Dynamic Room -- sort of the Ultra-equivalent of the Holodeck -- and realize that the challenge was just an illusion. An illusion that, as it turns out, was dreamed up by "The Masked Top Hat"... and, no, this is not a stray piece of Sailor Moon's "universe" interfering in Disney's domain. This is Scrooge in a never-before-seen superhero disguise that I'm just going to forget I ever saw, if you don't mind. Why couldn't they have brought back The Masked Mallard to maintain at least a tenuous connection to something that had gone before? And, besides, isn't Scrooge's interest in "testing" the Ultraheroes here rather at odds with his crabby, misanthropic previous persona in these stories? Even the hinted excuse that Scrooge wanted his fortune to be secure by making sure the Ultras were well-trained doesn't hold up once you realize that the "construction of ingenious secret traps" in Villa Rose must have cost him plenty of money.
HERO SQUAD is Disney comics' ultimate "Throw Something at the Wall" title, featuring fights between characters we'd never seen before, Disney superhero i.d.'s whipped up from scratch, and characterizations that gave new meaning to the term "stick figure." I found it amusing and generally entertaining at first, but, the more I read, the more I realized just how shallow the whole concept was. With little additional Ultraheroes material available, I wouldn't be surprised if this were the last we ever saw of the creation.