Friday, September 17, 2010

Comics Review: DONALD DUCK AND FRIENDS #358 (September 2010, Boom! Kids)

"The exciting conclusion to the fan-favorite [DOUBLE DUCK] saga," my pinfeathered white... Seriously, Boom!istas, do you really believe that you're going to fool anyone into thinking that "Total Reset Button" is "the final DOUBLE DUCK arc"?!? Yes, the story (or, rather, the nine-page fag-end of same -- see my review of #357) "ends" with Donald zapping ex-Agency head Felino Felinys back into happy obliviousness and using some trickery to keep Jana Smirnov and her goons from spiriting Felinys' repressed memories away in the "TRB" device. It's a nice reminder that Double Duck Donald has, more often than not, displayed a refreshing competence in the pursuit of his duties. But in the last several panels, we learn that the assassins who are after Double D (remember them?) are still very much at large AND are in a position to track Donald with relative ease. You can't simply slap a "THE END" logo on that "stinger" and walk away with a smug smile. I'd even have settled for a "Stay Tuned for Future Adventures" announcement. It would have been frustratingly vague, but at least it would have admitted that, no, the DOUBLE DUCK saga really isn't over, we're just putting it on hold for a while. The way that the sidelining of DOUBLE DUCK was handled is, quite frankly, an insult to the reader's intelligence. A real shame, too, for these stories weren't half bad.

"Bugged Duck" took away at least a portion of my pain with a funny, rousing climax that wouldn't have been out of place in an (unaccountably decent) Quack Pack episode. The tale of double- and triple-dealing skulduggery is rather more cynical that you'd even expect a Donald-vs.-Nephews free-for-all to be, with its two "Men in Black" on the make and a surprise ending that's meant to be -- and is -- more than a bit unsettling. Writers Laura and Mark Shaw even throw in an obscure DuckTales reference for good measure. The real star of the show, however, is artist Flemming Andersen, who does wonders with panel design (check out the "flow-of-action" special on the next-to-last page!) and facial expressions. I stand by my previous contention that DD&F should have wrapped up the DOUBLE DUCK material in #357 (without trying to pull a fast one, of course) and run this story complete in #358 as a "transition tale." The page counts might not have complied with Boom!'s S.O.P., but I would have preferred paying a little extra for a few more pages to the highly unsatisfactory solution that we got here.

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