Sunday, December 26, 2010

Comics Review: WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES #714 (December 2010, Boom! Kids)

We're sittin' on 714, with the 70th anniversary issue of WDC&S due next month. If we are fated not to have any new Casty material for a while, then at least the much-praised creator improved on the disappointing "Mickey Mouse and the Orbiting Nightmare" with the enjoyable, albeit somewhat frothy, "Mickey Mouse and the Menace from the Future." It turns out that I correctly called the true nature of Goofy and the Bubblebrains' "Purple Rain Punch," but Pete's role in the affair was not expected, nor did I foresee Special Agent Uma's complete lack of a direct connection to Mickey. Given Uma's physical looks and scrappiness, I was certain that she would be some sort of descendant of The Mouse. Then again, with our heroes having straightened out the Mouseton of 2049, we don't even know whether a Special Agent Uma will need to exist in the altered future, so perhaps she should count her blessings that she had a hand in creating a future where her presence would be required. (But why would she not be used to "positive reinforcement"? Wouldn't her superiors sending her on a mission that could alter the future of Mouseton signify a certain amount of basic trust in her abilities?)

Casty would have been well advised to have worked on this tale's backstory just a bit more. Why would the Mouseton conquered by "The Grim Gagagoofy" have experienced such a universal "great leap forward" in technology, even unto possessing the secret of time travel? I would think that "The Grim One" would have wanted to limit the development of bubble cities, "omnidisks," etc. so as to maintain the upper hand over the populace. It's not even clear how "The Grim One" managed to assemble the tech to create a robot army in the first place. I suspect that the tech may have been stolen from some other source (Gyro Gearloose? I certainly hope not, for his sake). David Gerstein does another fine job with the dialogue; there are fewer pop-culture gags but a couple of "wink-wink" references (such as the characters entering "The Ladder District") that help us to remember that the story is not meant to be taken all that seriously.

The three-page filler story "Pluto at the Beach" (WDC&S #177, June 1955) is an odd choice in view of the fact that it is completely "out of season" for a comic with a December cover date. In fact, apart from the inclusion of "Christmas Cheers" as a backup story in UNCLE $CROOGE #398, Boom!'s Disney books let the holiday season pass without comment. Between this and the lack of holiday movies this year, do we have reason to be worried? Hopefully, Boom! will top off its "classics"-heavy slate of 2011 releases the right way and bring back some sort of special Christmas release a year from now.

No comments: