In part two of "Worldwide Rescue," Boom!'s RESCUE RANGERS creative team one-ups its splashy debut -- and shows considerable guts, besides, given its stated concerns about satisfying the Rangers' demanding fan base -- by boldly striding directly into the midst of territory normally staked out by and quarreled over solely by C&DRR fans... namely, the area of character backstory. Then, the proverbial rug is just as boldly jerked out from under the readers' feet with a shocking/poignant moment that is a match for some of the better "character-building" episodes of the TV series. You'd better believe that this merits some
I figured that we had a good chance of seeing Foxglove here, given that "Brazilian bats" were among the animals affected by the misuse of the Animal Rescue Signal, but I didn't expect that she would be in a pre-adventure flashback... and I doubly didn't expect that Foxy's "retired" father Eaglewood would be among the "possessed" bats. How fortunate, indeed, that the Brazilian portion of the A.R.S. "Super Key" just happened to be in Eaglewood's cave. But no sooner were we introduced to a character that the most elaborate fan "explanation" of Foxy's past claims shouldn't even exist than poor Eaglewood was -- apparently -- "done fer" at the hands of a nefarious human rainforest-wrecker. Chip's comforting of a shocked Dale in the wake of the tragedy more than made up for all the griping and irritability that the Rangers' hard-headed leader has displayed up to now. Eaglewood's fate certainly leaves open the door for Foxy to formally join the Rangers in a mission of "revenge," but that is small comfort. I give writer Ian Brill all the credit in the world for being brave enough to set something like this before us so early in the life of this title.
We get another surprising development when Monterey Jack, seeing how the "possessed" bats were able to stop the humans from their deep-woods depredations, argues in favor of allowing whoever has activated the A.R.S. to continue doing what they are doing, even though it goes against what his old mate Geegaw would have wanted. This is definitely in character coming from a bloke who frequently rushes into things without thinking, but Monty's stated reason for his opinion -- that the "possessed" animals are enjoying a chance at adventure -- strikes me as weak. I would have bought Monty arguing in favor of the animals defending themselves from harm or even getting revenge, but surely even he can recognize the difference between having a true adventure and being manipulated into doing things one doesn't want to do. Monty changes his mind after witnessing the "possessed" Eaglewood's fate, but the original reasoning seemed to be a far too convenient excuse for Monty and Chip to get into yet another argument. I think that Brill could have handled this a bit more artfully. He could also have done more with the Pi-Rats, whose sudden appearance at the end of C&DRR #1 winds up leading to... not so much. The Pi-Rats get knocked out by the Rangers and that's it? It's not even clear why Fat Cat chose the Pi-Rats, of all critters, to "mind-control" and run up against the Rangers. The Rangers, after all, have established that they can handle the bantam buccaneers if it comes to that.
Fat Cat continues to be the only apparent villain behind the shanghai'ing of the A.R.S., and he seems to be channeling The Phantom Blot with his atypical desire to use psychological warfare on the Rangers ("I want the world to crumble around [the Rangers]... and they have no power to stop it!"). He has finally gotten a clue and is trying to exploit the Rangers' commitment to helping others in order to break them mentally. I call that progress, of a sort.
Brill's writing may have been a little uneven here, but Leonel Castellani's art continues to be drop-dead gorgeous. Colorist Jake Myler also merits plaudits for the beautiful light-and-shadow effects when the Rangers are in the bats' cave. DARKWING DUCK set a very high standard indeed for Boom!'s TV-based comics, but C&DRR is thus far outpacing it by a fairly decent margin.