Monday, January 24, 2011

Comics Review: DARKWING DUCK #8 (January 2011, Boom! Studios)

Here come the Zulus!!!!



It's a good thing that there is no such (finite) number as infinity; otherwise, James Silvani would probably have taken the title "Crisis on Infinite Darkwings" literally and tried to draw that many DWs. For me, the "tipping point" was seeing a Linus Darkwing, complete with striped shirt, stringy hair, and lethally (I guess) wielded blanket. The guffaws came thick and fast after that, I can assure you. Picking out all the different pop-culture-spoofing DWs in this hyper-dense final issue of the arc is every bit as fun as playing Where's Waldo? (and, yes, there's one of those among the DW deluge, as well), so I'll leave ID'ing them all to you and move on.

It was inevitable that the visiting DWs and "Darkwing Prime" would be thrown together to cooperate in turning back the worst efforts of Negaduck, Magica, and Paddywhack, and writer Ian Brill shows great insight in letting Quiverwing Duck -- the DW who took over daughter Gosalyn's crime-fighting role when (as revealed in DW #7) the latter passed on -- be the first alternative DW to "break the spell" and regain his senses. It was QD who tracked the real DW to Drake Mallard's house and saw the portrait of Gosalyn and Drake together. Since the common DW trait of fealty to Gosalyn -- in whatever bizarre form she may take -- was, as Darth Vader might say, "very strong" in QD, it's not surprising that this encounter flipped his loyalty. It's fitting, too, that QD is the DW who gets to say a personal, and very heartfelt, goodbye to "Gosalyn Prime" when the adventure is over and the DWs are about to be sent back to their respective "universes." Even Darkwarrior Duck (who takes time out from the general mayhem to start corralling such relatively minor supervillains as Moliarty and Tuskernini, just on general principle) can appreciate the power of the emotions animating QD. Actually, that's no surprise if you remember how Darkwarrior came to be.

Once Magica's power is short-circuited and the DWs are "free to choose," the ish swings into free-for-all mode. Magica and Morgana turn out to be the only erstwhile antagonists to actively cooperate, and even that lasts only long enough for the giant Paddywhack/Negaduck "concurrence creature" to squash Magica flat, prompting Magica to retreat to the presumably safer pastime of old-fashioned solo assaults on Scrooge's Old #1 Dime. (I can't explain why Magica felt she needed to have Launchpad around in order to go Dime-hunting. It's not as if she doesn't know where Old #1 IS 99% of the time.)

The use of Megavolt's Tron-Splitter to break up the "not-so-beautiful blendship" of Negaduck and Paddywhack brings the whole "Negaduck story" full-circle, as it were. But where is/are Negaduck/s now? Probably in the same place where Negs wound up after Darkwing pulled out the "universal plug" in "Life, the Negaverse, and Everything." And how convenient it was for Launchpad to have Paddywhack's jack-in-the-box on hand for the crucial moment when the "positive vibes" thrown off by the Gosalyn-ogling DWs allowed Morgana to take Paddywhack out. If this story would have proven impossible to create in animated form -- and it would have, unless the animators had really strong wrists -- then it still carries within its genes the recognizable animated-DW "germ" of occasionally wobbly logic.

So Steelbeak and F.O.W.L. will be featured in the next arc. Hard to believe that that story could be any "bigger" than this one, although I suppose Egg Men could be drawn in something approaching an infinite number of sizes.

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