Thursday, February 10, 2011

Comics Review: CHIP AND DALE'S RESCUE RANGERS #3 (February 2011, Boom! Studios)

Oh dear... the Ranger Plane's bleach bottle has sprung a leak; the Ranger Wing's batteries have run down in mid-air; some fanfic writer really IS out to get Gadget. RESCUE RANGERS #3 is almost shockingly substandard, bearing all the earmarks of having been a rush job. Read some of the gory details after the...

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About all that is accomplished here is to postpone the inevitable climax of "Worldwide Rescue"-- the Rangers' showdown with Animal Rescue Signal manipulator Fat Cat -- for a few dozen pages. We don't even get the satisfaction of seeing Chip use his famed deductive abilities to dope out the culprit; we instead jump straight from Chip's observation that the A.R.S. has never been turned on the Rangers themselves to Chip's conclusion that "Mr. Fat" is behind it all. Most of the book is taken up by a dialogue-free sequence in which A.R.S.-addled polar bears attack an American research station at the North Pole, only to be thwarted by Gadget's quick thinking and what can only be described as "the power of nice" projected through the medium of Zipper. Honestly, I thought for a brief moment that a Care Bears episode had broken out. It's always nice to see the frequently overlooked Zipper enjoy a moment of heroism, but this business struck me as a classic example of forcing sentiment into a story, rather than letting it flow naturally from the characters themselves. Even Gadget's pep talk to Zipper -- "I know you'll be wonderful" -- seemed more than a bit like a second-hand imitation of Quiverwing Duck's heartfelt farewell to Gosalyn at the end of "Crisis on Infinite Darkwings." Writer Ian Brill can't be "Koonce-and-Wiemering" us and swiping from himself, can he?

What relatively little meaningful inter-Rangers dialogue exists here takes the unappetizing form of an indigestible wad of exposition that Monterey Jack deposits in Gadget's lap -- something about Geegaw having hoped that Gadget would redeem Geegaw's involvement in the building of the A.R.S. somewhere down the road. Monty's description of Geegaw as being addicted to "figures and algorithms" completely flies in the face of even what little we do know about Gadget's flying father -- considering his longtime partnership with Monty, I always visualized Geegaw as a much smaller version of Tale Spin's Baloo. And hoping that Gadget may someday put the A.R.S. to good use is one of the biggest cases of wishful thinking that I can recall. I don't doubt that that's what will happen in some fashion in part four, but Geegaw makes Pollyanna look like a piker here.

The biggest shock of the ish isn't Brill's writing; it's the sudden deterioration in Leonel Castellani's hitherto pristine artwork. The figure drawing gets noticeably cruder as the pages are turned. The only reason I can think of is that Castellani was under time pressure to get the work done. Perhaps I'm wrong, and Castellani's pencils were mangled by an uncredited inker, but I really am wondering what happened here. Hopefully both artist and writer will be back in form in C&DRR #4, but to see such a sudden drop-off in quality so soon in the title's history is worrisome.

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