Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Comics Review: MICKEY MOUSE #306 (March 2011, Boom! Studios)

Yes, it's definitely "Recreate the Experiences of Disney Comics Publishers Past" Month at Boom! Right on the heels of DONALD DUCK #364's channeling of the spirit of "Gladstone II" comes this latest issue of MICKEY, which reads like nothing less than a "short-stack" edition of a Gemstone comic -- right down to its "bringing back" a visiting character who'll be a complete mystery to anyone who hasn't read her one previous appearance during the Gemstone era. Byron Erickson and Paco Rodriquez' "Catch as Cat Can" features the return of Katarina Kodorofsky, the sexy professional art thief (Inducks calls her a "spy," but that's a stretch) who unwillingly teamed up with The Mouse in WDC&S #687's "Claws of the Cat" (read my review of that first appearance here). We do get an "editorial box" alerting us to Katarina's origin story, but we're not told where the story can be found. (Query: Did Chris Meyer assume that readers would look this appearance up online and therefore didn't feel the need to state a specific issue?) More problematic is the fact that Mickey's ending quip to Minnie will literally make no sense to anyone who hasn't read "Claws," since it is a direct call-back to the conclusion of the earlier story. I appreciate Boom!'s interest in linking what it is presently doing to the work of previous publishers; I just wish that there were a slightly smoother way of doing so.

At the start of "Catch," Kat seems to have reverted to her "default setting" of mistrusting Mickey as an "amateur" art-crook-chaser, claiming that she needs his body rather than his mind (it's NOT what you think, OK?!). Not until we are well into the story do we learn the reason for Kat's unwilling request for assistance: Mickey's presence will help her cover for an embarrassing personal weakness. Or so she thinks. The criminal opposition (a crooked Egyptologist who's been stealing priceless Egyptian antiquities) is, as it turns out, less interesting than the intriguing relationship between Kat and Mickey, which is kneaded and rekneaded in line after line of dialogue. I like Kat because she is a very different sort of ally for Mickey -- a character who could very easily be an adversary if the tables were twisted slightly -- and it's a real shame that, at least according to Inducks, no further stories featuring her have been published. But I do wish Rodriquez would ditch the "poofy lips" once and for all. Perhaps we could send both Kat and Lotus Blossom to the Nip/Tuck guys before they come "on stage" again.

The backup GOOFY story, "Spaghetti and Goofballs," continues the Gemstone vibe by making strenuous efforts to ape one of the enjoyable Sarah Kinney Goof-tales that Gemstone favored us with. The tale even includes references to Doc Static and Goofy's "favorite cartoon critter," Flip the Fish, both of which became very familiar to American readers during the Gemstone era. Unfortunately, writer Maya Astrup is no Sarah Kinney. Apparently having concluded that Goofy's famed "eccentricity" is actually out-and-out insanity, Astrup presents a Goof who becomes obsessed with creating "stuck-together spaghetti" sculptures, to the point that he literally can't stop. Oh, and he cooks the spaghetti in a machine that he "doesn't know how to stop." Uh, what? This is simply too weird and contrived to be believable, even on what passes for "normal" Goofy terms. Goofy doesn't even sound right, speaking perfectly good Mousetonian English. Oh, well, not every Gemstone GOOFY story was a ten-strike, either... and the featured story is strong enough to make MM #306 an overall winner.


ramapith said...

I might disagree with you on how carried away Goofy can get at times—but that's a matter of opinion.

On the other hand, I know I'm indisputably right about one thing—the Goofy stories we published so many of at Gemstone were the work of Sarah Kinney, not Janet Gilbert. Gawrsh!

Chris Barat said...


Oops! I'll correct this instanter.

BTW, nice job on this week's DAISY story in WDC&S. Poor Daisy, little did she know that she was being passed a Donald script and turned into a "bump machine" for the duration!


ramapith said...

For me, "Coat of Harms" is one of the greatest Daisy stories ever—because Jippes and Milton finally dare ask the big questions. "Has Daisy ever thought twice about the way her peers induce her to treat Donald?" And more generally, "what do members gain from belonging to this club?"
In effect, Daisy is confronting the ugly truth that her club simultaneously draws power from—and is limited by—an extremely dated class consciousness (...and some gender roles, though they're less rigid than usual here). Powerful stuff.