Thursday, April 14, 2011

Comics Review: CHIP AND DALE'S RESCUE RANGERS #5 (April 2011, kaboom!)

For those of you (provided you actually exist) who wish the Rescue Rangers' "universe" were more like Darkwing Duck's, the new C&DRR story arc, premiering with this issue's "Stranger Danger," appears to be created with you in mind. A pack of Nega-Rangers tasked (by themselves or someone else, I don't know which yet) with "disposing" of the regular Rangers! A family of Muddlefoot-esque rodents! Mindless mayhem in the form of a jerry-built threshing machine that the "Danger Rangers" use to... er, thresh stuff! Bizarre gaggery with Gadget using Chip and Dale's "unique chipmunk ability" to cram loads of stuff into their cheek-pouches and create a giant wad of gum that stops the DR's monster machine dead in whatever tracks it was making! Things got so Darkwing-like, I made a special check... and, no, while Ian Brill is still writing this book, James Silvani has not begun to draw it (though he does provide the "B" cover to the issue). Instead, Leonel Castellani draws the first three pages before giving way to someone named Ricardo Garcia. I'm not ready to ask for Garcia's head to be brought to me... yet. The characters tend to lunge on- and off-model, but, on balance, Garcia's work isn't too terrible. I do hope that Castellani returns quickly, however.

The brutal simplicity of "Stranger Danger"'s plot -- Danger Rangers cause mayhem with an infernal device, several Rescue Rangers (Monty and Zipper) are imperiled as a result, Gadget tinkers her way to a rescue -- leaves plenty of "wiggle room" for asking all kinds of irritating questions about where, exactly, this arc will go. Why are the DRs bent on "disposing" of our heroes? (That point isn't even entirely clear; the Gadget-equivalent, a dark-haired mouse chick with rings in her ears, seems to be more interested in meeting Gadget than mashing her. Likewise, the "Monty-dark," a muscular tortoise named Orgo, seems quite pleased to watch Monty in action... before trying to slice him to bits, that is.) Since the DRs evidently know where the RRs hang out -- they wouldn't have started on their attention-grabbing joyride in this neck of the park besides -- why didn't they simply find out where the RRs live and zero in on them? Or is the whole point behind their name that, while our Rangers exist to help people in trouble, the DRs exist to get people into trouble, even as a side effect? That would definitely be a Negaduck-style twist. In contrast to "Worldwide Rescue," where the reassembling of the Super Key was made the focal point from the start, this story could literally go in any direction. It'll be interesting to see where Brill takes it.

As for the aforementioned Muddlefoot types -- to wit, sports supplies (for rodents?) salesman Ed Burrowgood and his vacation-seeking nuclear family, complete with wide-eyed tot and slacker son -- they are brought on stage primarily to serve as an excuse for two con-artist rats, who will evidently be the Chip and Dale placeholders of the DRs, to make fools of the real C&D by making the latter look bad. This business was actually reasonably funny, despite the obvious attempt to stretch the Darkwing parallels too far. The only negative was that the rats behaved pretty much the same, whereas the pair really should consist of distinct types. Perhaps a further elaboration of their characterizations will be provided in future installments.

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