Now, I don't usually offer such bald, bad opinions of comics, movies, or anything else. I can usually mine something worthwhile out of any pop-culture dross that interests me. But DT #3 is SO badly put together that I'm forced to break my commandment in virtual self-defense. Where does the third chapter of the increasingly disastrous "Rightful Owners" fall short? Let us count the ways:
(1) Warren Spector still can't put a plot together to save his life. We finally get off the island of Rippon Taro -- that's one comfort -- and Scrooge gives the Candy-Striped Ruby back to King Fulla Cola. Now for a blitzkrieg of returns of Barksian artifacts all around the globe, correct? Not exactly. We close with Scrooge, HD&L, Webby, Farquardt, and Gladstone (huh?) traveling to return the Crown of Genghis Khan. Gluing the two strands together (does the proverbial "spit and baling wire" count as glue, I wonder?) is a return to Duckburg, during which Scrooge discovers that John D. Rockerduck has basically commandeered his museum, staffing it with Beagle Boys, no less. I have no earthly idea how Spector is going to pull all this together in part four, and possibly he doesn't know, either. But you can't tell me that the "return of artifacts" plot couldn't have been handled more cleverly, more artfully, or at a much sprightlier pace.
(2) After making such a big deal over his desire to meld the Barks, Rosa, DuckTales, and Darkwing Duck "universes" into one gigantic "heavenly hoagie" (there's my own spin on the Democrats' "talking point" of the day), Spector literally chortles right in our faces on page 14 for the sake of a dumb throwaway gag:
Launchpad: Aw gee, Mr. McDee, you've survived just fine while I've been over in St. Canard.
Webby: ...Speaking of St. Canard, how is it you're here with us instead of there? You can't be in two places at once, can you, Launchpad?
Launchpad: Of course I can't be in two places at once, Webby! That's just silly!
Okay, now... I would think that one of the FIRST things a writer trying to combine the DuckTales and Darkwing Duck worlds would do would be to establish a proper time line for Launchpad's departure from Duckburg for St. Canard and, if required, for Launchpad's subsequent return to Duckburg. Here, Spector simply punts the issue out of bounds. In this case, failing to make a clear decision on the matter was the WRONG decision. My hopes for a coherent DuckTales/Darkwing crossover story to end the kaboom! era just took a major hit.
(3) More old friends from DuckTales appear here, but, to anyone who's not at least reasonably familiar with the TV series, their appearances will be baffling in the extreme. Trying to escape from Rippon Taro, Camille Chameleon and her Beagle companions are picked up by Admiral Grimmitz's aircraft carrier. Sure enough, Grimmitz and "Seaman Donald Duck" are visible in the scene. Trouble is, they're visible ONLY in an extreme long shot, and you can only just make out the figures. The only way I could be absolutely sure it was Admiral Grimmitz was the character's comment about something "going kablooey." A little later, Cinnamon Teal from "Spies in Their Eyes" returns as an ally of Rockerduck's (let's pause while I shed a silent tear at her falling back into evil ways...) and hypnotizes Daisy and Gladstone, the latter so that he can go with Scrooge et al. and foul up their Genghis Khan mission in some manner. (Since we're on DuckTales turf here, if Gladstone succeeds, then shouldn't he lose his luck as a consequence? Why do I think that Spector won't address this?) Cinnamon, however, is never identified apart from her first name, so, if you haven't seen or don't remember "Spies in Their Eyes," you may not fully capiche what's going on. I do appreciate Spector's effort in reviving these folks, but couldn't he have tried to prime people's memories a bit?
(4) You already know that the joins between Jose Massaroli's artwork and that of Magic Eye Studios have been a problem in the previous issues. Here, the "gap" broadens into a chasm. After some reasonably passable art at the front of the book, we go straight into the tank with some of the worst art that I've ever seen in a contemporary Disney comic. Seriously, I'm amazed that it passed muster even for a soon-to-fold comics line. Some of the most elementary rules of comic-panel staging are scattered to the four winds. For example, here's part of page 17:
What's with all the pointing to no purpose, anyway? And what's the point of Mr. Billups, the museum caretaker, appearing in the first panel just to stare into space? Adding insult to aesthetic injury, the bottom tier of this page (which I did not show) features art copied directly from panel two of page 14. Cost-cutting much?
Page 19 is even worse:
Gladstone is supposed to be hypnotized here, which at least partially explains that goony Super Duck look he's sporting. But the sketchy "airport" behind the Ducks makes the "blandness" of the work of the Jaime Diaz Studios look snazzy and with-it. And in the bottom two panels, Rockerduck is talking to "persons of hench" Billups and Cinnamon Teal, but it actually looks as though he's talking to thin air! Avoiding staging of this degree of ineptitude is elementary stuff, or should be.
The manifest failure of this title really pains me. It seems as if we are fated to NEVER have a totally adequate, totally faithful four-color version of DuckTales (Bob Langhans' "The Gold Odyssey" being the one arguable exception). kaboom!'s sorry effort is the unkindest cut of all, because of the yawning gap between what we were promised (An enthusiastic writer who really loves the Ducks! A magnificent artist!) and what we have been given. I'll hope for the best in the remaining handful of issues, including those devoted to the big crossover, but I've switched into "damage control" mode at this point.