Friday, October 21, 2011

Comics Review: DARKWING DUCK #17 (October 2011, kaboom!)

Reading DARKWING #17 is like watching a baseball player hitting a dramatic homer... only to trip and fall on third base. For two-thirds of its length, part two of "Dangerous Currency" is a delight, giving us the inter-character byplay that was so conspicuous by its absence in DT #5 -- and it's high-quality banter, to boot. Then we get, in rapid succession: (1) a truly bizarre out-of-character comment from Darkwing (granted, it's delivered under some duress, but still); (2) the admittedly hilarious, but logically off-the-wall, "drop-in" of a nearly forgotten DuckTales cast member; (3) a factual goof to rival DT #5's "revelation" that Drake and Fenton don't know each other. I still give the ish a "thumbs up" on balance, but the overall arc to date a grade of "Marginal"... mainly because I don't know whether the good points or the factual flubs will wind up tipping the scales.

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The kids' dialogue in the early stages is GREAT. I've always wondered how Gosalyn and HD&L, those two (or, technically, four) wonderful exemplars of youthful proactivity, would react to one another if they ever got together. As impressive as the Nephews' track record is, Gos is a phenomenon, to quote (with a wince) Gil Mack in "Jungle Fun," "like which they never have heard." Huey's reaction, "Never seen a girl do something like that before. I... liked it!" was a true spit-take moment, not least because it was so believable. It also stands to reason that Gos would know something about HD&L's adventures thanks to her friendship with Launchpad, so her baiting the boys into trying to get a sample of The Phantom Blot's "evil ink/slime" wasn't simply a shot in the dark. Webby then gets a shining moment when she calls Gos out on not helping HD&L ("You seem to like getting your hands dirty...") and implicitly defends the Nephews for at least trying to get the sample. Add on Honker's obligatory creation of a "miracle" (a high-tech dowsing rod made from scrap? Has he been channeling Gadget?), which produces a near-swoon from Webby and legit admiration from the other kids, and you have a superb example of what this storyline ought to be emphasizing... wild action as rendered by James Silvani, yes, but with ample helpings of "Heart" and character.

The adults' palaver -- at least most of it -- ain't bad either. Scrooge reacts in humorous deadpan fashion to his immersion in the wild world of St. Canard ("Oh, good... I was worried when something weird didn't happen for a couple of seconds"). Launchpad realizes that he may have to choose between past and former "masters." The villains get some brief but effective verbal "love," as Bushroot asks the obvious question -- what does The Blot want with St. Canard, anyway? -- and the "Fearsome Five-minus-The-Most-Important-One" and the "League of Eve-il" begin to craft their own shadowy agendas. Best of all, DW is far more in imperious character than he ever was in DT #5... at least, until Fenton/Gizmoduck appears (OUT OF NOWHERE, but I've come to expect that in this title), the "slime" turns Gizmo into a monster, and DW is on the verge of being choked by the ravening "roboccountant." What the frag is DW talking about when he says that Fenton/Gizmo "seemed to have it all, yet always acted so humbly"?! Even worse, that DW wishes he could be the same way?! It's bad enough that St. Canard has been turned into a monster citadel, now pod creatures are invading as well...

The emergency airlift of Mrs. Crackshell was such a funny "you gotta be kidding me!" moment that I originally didn't fully process Mrs. C.'s comment to Fenton/Gizmo: "So that was YOU gallivanting around in that tin can?" I thought she was only referring to the present predicament until I realized the awful truth, that this was another dreadful continuity gaffe. *Grumble grumble*, someone really needs to watch "Super DuckTales" and educate themselves. And I was so loving this issue, too. Even the transformation of HD&L and Honker into "famous monsters of Disney filmdom" seemed a bit suspicious after that, in the sense that all other characters who "got dirty" were transformed into amped-up versions of themselves (though The Liquidator has actually had powers over hot and cold water ever since his origin episode "Dry Hard"), while HD&L were completely "made over" into Chernabog, Monstro, and Maleficent (dragon version). Can you blame me for being a little antsy about the permanence of DW #17's uptick in quality?

BTW, props to Sabrina Alberghetti for a charming Cover B that manages to trump even Silvani's Cover A!

3 comments:

Faster, Harder, More Challenging GeoX said...

Sheesh--is there a single Ducktales episode featuring Mrs. Crackshell that doesn't make it obvious that she knows about her son's alter-ego? Looks to me as though Boom's rushing to push this stuff out under the wire, but even so, you wouldn't expect this kind of tomfoolery to slip by.

Chris Barat said...

Geo,

BOTH of the big gaffes in "Dangerous Currency" are really bothersome-- the Mrs. Crackshell thing for the reason you mention, and the Drake-Fenton one because, well, watching the episodes featuring Drake/DW and Fenton/Gizmoduck would have been the FIRST thing I did if I were preparing to write such a crossover. What gaffes are headed our way in the last two issues, I wonder?

Chris

Sabrina Alberghetti said...

Thank you! :)