Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Duck Knight Returns - Comics From The Basement

He is the Terror The Flaps In The Night... He is the star of this week's comic book review and recommendation... He is Darkwing Duck!

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Hello and Welcome to Comics From The Basement...

He is the terror that flaps in the night... He is the hero that every culture in the world needs... he is Darkwing Duck!

From 1991 to 1992... The daring duck of mystery protected the residents of Saint Canard as part of the Disney Afternoon, a block of original animated programing that featured (for the most part) the best animated cartoons on Weekday afternoons.

Created by Tad Stones, Darkwing Duck followed the exploits of it's titled crime-fighting hero with the help of Launchpad McQuack (which helped tie this series to Duck Tales), battling villains such as Megavolt, QuackerJack, Steelebeak and NegaDuck. However Darkwing wasn't your typical superhero in terms of his mindset, he wanted to be a hero for the fame and glory. Sure he always did the right thing... but his motivations were rather ego driven, which instantly made him stand out a bit in addition to him being a duck.

Now of course Darkwing Duck had his own comic book series, namely a mini-series in 1991, that didn't lead to anything because Disney's Comics 'imploded' with a mass cancellation of a number of series and plans, however Darkwing Duck comic were printed in the Disney Adventures magazine... but it would be nearly 20 years before Saint Canard's greatest hero had an actual comic book run again

In the spring of 2010, Boom! Studio announced it was going to release a four issue mini-series, titled 'The Duck Knight Returns'... and of course that is what I'll be reviewing today. To clarify it's actually the the trade collection because going over four comics without giving spoilers would be rather difficult.

Plot: A year has passed since Darkwing Duck has last been seen, and St. Canard is now in the grip of a mega-corporation Quackwerks, which runs every single aspect of the city, from employing everyone to eliminating crime... however to support his daughter's Goslyn, education, DW takes up a mundane desk job... however when his Goslyn's best friend is assaulted and arrested unjustly, Darkwing Duck returns to action. -While my summary of the plot is very bare bones, that is the focus here, we learn over the course of the story what lead Darkwing to retire and how much he missed the action... and the spotlight. It perfectly captures the spirit of the show

Writer: Ian Brill, in addition to writing this mini-series, is also a editor for Boom! Studios... and the only thing I've read that he was associated with is the Hitman: Agent 47 prelude comic where he was the editor. That said, I think he did a wonderful on 'The Duck Knight Returns' capturing every character and progressing everyone's story while also doing what the original cartoon didn't do too much of, tie Darkwing Duck in with both Rescue Rangers and Duck Tales.

Artist: James Silvani... like with Mr. Brill, I'm not familiar with his other work, that said, he did an incredible job, from Darkwing to Launchpad... From Megavolt to Quackerjack... from the Thunderquack to the city Saint Canard herself... everything looks gorgeous. Of course I should say that Silvani did the pencils... Andrew Halhause did the coloring, so the credit goes two ways!

Positives: Where do I even start, great story, great artwork, character evolution for nearly everyone to show a year has past, in particular with the them that everyone is wanting things to go back to how things were, not just Darkwing himself, but his daughter and even his gallery of villains.

Negatives: I'm really stretching to find a negative here and it's the out of no-where inclusion of the Gismo-Duck suit as the 'solution' to the crisis within the story, particularly with how it's used. As I said, it's a stretch that this is a negative, but I had to find one.

Weirdness: One of Darkwing's reoccurring Villains was Quackerjack... sorta of a spoof on 'The Joker'... and much like how 'The Dark Knight' film made the Joker unnecessarily darker... 'The Duck Knight Returns' certainly gives Quackerjack a darker edge: savagely destroying a crime-bot, forcefully restraining Megavolt to use a power source for a vehicle... certainly high on Whiskey Tango Foxtrot factor when one reads the in-story motivation for it.

Recommendation: Since it's a trad collection, I highly recommend it, it collects all four chapters, includes the alternate covers, additional sketches from James Silvani and even the story behind the creation of Darkwing Duck from Tad Stones. Next week, It'll be a mini-March of the Titans... against the Justice League of America.

Additional Footage & Music Darkwing Duck Disney, 1991-1992

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