Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes - Posts Tagged "darkwing-duck"

Darkwing Duck, Vol. 1: The Duck Knight ReturnsDarkwing Duck, Vol. 1: The Duck Knight Returns by Ian Brill

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

: "Daring duck mystery, champion of the right, swoops down from the shadows, darkwing owns the night..."
If you grew up watching the Disney Afternoon like I did, you know the rest. Darkwing Duck, the legendary crimefighter of St. Canard bravely fought evil and crime of all sorts from 1991-95. After his initial run in the Disney Afternoon, he had two thirteen episode seasons on ABC's Saturday Morning.

The show was influential on me and my writing for two reasons. First was it's focus on combining the superhero and comedy elements with an eye towards parody. The second was introducing a family life in the superhero with the responsibility of raising an adopted daughter.

So when I found out that Boom Studios made a sequel graphic novel bringing the Darkwing Duck universe back after more than a decade, my interest was piqued, so I picked up The Duck Knight Returns

The plot finds Darkwing in retirement living exclusively as Drake Mallard and being a cog in the giant machine of Quackwerks that runs St. Canard and employees all its citizens.

However, something suspicious is going on. When his daughter Goslin's best friend Honker Muddlefoot is arrested for having downloaded music (which Goslin affirms on behalf of the Walt Disney Corporation is wrong but not worthy of cruel imprisonment), Darkwing goes back into action in time to see that his four biggest rivals (minus Negaduck) are also getting back into the swing of things with Bushroot, Megavolt, the Liquidator, and Quackerjack ready to wreak havoc. This looks like a job for Darkwing Duck.

The book which collects the first four issues of Boom's Darkwing Duck Comic strikes a perfect balance. It's clearly geared towards kids but also towards fans of the original series who have grown up. It explores themes of compromise, growing older, and has a bit of a cyberpunk feel to it without getting too heavy for younger readers. It recaptures the characters and fun of the series perfectly while having the right amount of serious moments to make it more than a trip down memory lane.

It's adorned with colorful art and lots of bonus cover art that makes it a visually stimulating read.

In addition, the book offers some interesting text in the back with some background on how the original series came about that true fans love. The series was originally began as "Double O Duck" but changed radically to resemble a Silver Age superhero show. It still held onto some of the original Bond-elements with Darkwing's battles for SHUSH against F.O.W.L. (The Fiendish Organ for World Larceny.)

It was interesting to learn about because it always seemed like Darkwing Duck had two different types of adventures. There were his battles with FOWL and his battles with Fiendish Five (either solo or together) and related supervillains and never the twain met.

Anyway, it was a very satisfying blast from the past.

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Published on December 13, 2013 18:46 • 102 views • Tags: darkwing-duck
There's so much that's so memorable about Darkwing Duck from the theme song, to his dramatic entrances, "I am the terror that flaps in the night..." that it's a standout in this genre.

Originally conceived of as a send up of spy stories called Double O duck, Disney changed its mind and Darkwing Duck instead became a send up superheroes.

The writers based their stories on their experience reading silver age comics, so Darkwing Duck had a whole 1960s Batman feel to it at times. They'd also do silver age stuff with imagining Darkwing and Negaduck having ancestors who battled each other during the pirate era, or having an imaginary origin of Darkwing told by a maybe ghost of Darkwing who was masquerading as a janitor in a museum in the land of the Jetsons. (Like I said silver age.)

He had a fun rogues gallery filled with great characters such as Quackerjack, Megavolt, Negaduck, the Liquidator, Reginald Bushroot, and Taurus Bulba. The show also retained some of the spy stuff with Darkwing serving part time as an agent of SHUSH and often going toe-to-toe with Agent Steelbeak.

However, beyond it's humor and great villains, the series also had a serious side. Darkwing in his secret identity of Drake Mallard adopted the rambunctious Gosalyn and serves as a single father. Trying to love and care for a child on his own, and unlike Batman with Robin, he tries to keep her away from crimefighting with limited success.

Darkwing has his share of faults including his massive ego and as a parent, he can be controlling and sometimes smothering. Most episodes teach a solid (and usually unforced moral message).

If the series has a weakness, it's that Darkwing Duck's primary power is that he's a cartoon character. who rather than dying when you drop something heaving on him, flattens like a pancake or goes up and down like an accordion. This makes the perils Darkwing in harder to take serious than the death traps of the 1966 Batman TV show. Still, this is definitely one of the bests.
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Published on March 09, 2014 12:32 • 178 views • Tags: darkwing-duck
Darkwing Duck Campaign CarnageDarkwing Duck Campaign Carnage by Ian Brill

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book collects Issues 13-16 of the Boom Studios Darkwing Duck Series as well as the only Annual for the Comic.

The Annual has two stories that stand apart from the interconnected story told in Issues 13-16.

In, "Toy With Me," toy-based supervillain Quackerjack is back and he's a far darker villain with a new and far darker version of his puppet sidekick Mr. Banana Brain. In my opinion, this story was very reminiscent of the very first Boom Studio Darkwing Duck story, "The Duck Knight Returns." It was this rare story that had a lot of kids stuff, but also some more profound mature concepts about originality, accomplishment, and choosing who we're going to be. It also could be seen as a bit of a commentary on darker comics. Darkwing Duck is at his most heroic and the end of the story is poignant. Just a great story.

The shorter Annual story, "The Untimely Terror of the Time Turtle," was written by show creator Tad Jones and was just a delightful time travel romp.

As for, "Campaign Carnage," the titular four issue story features Darkwing facing a stream of new supervillains and then deciding to run for Mayor against a City Councilwoman and before you know it, his friend and sidekick Launchpad launches his campaign with hopes of allowing Darkwing to continue to be a superhero.

The story isn't profound or anything, but it's a lot of fun. It also hints at some nefarious goings on that will be addressed and resolved i the upcoming crossover story. Overall, this book lived up to high standards of the previous all ages Darkwing Duck series and I highly recommend it.

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Published on July 16, 2014 18:39 • 108 views • Tags: darkwing-duck
Darkwing Duck / Ducktales: Dangerous CurrencyDarkwing Duck / Ducktales: Dangerous Currency by Ian Brill

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book collects the final two issues of Boom Studios Dark Wing Duck and Duck Tales comics. Dangerous Currency seeks to do a lot of things including being a crossover between Darkwing Duck and Duck Tales, tie up all the loose ends in the Darkwing Duck series (none really remained from the poorly written Duck Tales series), and fill in a few plot holes (i.e. how did Gizmo Duck's suit end up in St. Canard and whatever happened to Fenton Crackwell.) The book succeeded all counts, but the results don't live up to the high standards of the prior Darkwing Duck comics.

There are too many characters running around and we really lose track of everyone other than Darkwing and Scrooge in the adventure. The whole plot doesn't seem ideal for this sort of legendary team up with the enemy being slime. The big reveal about Agent 44 in the final issue was disappointing. The way Darkwing defeats the baddie is also a bit weak and contrived. The whole story seems very rushed.

Still, the story does have good moments, particularly when Scrooge and Darwking grab a moment to talk in the midst of the madness. The best moment for that is when Darkwing insists that he has a domestic life (which Goslin is part of) and a superhero life where he 's on his own. Scrooge will have none of it and tells him, "No, you have a life." Beyond this, if they aren't well-developed, it's great to see so many great childhood favorites in this book. There were some good ideas in the plot. They just needed a lot more time to develop them like six issues instead of four, but this may have been due to the expiration of Boom Stuidos license with Disney.

In the end, Boom did the best they could. They gave us a team up that people waited two decades for. It's just unfortunate, they couldn't given us a longer and better developed story.

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Published on October 04, 2014 21:35 • 195 views • Tags: darkwing-duck, duck-tales
Darkwing Duck: Orange is the New Purple (Comics Collection Vol. 1)Darkwing Duck: Orange is the New Purple by Aaron Sparrow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book collects the first four issues of the Joe Books Darkwing Duck series. The book kicks off with Darkwing catching Megavolt and the opening of a new prison which turns into a trap set by Negaduck which leaves Darkwing and Gosalyn trapped in prison with all of Darkwing's most dangerous foes. Negaduck gives Darkwing a head start and then it will be open season on him for his foes.

This turns into Darkwing and (to an extent) Gosalyn fighting his foes. It's a fun and nostalgic ride. It does let us know that for the Joe Books series everything Darkwing (including the TV series, the Boom Comic series, and even appearances in Disney Adventure are all in-continuity.)

The next issue is a one-shot, "A Midsummer Gnatmare" which has Darkwing introduced to a new villain: The Gnat. It's fun with a little bit of nostalgia and it feels like a typical Darkwing Duck episode.

Overall, this is a fun book. It's not quite as good as the Boom studios books, but it's an enjoyable piece of Darkwing Duck nostalgic.

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Published on July 26, 2017 04:23 • 78 views • Tags: darkwing-duck
Darkwing Duck Classics Vol. 1Darkwing Duck Classics Vol. 1 by Brian Swenlin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book collects the first and sadly only volume of Boom Studios' archived Darkwing Duck comics from the 1990s.

The first 100 pages collects the Darkwing Duck comic mini-series that is essentially the first two episodes of the TV show in Comic Book form. It's a really good adaptation of the TV episode, I'd almost go as far as to say it works better than the TV show. The plot finds Darkwing trying to make a name for himself and needs to battle a big supervillain and he collides with he bovine villainy of Taurus Bulba.

The comic explains how Darkwing met Goslin and Launchpad and just generally sets up the series. It's a faithful adaptation with only one detail changed that I could see. It's an intelligent adaptation because they find a way to translate some things which worked on TV that don't always easily translate to comics.

The rest of the book contains four Darkwing Duck strips from Disney Adventures magazine. These strips could be of varying lengths depending on whether they were the main story or a back up story. The quality of these varies quite a bit.

The first story, "Let's Get Fiscal" is about a FOWL accountant who has defected to SHUSH with a calculator that allows him to perform real-life calculations, multiplying, subtracting or dividing. The story is dumb and non-sensical, but thankfully only eight pages long.

Next is, "Liquid Diet" which finds the Liquidator released from prison and claiming to have gone straight while offering the public a popular new sports drink. Everyone thinks he's reformed, but Darkwing things otherwise. My favorite of these four stories. At 24 pages long, it feels like a lost episode.

In, "Turnabout is F.O.W.L. Play," Steelbeak has a ray that will turn Darkwing evil and it works, but Steelbeak learns the hard way to be careful what you wish for. Overall, a fun story even if the end is a bit of a copout.

In the final eight-pager, Darkwing is forced into a vacation when St. Canard goes through a bout of low crime. As is usual when Launchpad is flying, they fall out of the plane and find themselves in a mysterious jungle. A nice twist ending and a cute story.

Overall, this book is a lot of fun and it's a shame there's no plan to collect the other 31 Disney Adventures tales

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Published on June 27, 2018 16:44 • 129 views • Tags: 1990s-comics, boom-studios, darkwing-duck

Christians and Superheroes

Adam Graham
I'm a Christian who writes superhero fiction (some parody and some serious.)

On this blog, we'll take a look at:

1) Superhero stories
2) Issues of faith in relation to Superhero stories
3) Writing Superhe
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