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May 25, 2011 / MojosWork

DuckTales #1

Rating: 1.5/5

Synopsis (via Comixology): DuckTales is back! The hit Disney Afternoon TV show makes a splash this month as an all-new, original ongoing comic book series! Written by the creator of the Epic Mickey video game, Warren Spector, and illustrated by the fan-favorite Disney duck artist Miquel Pujol, this is the latest and greatest of the Disney Afternoon Revolution that ‘might solve a mystery,’ but will definitely ‘rewrite history!’ Existing within the same continuity as BOOM!’s hit series Darkwing Duck, find out why ‘life is like a hurricane!’ Covers by Pujol and Leonel Castellani. (via me reading this book) Scrooge McDuck gets guilt trip and is subsequently tricked into giving away all the valuables he’s collected over the years, which will inevitably result in some adventure and criminal activity.

Writer: Warren Spector

Artist: Leonel Castellini, José Massaroli & Magic Eye Studios

Cover Price: $3.99

You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting for this book to debut. DuckTales was my favorite cartoon in the late 80s and early 90s that didn’t include regular swordplay or guns. I think I can trace my hearty interest in mythology and the premium I place on having crazy experiences thanks to this Disney series. (To think, skydiving naked was subconsciously inspired by Scrooge McDuck… and hey! He DOES go parachuting this issue!) The show was the original MMA: mystery, magic, adventure.

My ex-girlfriend, in her finest hour, even purchased the first season DVD set for my birthday a few years ago. I make it a habit to watch at least one episode each week. “Hotel Strangeduck” is easily my favorite of the bunch, but anything with Donald is also a treat, like “Sphinx for the Memories.” And that one even has time travel!

In a pleasant coincidence, I happen to wearing a red tee, blue jeans and green sandals today. I’m the 6’1″ amalgam of Huey, Dewey and Louie. (No, I don’t match at all.) If DuckTales was even half as good as Darkwing Duck or the Rescue Rangers, this would be one of those rare comics I wear the ink out on the ends of the pages from flipping through them so often.

Can you see where I’m going with this?

Major.

Letdown.

There’s a trio of covers (I picked up “B”), and all of them rock in their own way, but once you get inside, the art kinda rolls… as in rolls over and dies. (I’m waiting for my fish Magneto to perform this once-in-a-lifetime stunt any day now.)

This page 6 panel could have also made a nice cover.

I recognize Leonel Castellani’s art from the other Disney Afternoon books, and he nails it. It’s his cohorts, either José Massaroli and Magic Eye Studios (one, the other, or both, I can’t say for certain) who miss the mark, resulting in a visually uneven product. For someone who has grown up with only a sight-based, animated interpretation of these characters, it hurts to be unable to replicate that look. DuckTales #1 does not come close to carrying the traditional TV style for large swaths of the issue, and it sucks a lot of the life out of this decent introductory story.

AMAZING start to the book by Castellani.

Disappointing continuation of the art by not-Castellani.

I’m a little confused as to how Boom Studios, which has been top-notch in its handling of these properties, could drop the ball on this. Doesn’t the first issue of a new series deserve some consistency and a regular artist to see it through from page 1 to page done? I would prefer this book were delayed another six months if it meant getting the characters right.

I would have been content to see this comicbook pick up where the animated series left off – before jumping the shark and adding Bubba the caveman to the cast – with a simple premise of hunting down lost treasures, and running into baddies along the way. In a sense, Warren Spector (who does carry his weight as writer) gives the audience a spin on that motif here in #1, ironically titled “Many Happy Returns.” Ironic because Scrooge, who already has enough precious artifacts to fill a museum – literally, it’s his gallery opening of “The Scrooge McDuck Collection” that kicks off the story – has absolutely no desire to return them to their “rightful” owners when Webby asks him to. He’s further goaded – not coincidentally – by his doppleganger, a new-to-me-but-actually-a-main-rival-of-Scrooge-in-his-comics John D. Rockerduck. (McDuck, Rockerduck, Glomgold all in the same town? Must be good on property tax.)

There are a handful of these continuity references that TV fans like me won’t get, and other than the mild annoyance of not being in on the joke, they don’t hurt the flow. Spector does a good job of explaining Scrooge history, like the massive sugar fiend of a jellyfish that “saves” Webby from a certain, watery doom. (BUT SHE’S A DUCK! Let it go, people. Goofy and Pluto are both dogs, but one is a pet, the other is a bad neighbor.)

Uh... okay.

The thinly-veiled jokes I’ve come to expect in the other Disney books are still prevalent, like tribesmen named “Fulla Cola” and “Can Dew,” as well as the usual visual gags (The Philosopher’s Stone, a Dungeons & Dragons riff called Ducks & Danger) and random cameo appearances, such as Daisy Duck as a reporter, and of course, the Beagle Boys.

That Beagle cameo looks to be a full-fledged appearance next issue. I just hope I like what I see…

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One Comment

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  1. Donkiku / Jul 28 2011 4:53 pm

    I couldn’t agree more about the art going downhill after the first part of the issue. It just keeps getting worse too. I just picked up issue #3 and it’s so freaking disappointing. It must be magic Eye Studios that’s dropping the ball. Massaroli’s art seems OK basing myself on what little I could find about him on the Internet. He’s more old school too. The horribleness in these books are really hard to describe. Some panels seem to be just rough sketches. Others look like they were made by putting together a bunch of pre-existing art. I’m just glad (I’m really sad) that Boom’s killing the Disney Afternoon books after the DD/DT crossover…

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