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DuckTales #1

Posted: Tuesday, May 24, 2011
By: Rafael Gaitan

Warren Spector
Leonel Castellani, Jose Massaroli, Magic Eye Studios, Braden Lamb (c)
BOOM! Studios
ADVANCE REVIEW! DuckTales #1 will come out on May 25, 2011.

As a child of the '90s, I was raised by television. Some of my most vivid childhood memories are of piling on my Grandmother’s couch with a bowl of cereal, ready to be entertained by the antics of anthropomorphic animals. When I heard that BOOM! was publishing a DuckTales ongoing -- one of my favorites growing up -- I was excited. But this isn’t about to become a heartwarming nostalgia trip (cue obnoxious guitar sting) -- far from it. BOOM!’s track record speaks for itself, so the expectation for DuckTales was quite high. As a fan, I was excited to see if they’d be able to maintain the show’s distinct sense of humor and kinetic pace, and it was much relief to find out they’d hit the mark.

Written by Warren Spector -- yes, that Warren Fucking Spector, though he prefers "Evan" -- DuckTales is a quirky book that keeps the show’s voice intact while simultaneously feeling fresh and organic, feeling more like a continuing story than a relaunch. If you must question Spector’s pedigree, I’d kindly ask you to a) stifle, and b) recall that he wrote the acclaimed Epic Mickey game for the Wii, so he has demonstrated a familiarity and a knack for capturing Disney characters. I want to see J.C. Denton save Duckburg as well, but I’ll happily settle for Uncle Scrooge Scrooging it up.

And Scrooge it up he does! Issue #1 finds him and his nephews attending an exhibition of his collection of treasure. Scrooge enters the series after parachuting from a plane -- a cute nod to the eccentricities of Sir Richard Branson (the most duck-like of all human billionaires). There he's challenged by rival billionaire John Rockerduck at a game of face-saving. Rockerduck announces that he will be returning all of his collection artifacts to their rightful owners. Never one to be outdone, Scrooge pledges to do twice as much righting of wrongs.

Spector really gets to flex his comedic timing as well as his scope for stories -- this issue begins in Duckburg, but finds the cast boarding a steamship for adventure, with enough time to get a D&D game in (cleverly rebranded as Ducks and Danger, and also a touch of foreshadowing). All praise to Spector for resisting to Howard the Duck this joint too much -- when we get a duck pun, it’s a good ‘un. There are plenty of fun jokes to be had, including Huey’s explanation of where Scrooge found a dinosaur and how it “changed science forever,” and Spector displays a fabulous ease of plotting and a deft handle on the characters -- Webby sounds like Webby, Scrooge like Scrooge -- you can practically hear the voice actors in your head. There is no shortage of action events, though -- in the issue we begin with parachuting and have a plane crash, a dinosaur ranch, and dope flashback sequence -- and this is only #1!

Leonel Castellini, Jose Massaroli and Magic Eye Studios maintain the integrity of the original animation, but do a wonderful job of filling in the tiny background details that are so essential to the medium. The pencils are clean and fluid and very conducive to action. Any doubts that a cartoon wouldn’t translate to comics are readily quashed. Spector’s big ideas are expertly handled by this team, and their abilities help hammer home the punch lines and visual gags. Disney comics have no shortage of excellent artists, and these prove to be among the most vibrant and skilled of the bunch. They keep the structure and basic style of benchmark Disney artists like Don Rosa, Dan Jippes, and the God Artist Carl Barks while also giving the book a distinctly more modern look -- any panel could pass for a still from the series. Braden Lamb’s colors are elegant and fruitful, giving each panel and each page just the right look. The reds of Scrooge’s weird flap-shoe things, the cyan sky, the orange sunsets -- it’d all look gorgeous on its own, but Lamb makes the art shimmer.

BOOM! Studios’ Disney comics are some of the best being published today, and with the launch(pad McQuack) of DuckTales, they’re officially publishing three of the funniest and engaging titles on the all-ages market. Spector has proven himself a versatile creative mind, and DuckTales is gearing up to be a can’t-miss comic, for fans of the series and newly interested readers alike.



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