Review: Darkwing Duck: The Duck Knight Returns
As a child growing up, my favorite time of the day on weekdays was when I got off the bus from school and went straight home. I would walk in the door just in time to start watching one of the best 2 hour blocks of animation programing that television had to offer in the early 90s, The Disney Afternoon.
The Disney Afternoon contained great shows like Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers,Duck Tales (A-Woo-Hoo!), and TaleSpin. But the one cartoon that was part of the block that I thought blew all the other one’s out of the water was Darkwing Duck. I can’t say what it was that drew me in, maybe it was the similarities to Batman, or maybe it was the humor, but I was hooked and I loved every minute of every Darkwing episode I watched.
Flash forward to now. I was really surprised to hear that BOOM! Studios picked up the rights to release a Darkwing Duck comic with with Ian Brill writing and James Silvani on the art. So this definitely went on the top my of list of things to check out.
A brief overview of Darkwing Duck for those not familiar with the series. Drake Mallard, everyday normal guy…er….duck by day, costumed hero at night. Joined by his sidekick, Launchpad McQuack (of Duck Talesfame), they keep their city of St. Canard safe from crime and terror.
The first installment of the new comic series, entitled The Duck Knight Returns (Even the cover to the first issue is parody/homage to Frank MIller’s Dark Knight Returns #1. And very fitting since Batman was a huge influence on the creation of Darkwing Duck), picks up off the premise that Darkwing Duck has retired due to robots who’ve all but replaced any form of law enforcement, dubbed crimebots. Drake Mallard is now stuck working a desk job at a corporation named Quackwerks. Through a twist of events, Mallard finds out that some interesting information on the crimebots and how they tie into his job at Qwakwerks(I can’t give away all the spoilers now, can I?). So, Darkwing comes out of retirement and reunites with sidekick, Launchpad for a brand new adventure.
Brill does a fantastic job writing the series. All of the old humor from the cartoon series is transfered to the comic with no problem. All of the puns on modern pop culture names and places like Starbucks/Starducks and Hannah Montana/Hannah Alaska as well as Darkwing’s witty banter of and many incarnations of his “I am the terror that flaps in the night. I am the __________________, I am Darkwing Duck” catchphrase. Brill not only does a great job of reintroducing Darkwing to the generation that grew up with him, but also at introducing him to a whole new generation of fans.
Silvani, who has worked on various Muppets books for BOOM! Studios, helms the art. As you’re reading and looking at the panels, it feels as if the cartoon has, quite literally, jumped right off the screen and into your hands. The art in this book is very faithful to the original and could not get any better.
This is a really fun book. The humor is fun and lighthearted but the action also gets kicking when it needs to. It’s a great read! Stay tuned for the next installment of the new Darkwing series, Darkwing Duck: Crisis on Infinite Darkwings.