You’re quackers if you haven’t been watching the new DuckTales! It premiered around my kitty’s fifth birthday, & she just celebrated her sixth. It shouldn’t take a year to air twenty-four episodes! (Why are so many cartoons still beset by shoddy scheduling?) DuckTales has been slightly quicker about unveiling its secrets than Gravity Falls, Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated, & The Venture Bothers. (Ooh, that’s back again with even more obscure continuity!) Now I’ll spoil those first season secrets! Or as I prefer to think of it, solving mysteries by rewriting history!
After dramatically breaking apart in the penultimate (or more accurately ante-penultimate) episode, the cast regrouped a bit too easily. I didn’t mind much since it was a forgone conclusion & the resulting action was epic. This series is pro-family propaganda! (When we get cartoons teaching us that both biological & chosen families are traps to be shunned at all costs?) Not only is his expansive family tree as convoluted as duck genitalia, Scrooge cursed his parents with immortality! Della Duck will return as a one woman Fantastic Four next season.
As fun as histrionic Magica De Spell is, it’s jarring not hearing her speak with an Italian accent. Why isn’t she in the title sequence? Her redesign is shades of Bellatrix Lestrange. Turning McDuck’s favorite treasure into ice cream & dropping it is the zenith of pettiness. She’s definitely the most intimidating of the series’ antagonists. Magica is given another reason for coveting Scrooge’s #1 Dime as it’s a receptacle for trapping ducks. When she oozes out of Lena’s eyes, she looks more like The Phantom Blot or Venom than a shadow.
Webbigail Vanderquack is smitten with the show’s best new character, Lena the beautiful idiot. (Unless she counts as an update of Minima De Spell?) Lena’s ruined amphitheater looks really cool but is probably not so much fun to actually squat in. I’m not sure whether her being a simulacrum of Magica is better or worse than her being a real duck possessed by her aunt’s shadow. Friendship really is magic, just like non-murder ponies told us! I’m disappointed she was “killed” so Dewey will be Webby’s remaining love interest, although maybe we haven’t seen the last of her. (She should team up with Supergirl’s Lena Luthor.)
Almost all of Duckburg contribute a cameo in the grand finale. Notably absent is Duckworth, who you’d expect would be most helpful since he’s already a ghost. Meanwhile Fenton Crackshell-Cabrera proves a hero even without his Gizmoduck armor by weaponizing Little Bulb. (Where’s Gizmoduck’s action figure, PhatMojo?) Dr. Gyro Gearloose is a borderline supervillain. I didn’t expect Manny the hybrid horse-statue to become a recurring character. I don’t think literal shadow boxing would be too effective, but “The Shadow War!” was a lot of exciting action nonetheless.
While Webby is the best revised character (as even my sister concurs), Uncle Scrooge McDuck is the best consistent one since he’s still a curmudgeonly miser. This series has finally given Huey, Dewey, & Louie distinct personalities to match their colors, although Dewey gets disproportionately more focus. Louie is best of the triplets because he wears green, avoids labor, & values his khopesh. Huey distracts Magica by asking her plot hole questions I was pondering!
Was Donald Duck invented as a Popeye expy? He was the most famous of the Disney ducks prior to the series, but he wasn’t in classic DuckTales much. Here he’s opposed to adventuring after what befell his sister. The finale shows, however, that he’s a secret badass. Now I need Warren Ellis to write an episode about Donald & Scrooge being mean old bastards! Don Cheadle voicing him would’ve been funnier if they hadn’t been hyping that up since SDCC. Since Storkules acts like Donald Duck’s clingy one night stand, do you suppose they’ll introduce Daisy Duck in season two to form a love triangle?
The reboot goes further with the Launchpad McQuack joke by making The Sunchaser’s instruments worthless. I love that Scrooge is too stingy to buy reputable equipment for his dubious pilot. I suppose he’s on payroll for still being a more reliable aviator than Steves Rogers & Trevor. He was so committed to crashing in the finale. I had the most trouble reconciling his new voice (aside from Magica) since the character previously starred in two series. His obsession with Darkwing Duck (he was the forerunner of LEGO Batman) is extremely relatable.
I love all the Darkwing Duck references & I have been assured there’s more to come. There’s a lot of intriguing ways they could take this. SHUSH has been introduced (along with FOWL & Gummi Bears), so maybe the show was made as a smokescreen to distract from its its most showboating agent’s antics. We could get some flashback missions with Mrs. Beakley the brickhouse grandma. (Was she the original Canardian Guardian?) Or they could pull a “Beware The Gray Ghost” by having Launchpad team up with the actor who played Drake Mallard. Either option could provide an opportunity for Webby to bond with an older Gosalyn. Or maybe the fictional DW could be transported to Duckburg from the cartoon in the cartoon like TMNT’s take on Wingnut & Screwloose. That could be a way to link Magica with Morgana Macawber. However they play it, they better remember Darkwing Duck is an alien who acquired teleportation powers from wresting a djinn. Hearing Jim Cummings voice him again is magical. Let’s get dangerous!
Speaking of crossovers with other Disney Afternoon cartoons, the new take on Don Karnage is spectacular! Scrooge McDuck being nonplussed by Don Karnage’s plant doctor disguise is everything I didn’t know I needed. (I’m nonplussed by the rampant misuse of nonplussed.) The only thing I dislike about him is his new hat because it obscures his rakish ears. The hat itself is also uninspired. Hopefully he will return next season for more musical piracy, perhaps bringing along more TaleSpin compatriots. Can they work in Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers too?
This new DuckTales is the best kind of reboot because it’s made by talented fans. It ties together various earlier incarnations as the backbone for its updates. You don’t need to catch all the references to enjoy it. The voice cast is superlative. It’s far superior to Quack Pack because ducks & humans should never coexist! Supposedly its sophomore season could start as early as this fall. Hopefully it won’t take an entire year to air all its episodes. WOO-OO!
I’d ordinarily caption a scene from the series, but DuckTales preemptively makes all the quips for me. So instead here’s a picture of some non-customized Star Wars toys. It’s on point because Disney owns them both now. (My “Disney” tag is pretty redundant at this point. Maybe I need a “WB” one to even things out?) Grand Moff Tarkin is a lot more fun to play with than expected, but Count Dooku is still needed to reenact Horror Express. I am convinced Imperial Royal Guard batons are actually karaoke microphones.
Is a Preacher season three overview next?