DuckTales is done. BOO-HOO! Paget Brewster has decided, however, it’s getting a fourth season. As the Drunk History GOAT, I believe her. It was hard to write this review because just about everything this reboot does pleases me. There’s not much to criticize. My reviews of the first two seasons already highlighted the elements that work. So there’s not much new to write by the time it got to season three. It’s such a great series, however, that it still deserved a write-up for the final season. I finally got around to rewarding voter demands!
This review is late because I had to wait until the seventh & final installment of This Duckburg Life to be released. (Video pivoted to podcast.) This isn’t too late if you waited until it reached Disney+ to watch it. At least we still have two more seasons of The Owl House to look forward to. Now I have absorbed all the 2017 DuckTales … except the comic books & EPCOT game. So SPOILERS for everything but them inbound! As in my Doom Patrol season two recap, most of them are just sort of random observations!
The first season was about the past highlighting Dewey, the second was the present featuring Louie, & the final season focuses on the future with Huey. (Nephew names in Europe can be confusing.) It has a good balance of resolution & open-endings. Arguably there should’ve been a fourth season about Webby, but the entire series could be viewed as her spotlight.
“Double-O-Duck in You Only Crash Twice!” introduces Rescue Rangers, does not explain how they made their clothes. So did they use normal-sized sewing machine or a rodent-sized one? The world demands answers! (The Gadget Hackwrench Cult or Gadgetology celebrates her birthday on March 15. In the new Rescue Rangers movie, our lord & savior Gadget Hackwrench ought be portrayed by her human avatar, Simone Giertz! )There’s no Fat cat though. It compensates with the most poignant James Bond/”Flowers For Algernon” mash-up. Does this skeeball math check out?
“The Phantom & The Sorceress” could’ve been “The DuckCraft.” Magica ate Violet’s garlic necklace so she’d be vulnerable to vampires because she is 100% that swamp witch. The Phantom Blot is vengefully anti-magic instead of the magical goo I expected.
Penumbra is a lunar lesbian. Violet Sabrewing is a real bird & her dads are Ty & Indy. Storkules fans may be dismayed that Donald makes a go of it with his canon love interest, Daisy Duck. (Is Duck a confusingly common surname?)
The Darkwing Duck double header was funtastic! Stephanie Beatriz’s Gosalyn Waddlemyer complements Chris Diamantopoulos as Drake Mallard wonderfully. I’m a bit disappointed DW’s rogues didn’t get to remain in this reality. The creepy version of Bushroot was inspired by “Twin Beaks.” (Special Agent Kale Cooper should’ve been a joke in that.) Zan Owlson upgrade to Mayor of St. Canard. Bonkers the bobcat cop cameos.
Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg are producing a Darkwing Duck series for D+? That makes a lot more sense now that I know this series is ending. We still don’t know whether it’ll be in continuity with DT 2017 or not. I wouldn’t mind if they kept the voice actors & character models regardless.
FOWL (Fiendish Organization of World Larceny) was originally called OWL (Organization for World Larceny) before Black Heron added the F for flair. Bradford Buzzard founded it because he wanted to halt the world’s chaos by stealing all the weirdness & disposing of it. He hated being the grandson of Isabella Finch that was forced to go on her adventures as the first Junior Woodchuck! Bradford Buzzard is a great dark mirror to neurotic Huey. (Flintheart Glomgold is a mash-up of Dewey’s narcissism & Louie’s avarice.)
Istanbird not Swanstantinople has more canine & feline furries than most places. (Bradford refers to it as Istanboar in the finale?)
Captain Yellow Beak was from the first Carl Barks comic. Does DuckTales count as a comic book show? Fantomallard is way less murdery than Fantomas & Fantomex.
We finally learn what Santa Claus did! He cut Scrooge out of a potentially lucrative partnership to make it a charity. Much like Stonstanstil in Hilda, Christmas has been reinterpreted as fully secular. (Santa Claus origin stories that don’t reference St. Nicholas could be their own sub-genre.) So they could just call it Giftmas.
Does Gandra Dee have nostrils or beak studs? They really lean into Mark Beaks being pathetic with no original ideas, which nearly justifies his existence. Glomgold, Ma Beagle, & Magica get flashback origins in the equivalent of BTAS’ “Trial.” I still would’ve liked more spotlight on them.
I get what they were going for, but I didn’t care for adult Cloud Kicker being discount Launchpad. It needed more Molly Cunningham! Further TaleSpin plans that would’ve provided context were set aside. (I don’t know if I like this Don Karnage not being the original.) It did have Wuzzles & body horror though.
They also wanted to do a Lupin III with Robin Hood’s descendants. I don’t know why they didn’t get clearance since the gratuitous “live action” Robin Hood remake is still in pre-production. At least they got to do anime homage in “Astro BOYD.”
The series finale is three episodes combined. Scrooge paid full price for Webby’s birthday party as a cover for a surprise spy raid! It turns out that Webbigail Vanderquack is actually Project 87/April, a clone of Scrooge rescued from FOWL by Mrs. Beakly. (Or maybe she’s just his secret shamebaby?) Fowl later used one of Webby’s feathers & the Stone Of What Was to create two clones of her, May & June. (The other half of Garfunkel & Oates, Rikki Lindhome, plays May) Upon learning this, Scrooge acknowledges her as his direct heiress. So Webby gets her wish to be part of the McDuck family. This does undermine the found family theme of the series though.
Don Karnage got upgraded to a FOWL member & now flies the EGRT. Della turned her prosthetic leg into an axe to lop off a henchman’s arm! Bradford Buzzard’s power-up armor from The Sword of Swanstantine looks great. “Family is the greatest adventure of all!” is a loophole that both does & doesn’t make perfect sense. (Sharks are Glomgold’s family.)
The finale has nearly everyone, many of whom get something to do. Manny was a secret Gargoyles joke this whole time! He also has Twitter. Others like Goldie are unfortunately just silent cameos. The last scene leading into the final credits featuring new animation of everyone falling out of the Sunchaser was perfection, but this bit would’ve made it extra perfect! .
I guess the rest of Phat Mojo’s toys aren’t being made. Here’s a custom Della Duck. Of course Funko’s Disney Afternoon line was even less thorough since they weren’t Pops. You can get perfect classic Darkwing Duck Q-Fig & a Beast Kingdom DW though.
Here are all seven This Duckburg Life podcast episodes in one big serving. They work because there are less action sequences to imagine. (The reboot not having mine cart chases is the oddest complaint I’ve heard, especially when the set pieces of the original series are still viewable on Disney+.) I guess Disney could always commission additional audio-only seasons as they cost effectively cut out the animation middleman. Why is it illegal to train sharks as butlers?
Flora & Ulysses, featuring the four main duck kids in real life, is an odd movie. Is the book like this too? It’s definitely not a Squirrel Girl adaptation.
So thus ends the DuckTales reboot, which is much better than the average reboot. That puts it in the rarefied company of Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated, the CGI TMNT, Spectacular Spider-Man, Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: the Animated Series, Wolverine & The X-Men, Batman: The Brave & the Bold, The CW’s The Flash, Gotham, Netflix’s She-Ra & The Princesses Of Power, Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Justice League Action!, & Battlestar Galactica. (That’s a longer list than I expected. Does this undermine the notion that reboots are usually bad?) This is much like The Venture Brothers but in a less derivative manner than Harley Quinn. (The Venture Brothers is getting a wrap-up movie!) You know it’s a great series when its worst episodes are highly enjoyable on rewatch. I’m glad it ended on a high note, but it also left me wanting more. Huge kudos to showrunners Matt Youngberg & Frank Angones, the animation team that gave us Scrooge’s GITD skeleton costume, & the superb cast! Woo-oo!
Hopefully I’ll be more punctual with my Black Lightning series finale review!