Friday, March 4, 2011

#9: A Crisis on Infinite Darkwings

I am certain now.  I'm not alone on this island.  I know not whether my companion is friend or foe, but I shall know soon enough.  I intend find him, before he finds me.

Before I go though, I shall begin the first of my "Nine Old Lists".  This is a series of lists, named for Walt's Nine Old Men; his go-to guys for animation.  Not all of these lists will be animation related, but they will all be Disney Related, and since my main focus in the Wonderful World of Disney is animation, they will be mostly animation related lists.

List # 9: My top 9 favorite Alternate Darkwing Ducks in "The Crisis on Infinite Darkwings".

I mentioned in my first post how much I adored the Disney Afternoon, and how much I loved that Chip N' Dale's Rescue Rangers and Darkwing Duck had come back in comic form.  Since that first post, a Ducktales comic has been announced that's supposed to share continuity with the Darkwing Comics.  Not sure how that will work, but since it's being written by Warren Spector of "Epic Mickey".  I have HIGH hopes for this series, and will soon start collecting it.

But that's not what this list is about.

THIS is what this list is about.  The "Crisis on Infinite Darkwings" arc of the comic series.

The arc just finished up and BOY OH BOY was it good.  I'll try not to spoil too much for you guys, but the BEST part of the 4 issue story-arc was the various "Infinite Darkwings" running around.  They had just about EVERY possible Darkwing Variation running around except the kitchen sink!

I stand corrected.  They even had the Kitchen Sink Darkwing.

Seriously, they have everything!?!

Okay...what about...Harry Potter and Indiana Jones!  Ha!  Bet they don't have that!


Iron man?  

Yeah, I'm going to quit while I'm behind.

Seriously though, this was great storyline, and an awesome plot.  Plus there was the extra fun of playing "Where's Waldo" with all the Darkwings on every page!


Seriously though, there were TONS of fun Darkwings on every page, and many of them were just plain awesome.  From Zorro Darkwing, to the Shadow Darkwing (Funny since DW is a parody of the Shadow) to Gandalf Darkwing, to the Bowling Ball Darkwing.  (I kid you not)

Even the Bowling Ball Darkwing is confused by the fact that there's a Bowling Ball Darkwing!

So...for this list, I'm going to list my top nine FAVORITE Darkwings of the Multiverse.  Get ready, because here they come!:


Navi'i Darkwing:

It's no secret to anyone who knows me, that I HATE James Cameron's Avatar.  Word of his pixelated little "epic" reached even my ears.  And my God was I bored!  Sure, it was filled with beautiful animation, and as a Disney Wizard, I couldn't help but enjoy the marvels of that animation, which would not have existed without my namesake.  But the plot was SO predictable, that once I had seen the first five minutes of the movie...I had pretty much seen the whole thing.  Seriously.  If you want to know the plot, I'll give you a hint:

And at least Pocahontas had a saving grace: the fun-loving antics of Meeko the Raccoon (seriously, my favorite character in that movie, and possibly the most developed!) and the fantastic voice work of Jim Cummings, Frank Welker, David Ogden Stires, and Mel Gibson.  Not that Zoe Saldana and whats-his-face did BAD jobs voice acting, but they certainly didn't put the same effort that was put in Pocahontas.  Which remains today one of my (but not my absolute) least favorite Disney Films.

Why do I love Nav'ii Darkwing so much then?  Because he's so...interesting looking.  I LOVED thinking about St. Pandoranard, about all the Parody-of-Avatar options he brings to the table.  And then there's the fact that he has a beak.  The love story of Avatar would have been SO much more interesting if the "Big Blue Smurfy-Cats had beaks and were just a little less...humanoid looking.  I mean...

Look at her!  She's frigging gorgeous.  Oooh...I fell in love with a cat-like Smurf, but it's okay because she's hot.  The love story was absolutely BORING.  Now if she'd been a little less human...say they'd given her a duck-like beak...then THAT could have been interesting, and would have made a boring movie more enjoyable.
 I actually consider Nav'ii Darkwing to be the one good thing that came of JC Avatar.  Hooray!


Calvin Darkwing:

 I am forever a fan of Bill Watterson and Calvin and Hobbes.  And so (it seems) is  James Silvani, the artist behind "Crisis on Infinite Darkwings".  This 6-year old tyke with the active imagination got me through some tough times as a kid.  With his duplicator/time machine/cerebral enhance-a-tron/transmogrifier/cardboard box, his talking tiger buddy who's always a stuffed animal around other people, and his cute neighbor-who-he-clearly-doesn't-have-a-crush-on Susie Derkins.

Who couldn't resist an homage to one of the greatest comic strip characters of all time.

The best part for me?:  Calvin Darkwing's Mask is the same color as the Stupendous Man (Calvin's Superhero Alter Ego) mask.  A nice little touch there by colorist Andrew Dalhouse.


Rorschach Darkwing: 

I recently read Alan Moore's "Watchmen" for the first time and Rorschach ended up being my favorite character.  It was really fun to think about the "WatchDucks" world that Rorschach Darkwing came from.  I mentally cast Launchpad as Nite Owl, Feathers Galore as Silk Specter, Gyro Gearloose as Dr. Mouseton (Dr. Manhattan) and Scrooge McDuck as Ozymandias.  Ultimately though...Rorschach Darkwing may just be the darkest and most disturbing Darkwing Variant.  Unless his universe is like "The Saturday Morning Watchmen".

Rorschach Darkwing is dark and sad, because one of the things that I realized after I had mentally cast Launchpad and co in their various roles in the Watchducks Universe, was that there was only one place for Gosalyn.  Issue #8, the final part of the "Crisis" establishes that EVERY Darkwing has a Gosalyn that he loves, cares about, and has affected his life in a major way.  Considering Rorschach's life in the Canon Watchmen Universe, there's only one role that Gosalyn fits in Rorschach DW's life...and that's very sad, dark, and disturbing.  This made a one-shot gag/shout out character a very deep and meaningful character to me, and I immediately latched on to Rorschach Darkwing.  For better or for worse.


The Darkwing Doubloon:
After the dark seriousness that is Rorschach Darkwing, it's fun to get a nice, FUN crazy Darkwing on this list.  Darkwing Doubloon actually first appeared in a "What if/Elseworlds" style episode of the original TV series.  A privateer and "Scourge of the Seven Seas" Doubloon took on pirate variations of NegaDuck* Bushroot, Liquidator, Quackerjack, and Megavolt.

Armed with a sword and a crew consisting of Launchpad, Gosalyn, Stegmutt, and Gizmoduck (A nifty conquistador/pirate version) Darkwing Doubloon was one of the MOST fun episodes of the original series.  So it's interesting to see him here.  He has exactly one line in the comic: 
 But he appears in the background more than any other Alternate Darkwing save the ones with major speaking roles.  It's easy to imagine this Darkwing as a skilled pirate and a great leader.  Particularly since he comes swinging in at the end of issue #8 alongside another Darkwing Variant that I'll get to later.


Sherlock Holmes Darkwing:

He is the Crime, that is anything but elementary!

As a self-proclaimed Sherlock Holmes aficionado, This is another Darkwing that I just had a ball mentally casting his universe.  With Launchpad as Watson, (an interesting dynamic, since the book Watson was actually quite smart, he just paled compare to Holmes, LP on the other hand is...not so bright) Morgana MaCawber as Irene Adler, Chief Agent Grizzlykoff as Lestrade, and Taurus Bulba as Moriarty.  Fun fun fun!  I actually see his universe as a combination of the Canon Holmes, and the Great Mouse Detective.  With the events of that movie more or less taking place (Moriaty/Bulba in place of Ratigan) but on a less-mousey level.  Gosalyn is Olivia Flaversham, and Sherlock adopts her at the end of the case just as he did in canon.  These universes are FUN to think about, seriously.


My God, if any Darkwing Alternate deserves a higher place on my list it's him.  I really is.  Talk about a villain made of sheer awesomeness.  Negsy is the Negaverse version of Darkwing Duck.  He's frigging AWESOME!  In my personal opinion, he's the second or third most badass villain in the whole Disney Canon (with Demona and Maleficent beating him out, I'll make a 9 favorite villains list later, to determine his exact spot)

He's evil, he's insane, he's clever, he can scare Liquidator and Bushroot with a chainsaw (and they can't be killed by a chainsaw)  He really should be higher up on the list, and if I could somehow make him higher on the list, then I would.  The three remaining Darkwings beat him out by a hair's length.  I have justifications for their higher spots, and I hope ol' Negsy can forgive me (I know how he feels about coming in #2 to Dr. Slug)  But just in case, I'm going to be checking my home for dynamite after this blog is published.

Oh, I forgot to mention that he gave us a great cameo of Goliath, and since Gargoyles is my favorite show of all time, that definitely deserves a mention.


DarkWarrior Duck:

One night, Gosalyn Mallard disappeared from Darkwing Duck's life.  Something in him snapped that night.  He thought that she ran away because he would take her crime fighting with him (She really ended up getting dragged to the future via a time machine)  He felt he wasn't tough enough on crime, and so became the insanely murderous DarkWarrior Duck.  This guy is off-the-charts-bat-crap-crazy.  He puts jaywalkers on death row.  And he REALLY hates those guys who tear the tags off mattresses.  He's also cold, calculating, tough, and smart.  He terrifies Megavolt and Quackerjack, who are normally too INSANE to be scared of anything.

Why does he beat out NegaDuck on this list?  Simple.  He killed NegaDuck.  That takes some mad skills, as NegaDuck has proven near impossible to defeat.  Negaduck has been frozen in place and sucked into the universal void and come out unscathed.  But this guy drops an anvil on him (and a plethora of other rogues at the same time) and Negsy is toast.  Dang!  This guy was near unstoppable.  Even in the episode, he made short work of Megavolt and Quackerjack.  The ONLY thing that stopped him was the fact that even in his core, he couldn't bring himself to hurt Gosalyn (she really is the Heart of Darkwing Duck)  While she had him wrestling with his conscience, Launchpad hit DarkWarrior over the head with a frying pan.  Any other circumstance, and DarkWarrior would PWN.  This guy is the literal unstoppable force.


Quiverwing Duck:

Unstoppable force, meet Immovable object.

The Quiverwing Quack was a superhero identity that Gosalyn sometimes adopted when she wanted to go out super-heroing like her dad.  She was swift, skilled with a bow and arrow, and stole the glory from Darkwing Duck.  Naturally, he hated when she did that.  Not just for the danger...but also for the publicity that she took.  

Turns out that DW had a point.  In another universe, Quiverwing Quack and Darkwing Duck fought side by side as a dynamic duo super-hero crimefighting team.  Until one fateful night, Gosalyn had to make "The Ultimate Sacrifice".  In her honor, DW dropped the moniker Darkwing Duck, and forever became, Quiverwing Duck.

I cannot get enough of this guy!  He's friggin AWESOME.  I mean seriously.  I can't even begin to show my praise for possibly James Silvani and Ian Brill's greatest contribution to the Darkwing Duck Mythos.  Seriously, you HAVE to pick up issues #5-8 to truly GET how amazingly awesome Quiverwing is.  Why did he beat out the unstoppable DarkWarrior Duck?  In addition to dealing with his loss of Gosalyn in a MUCH healthier way, by honoring her memory instead of perverting it.  Quiverwing did what NONE of the characters in the show could do.  He took DarkWarrior down.  While facing him head-on, with no distractions.  And the fight was very one-sided.  Don't take my word for it though...see for yourself: (Spoiler Alert!)

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the sheer awesomeness that is Quiverwing Duck.  This event was what cemented him in my mind as one of my favorite Darkwings and #2 on this list.  Not to mention that he rallied the other Darkwings to fight NegaPaddy, came up with the solution for defeating Paddywhack, and all around kicked MAJOR butt in all four issues, he is the Arrow that never misses its Target, he is Quiverwing Duck!

And the #1 Darkwing Duck is:

Darkwing Prime:
Darkwing Prime: 

The daring Duck of Mystery, the master of surprise.  Without him, NONE of the other uber-cool Darkwings such as NegaDuck, DarkWarrior, and Quiverwing could exist.  He is the source Darkwing.  In fact, NegaDuck's plan didn't even make sense to me until DarkWarrior called Darkwing "Darkwing Prime"  Then, suddenly everything clicked.
In Turtles Forever, the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles team up with the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to stop the 2003 Shredder from destroying "Turtle Prime" (the original Mirage Comics) and erasing the turtle multiverse.  Suddenly, Negsy's plan made sense to me.  Intentionally or not, it seemed as though he was doing EXACTLY what the 2003 Shredder was doing.  Trying to destroy Darkwing Prime, and thus wiping out the Darkwings of the multiverse.  Would that have taken NegaDuck with them?...Maybe.  If the thought crossed NegaDuck's mind--like 2003 Shredder--he probably didn't care.  Or saw HIMSELF as the original, and that Prime just branched off from him.  And my interpretation seems to make sense to me.  But of course, everyone has their own opinions.  

There you have it, the first of my "Nine Old Lists".  Stay tuned for more!

Arctorius Yensid,

Disney Wizard.

A special thanks to Vaporshi of for providing me with some of the pictures needed to create this list.  Thank you so, SO much.