These qualities have engraved this series in my heart, twenty-plus years after its last episode. I have watched as fans clamored for a reboot since reboots became widespread. We’ve gotten a comic series, which has done well, but no official reboot. Darkwing references have appeared in the now-cancelled Infinity video game series. The new DuckTales series has made a few references to DW, but we’ve still not gotten a reboot—or even a Blu-Ray/official streaming release of the original series. I mean, I want to give you my money, Disney, and I’m not the only one.
On its surface, Darkwing Duck looks and feels like nothing more than a parody of Batman—except with a suburban Joe Everyman (Everyduck?) running amok and stopping villainous fiends from taking over the city of St. Canard. First of all, if you think that, you’re wrong. It’s more of a parody of The Shadow than just a straight Batman spoof. I apologize for sounding like a know-it-all, but the series is near and dear to me. I grew up on Disney Afternoon cartoons and, as such, I probably know more than I should about these series. On an additional personal level, my mom and I bonded over the show. Third of all, the series is so much more than just a superhero duck.
The series, at its heart, is equal parts family drama, slapstick awesomeness, and pop culture references. For example, the debut episode revolves around Drake Mallard (Darkwing’s alter-ego) fighting crime and taking in an orphan who has a bit of distrust issues. This is all while we get allusions to the aforementioned Golden Age comic series, gas guns and other wacky gadgets, and a bevy of “did they really just reference that?” moments. Furthermore, it was dark. Not “Tommy Oliver getting gutted like a fish” dark, but still outright darker than most of the Disney series fare prior to.
In other words, it’d fit right in with today’s family-centric cartoons. With the reboot of DuckTales doing well, you’d think that more people (besides millennials) would want to check out this somewhat-forgotten series. I mean, you’ve got ducks fighting evil and cracking quips like a Marvel movie. The kid characters aren’t completely useless; they aid Darkwing more than a little bit. Plus, Launchpad McQuack is DW’s sidekick, even though DuckTales and DW take place in different universes (talk about crossovers).
On top of that, Drake Mallard is kind of a glory hog (at times). Sure, he means well in his duties. He’s even an amazing dad. However, he also strives to be famous for his deeds. He’s a pretty complex—and human—character. I mean, we all like a bit of praise for our actions, sometimes to our detriment. It’s human nature to want recognition for duties completed. This isn’t always played for laughs, either.
Speed on the Beat
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