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In the city of St. Canard, the people are plagued by the most bizarre criminals, but they have a protector as well, Darkwing Duck. This bumbling and egotistical superhero battles evil in that fair city with the help of his dumb pilot sidekick, Launchpad McQuack and his rambunctious adopted daughter, Gosalyn. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This show represents the ultimate regret that I failed to tape more shows from the halcyon days when the cartoons were kings. I taped all of two episodes from that show and blindly placed my trust that the tradition of great cartooning would continue for me to enjoy even as an adult.
Now those cartoons are replaced by cable-channel reruns, cheap Japanese imports, or superfluous morning news programs, and I'm left with the slowly fading memories of those shows.
But the one show that refuses to be forgotten because of it's uniqueness and charm is the one, the only Dark-weeeeeng Duck!
I've heard of superheros who got into the business in order to defend truth, justice and - well, you know the rest.
I've heard of superheros who were inspired to do so because of some life-changing trauma they've experienced at the hands of a criminal.
But a superhero who gets his kicks because of an ego streak?
That's Darkwing Duck for you: the daring, death-defying duck-billed defender of the denizens against the evil forces of darkness, doom and any other grandiloquent alliterations that looks good in a comic book panel. Heck, who needs a comic book when you have a vainglorious vigilante who constantly provides his own narration - even while making breakfast (if he can achieve that in one piece!)
This setup makes for perhaps the most satisfying half-hour of superhero-based animation I have ever experienced. Sure, Superman, Batman, the G.I. Joes and other conventional heros in this genre are all good and well, but they are as never as full-rounded as Darkwing Duck. Those other heroes can be so. . .so. . .morally, ethically and methodically impeccable in such a way that it gets boring after a while. Hell, I frequently find myself rooting for the bad guys just so those darn boy scouts will be revealed as, well, HUMAN.
Not so with DW. The show successfully lampoons all those other superhero show by having Darkwing encompass pretty much all of the antihero qualities you aren't supposed to occur in a conventional animated superhero. He's obstinant, short sighted, short-tempered, impetuous, arrogant, imperious, clumsy to the point that recalls Inspector Clouseau. Did I forget to mention the "ego the size of a small planet"? At times, these traits get so in the way of his crimefighting that it becomes difficult to tell the "hero" apart from the villain.
When you think about it, the idea that superheros can constantly save the day without developing a severe ego streak is ridiculous on its face. So it's should be logical that that should happen in this case, especially when you are dealing with a character who tries deperately to compensate for his lack of actual superpowers.
We all know that in the end, even when he seems overwhelmed by his negatives, his positive attributes will eventually win over and help him defeat the villain du jour. When he's at his best, he really is daring, ingenious, resourceful and kindhearted to boot.
Darkwing/Drake Mallard's adopted daughter Gosalyn provides the heart needed for this show, plus she provides a worthy counterpart to DW's more explosive personality. She is also independent minded, hot-tempered and careless, yet at the bottom very sweet. Launchpad, besides providing a bridge to that other popular duckbilled show, makes up for his simpleminded ways with his unwavering loyalty to DW.
If there's a failing for this show, it would be the fact that since it's a children's show it can get peurile at times (plus it leaves me starving for more violence). But I won't hold that against them and give it the sterling accolades it deserves.
**** out of ****
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