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Imagine my excitement when Ryan Fons, who was helping Buena Vista promote the new Darkwing Duck DVD set, offered to send me a copy free of charge in exchange for promoting the DVD and giving it a review, which you are now reading. I jumped at the offer. Unfortunately, between watching the whole DVD, moving into a new apartment, and attending college, this review was going to take a while in coming. But it’s finally here!
First of all, the episodes. The Darkwing Duck series is just as funny and imaginative a series as I or any other old Darkwing fan can remember. Newcomer fans won’t be disappointed, either. Creative episodes with witty dialogue, coupled with the heart that goes into classic Disney animation, make many of the episodes in this collection unforgettable. Darkwing, Gosalyn, and Launchpad do not fail to steal the scenes and make us go on as much of an emotional trip as they make us laugh. We feel what they feel, which is a key many Disney Afternoon cartoons had that made them so popular.
The following episodes can be found on Disc 1:
This first disc features plenty of Quackerjack and Negaduck, so fans of these two villains should probably check out this disc first. One of the episodes, “Whiffle While You Work,” is actually Quackerjack’s first written episode. Another “first episode” to be found here is “Dry Hard,” featuring The Liquidator, who can also be found with the rest of the Fearsome Five in “Life, The Negaverse, and Everything.” “All’s Fahrenheit in Love and War” is a rare treat, as it features a villain who was only used once, Isis Vanderchill. For you Morgana fans, check out “Ghoul of My Dreams,” the Halloween episode.
Disc 2 contains these episodes:
“Heavy Mental” is a great episode because it features a trio of villains who were only used once: F.O.W.L. agents Major Synapse, Flygirl, and Hotshot. It’s also recurring character Dr. Sara Bellum’s first written episode. “Planet of the Capes” is the second episode to feature Comet Guy, whose first episode was the last one featured in the previous DVD set. “Darkwing Doubloon” is yet another Fearsome Five episode, also featuring the Justice Ducks team (minus Morgana). “Twitching Channels” is wonderful because it takes Darkwing into “our” world, where Darkwing Duck is a cartoon star—though Darkwing complains we keep drawing his beak wrong. Gosalyn and Honker take on the heroes’ role in “Dances with Bigfoot,” and “Twin Beaks” brings us a delightful parody of the hit TV series “Twin Peaks.” This disc is perfect for you Bushroot fans out there, seeing how he is featured in “Darkwing Doubloon,” “Twin Beaks,” “The Incredible Bulk,” and the Christmas special, “It’s a Wonderful Leaf.”
Disc 3 contains the following episodes:
Morgana fans will get a kick out of the first two episodes on this disc. The first is the Valentine’s Day special, which includes a running gag featuring love potion… and you won’t believe who falls in love with who! “Dead Duck” is a more serious episode, and contains the first appearance of Beelzebub / Lucifer—yes, the devil himself meets Darkwing Duck, and so does St. Peter, and the Grim Reaper! “A Duck By Any Other Name” is a must-see, as it is incredibly well-written and well-animated. I also highly recommend “In Like Blunt,” not only for its great animation and writing, but for one-time characters Derek Blunt and Phineas Sharp, and for many villain guest appearances, including ones by villains from DuckTales! “Quack of Ages,” “Time and Punishment,” and “Stressed to Kill” are good for you Quackerjack fans; and if you want a taste of Steelbeak and maybe see Agent Gryzlikoff get some spotlight, check out “The Darkwing Squad.”
Now, everything with a pro has a con, so allow me to point out the only couple of problems I have with this DVD collection: in some of the episodes, a few shots have greater contrast in color than the rest of the cartoon, and it looks very much out of place. Also, I am unimpressed with the layout of the episode menus. They’re not very creative and are very dull in color. And though I must say the artwork for the box and the disc cases are much better than the first DVD set, some of the artwork for the disc covers are goofy-looking, whether due to strange drawing styles or coloring mistakes.
For the most part, however, this second set of Darkwing Duck DVDs is must-have for anybody who loves Darkwing, the Disney Afternoon, or Disney in general. In fact, anyone with an appreciation for cartoons should enjoy this. If you’re a harsh cartoon critic who doesn’t appreciate Disney-style animation or stories, this collection isn’t for you, but bear in mind that Darkwing Duck is not your average Disney cartoon. It’s more like Disney with a bit of Warner Bros. mixed in. It’s heartfelt and emotional at times, yet at other times it manages to be wacky and slapstick. Watch just one episode and you may agree: Darkwing is one of the most original cartoons we’ve ever had, or probably will have for a long time. Own a copy today. There is no option!
The Author Says: Why yes, I am biased! Thanks for noticing! But seriously, this is a great DVD collection. Get it, watch it, you'll love it.
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