By Sam King
Duck Tales #9 is another generally stand-alone issue containing two episodic stories. It is based on the new animated series reboot that is being aired on Disney Channel and Disney XD. While not creating any long-term stories thus far, it is still a fun one for general fans of the show and characters. At some point, I would like to see at least one longer arc or some more tie-ins to the actual show, but this is not that point. The series is very good for casual readers to pick up and dig into with just curiosity since it is not fully reliant on having watched every episode to date.
Issue #9 has two new stories. While the first mentions a previous issue, the overall story doesn’t require knowledge of any of the former issues, just the main characters. Even then, a full knowledge of them doesn’t seem necessary since predominant characteristics of each are obvious, such as Donald’s tendency to be a worrier and Scrooge McDuck being a big-time adventurer facing the dread of aging and lessening energy. The first story highlights Scrooge’s need to feel youthful, allowing him access to a time machine that also provides the time traveler with youth. Scrooge gets to be his younger self for a bit, in a new adventure that is very short lived. The time spent in the past doesn’t last long, as Scrooge quickly realizes what the risks of being there could be. The second story pits Donald and Scrooge’s differing perspectives of family outings against one another. Scrooge thinks his family needs adventure and Donald thinks they should be playing it a lot safer, but an encounter with Ma Beagle and her Beagle Boy sons allows the two to remember some their old adventures together and semi-reconcile their differences.
This is a lesson learned kind of issue, instead of a straight up adventure like some of the others. The first story also feels incredibly short, which is a bit of a disappointment. While learning lessons about family and yourself is great, I feel like it could’ve been done better with a more enjoyable story with a solid adventure. This felt like a glimpse of something that we will never get and it is the weakest adventure Scrooge has had to date, in my opinion, despite being such a feel-good story. This issue’s theme is family, and it is really heartwarming, but I honestly think these lessons could be imparted with a better opening story. The second one is more realized and fun, with a full arc that is satisfying. It provides adventure AND positive emotions, in a much more balanced way, like the show does. The regular cover shows a bit of the first story, but not really, as it captures a flashback adventure that is shown to start with and not the main adventure. The cover is awesome, but slightly deceiving, since it made me think that the McDucks were going to go encounter some sharks in the ocean and have an underwater quest. That was a disappointment for me and it might be the same for kids who might think they are getting something different and slightly more fun than they actually are.
The art is the same as it has been since issue #1, mirroring the animated series. While it is still good and the kids will still enjoy it, I think this is the weakest issue to date. I think this is one that will be hit or miss, depending on a person’s enjoyment of the show and story preferences. If you really like the characters and don’t mind some ebb and flow, this will be fine. If you are solely there for the adventure and expect the same high energy the show has provided, the first story will be highly lacking. If you can get passed it, or don’t mind a little change of pace from the norm (or you just like seeing Scrooge more than the kids), this one is perfectly fine. If your kids are reading it and they mainly want Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby adventuring, skip it.