DUCKTALES #0 embraces nostalgia, but refuses to rely on it by freshening up the story, characters, and art.
94 %
fun and fresh!

As many know, DUCKTALES was an animated television series that premiered in 1987. The cartoon primarily followed Scrooge McDuck and his three grandnephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie — though there were a handful of other important characters, like Donald Duck or Launchpad McQuack. Three different comic publishers — Gladstone, Disney, and Boom! — published comics based on the original series, but with the television reboot comes the new IDW preview of their tie-in series, DUCKTALES #0.

Each issue of the new series will contain two different stories, much like the 15-minute cartoon blocks on TV. In the preview, the first story is “Big Trouble at Little Lake.” In that tale, Donald has a job as a tour guide of Little Lake, but his nephews have big canoeing plans. The second story is “The Repeating Revenge of the Screaming Duck,” where Donald restores a hotel while Huey, Dewey, and Louie run into a spooky presence.

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The Relatability of Ducks

The children that may have watched or read the original television and comic series are grown ups today. Good ol’ millennials. Yet, strangely, I find DUCKTALES #0 incredibly relatable now. First of all, poor Donald Duck seems to have trouble holding down a job that he likes. Hits a little too close to home, am I right? So when Donald finally nails down the tour guide job, he’s pretty happy that things aren’t a mess for once.

Image from DUCKTALES #0, courtesy of IDW Publishing.

Of course, the rules of comics dictates that pleasantness can never last for long. Donald’s next job in the second issue is to restore the Eagle’s Pinky Toe Hotel, where The Screaming Duck terrorizes him at every turn. Really, Donald is just trying to settle down and take care of his nephews, but it’s a tough break. If adulthood isn’t taking care of others and endless screaming, then I don’t know what is. Donald Duck: a millennial icon.

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Pun Fun

The best thing about DUCKTALES #0 is its humor, primarily in regards to word play. In the first story, there are sea puns galore, like saying crossing Little Lake is “no small feat” or, as below, referring to the sponge species as “a lot to soak in.” The second story has great gems like a horror movie titled The Quacking Duck, which is a great call out to current pop culture. Additionally, the horror director in the story, Mallard Hitchcock, clearly parodies Alfred Hitchcock. While children might not get the last reference, I think the witty comedy of DUCKTALES appeals to all ages.

Image from DUCKTALES #0, courtesy of IDW Publishing.

A New Art Angle

Consistent with the art style of the television reboot, the art of DUCKTALES #0 takes a quirkier angle than that of its predecessors. While the Huey, Dewey, and Louie of old looked adorable and incapable of causing trouble (though they did, frequently), now those crazy kids look like a trio of hooligans. Not that they’ve completely lost their adorableness. Those gigantic heads look cuddly as heck.

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Their clothing has been revamped, which definitely lends more to their individuality.  Instead of identical outfits of different colors, Huey now wears a red polo, Dewey wears a blue short-sleeves over long-sleeves look, and Louie sports a green hoodie. Instead of the well known blue sailor shirt, Donald dons a slick black sailor shirt, more reminiscent of his depiction in Disney comics.

Image from DUCKTALES #0, courtesy of IDW Publishing.

Final Thoughts on DUCKTALES #0

This comic rides the nostalgia train hard, and it rides it with skill. The art is new and fresh, and the storylines are fun and silly. Right off the bat you really get a handle on who these characters are. DUCKTALES #0 is a great read for kids, and an even better read for kids at heart.

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