Issue: Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers #5
Release Date: April 6, 2011
Writer: Ian Brill
Artists: Leonel Castellani, Ricardo Garcia
Colors: Jake Myler
Letters: Jason Arthur
Cover A: Leonel Castellani
Cover B: James Silvani
With the first story arc of kaboom’s Chip ’n’ Dale Rescue Rangers comic book over it seemed like a good time to come into the series. I should disclose right now that while I’m a fan of the cartoon I’m not part of the fandom. I’ve never been to a Rescue Rangers message board or read a fanfic based on the series. I’m just someone who really likes the show. I was slightly concerned when I read the first page, recapping the previous arc’s adventure, and was totally lost. “The worldwide rescue drained the gang both physically and emotionally — especially Dale who finally met Eaglewood, father of Foxglove, only to then lose him in tragedy.”
It’s not a good sign when a recap leaves you more confused than you were before you read it. However, after a trip to Wikipedia I learned Foxglove was a bat who reformed her villainous ways after falling for Dale. This was an incident in a single episode of a show from 20 years ago, but a character who is very popular in the Rescue Rangers fandom. The fact that the comic seems more focused on fandom than the casual fans, like myself, is seen again as we see Chip struggling with tiny chipmunk angst over his concern about the group.
While I’m sure that fandom loves the idea of a series that is more adult and deals with more realistic situations, it turns me off. Not everything is improved by a Batman Begins style realistic take. Thankfully, as soon as the action kicks in the issue it stars to feel more like the original series. A deranged lawnmower looking device is headed towards the gang and destroying everything in its path. The gang needs to evacuate the bystanders and deactivate the device. Mostly, this was a chance to introduce who will likely be the villains of the next story arc, the Danger Rangers. These doppelgangers to the Rescue Rangers feature a fast talking pair of rats, an adventuring reptile, a silent beetle, and what appears to be the rodent version of Lisbeth Salander.
There’s an amusing exchange where the two rats manage to convince onlookers that Chip and Dale are actually the bad guys through some fast talking and double dealing. Meanwhile, the chipmunks are out of their depth to keep up. Gadget comes up with the plan to stop the lawnmower with the help of some chewing gum that had been conveniently been mentioned early in the issue. I’d like to think that this was a subversion of Chekhov’s gun, a saying attributed to the Russian playwright that said if a gun appears in the first act you can be sure it will be fired by the end of the third. I might be over thinking it but the idea of Chekhov’s gun amuses me to no end so I hope it was intentional. In the chaos the Danger Rangers run off leaving the gang to ponder who they are.
Overall this was a good place for new readers, like myself, to come in. Other than the overwhelming recap the rest of the issue was very accessible to casual and new fans. I love the Danger Rangers, especially the design for the Bizarro Gadget with its goth/hacker inspiration. The design of the rats, which seems sort of 1940s grifter via A Clockwork Orange, is also great to look at. Overall the art is very good, although the writing is at points overly earnest. This could end up being problematic if it continues. The writers have to be careful to avoid the trap of writing just for the fandom. While they might be happy to see more character depth than the cartoon allowed casual fans, like me, are turned off by the lack of fun. If not, I could easily see myself rooting for the Danger Rangers who, at the moment, just seem to be having more fun.