Having failed to find Ducktales #5 & 6 in my various back issue hunts, I broke down and bought the Dangerous Currency trade, even though I already had the issues of Darkwing Duck (17 & 18) that make up the other half. Only having half the story when it came out last fall left me feeling lost. Certain things were happening for no explanation I could find, and I figured with both halves, it would make more sense.
(For the record, that's not the cover they used for the trade. I just happen to like that one, which Darkwing artist James Silvani did for issue 17, more than the X-Men #101 homage he did for issue 18, which is what they used.)
Did it work as I hoped? Well, sort of. I still have lots of questions, but they don't appear to be ones that will be answered by having the entire crossover. For example, Magica's plan. She's after Scrooge's first dime, as always, because it has some property that will amplify her powers. To that end, she gathered up a trio of villainesses from the two series history, and formed her League of Eve-il (Except in four issues, I'm not sure we saw them do anything that demonstrated why she needed their assistance). She figures out Scrooge is using Quackwerks in St. Canard as a dummy corporation to hide certain assets. Given that Magica set up operations there - which is how she found the slime that's been creating the new villains bedeviling Darkwing for the previous several issues - one would assume the dime is among them. Especially when Scrooge mentions he wouldn't have needed to hide anything if he hadn't lost his top accountant, Fenton Crackshell (aka Gizmoduck) mysteriously. Turns out Magica abducted him because he could verify whether the dime was real or not.
OK, great, this all makes sense* from an evil plan perspective. By a little over halfway through, the villains have succeeded in taking over St. Canard. The entire cities been transformed, the Beagle Boys and the Fearsome Four are more powerful than ever, and Scrooge's nephews and Gosalyn's friend Honker have transformed into various Disney monsters (like the demon from Fantasia, or the whale from Pinocchio). The remaining good guys run back to Duckburg. But then Magica has them attack Duckburg, because she still doesn't have the dime. So where the hell was it? If it was in St. Canard, why didn't she get it already? If it was in Duckburg, why was she messing around in St. Canard in the first place? She had Fenton as a prisoner for a year, to authenticate the dime once she had it, except she never got around to getting it. Was experimenting on the slime's properties that critical?
There are a few other things, like how Fenton's mother's nagging counteracts the effect of the slime. I assume it's some play on Ghostbusters II, but I'm not sure how berating the slime makes something that turns people evil not do that. I'd think such treatment would produce resentment and anger that would amplify the effects. I'm not sure how Negaduck, having been hit with the Tronsplitter so many times his body was reduced to a mass of minute particles (which formed the slime), had a physical body at all when he reemerged on the regular plane of existence. And I didn't realize Launchpad was so apprehensive about his two sets of friends not liking each other. Not that I don't understand the concern; I was worried the first time Alex and Papafred met that it might not go well. It's just I hadn't seen any sign of it prior to this story.
I do wonder how much was ultimately a matter of not having much time. Boom! was about to lose the license to publish the titles, and so maybe they had to throw things into gear sooner than they expected. I can kind of see that in the two-page exposition dumps we get through the story. Fenton relating what happened to him. The slime that's still on the Gizmoduck suit (but has been affected by his mother's yelling) showing us Magica's plan. Negaduck telling us what he's doing here. It feels like they had more story than issues to tell it in, so they had to cut corners a bit so it would make some sense.
All that being said, Ian Brill and Warren Spector do an excellent job of fitting a lot of good character moments in amongst the action and exposition. Scrooge's nephews trying to impress Gosalyn, Launchpad reminding Darkwing these folks are his friends too, and Darkwing agreeing to play nice (and the fact Launchpad said this to DW, but not to Scrooge, who has done nothing but give Darkwing grief for three issues, says a lot about the differences in his relationships with those two). I think my favorite may have been when Scrooge and Darkwing make it into Quackwerks, and find Quackerjack, who, as Darkwing points out, was a villain of DW's who turned himself into a toy. Scrooge rolls his eyes and says, 'Oh good. I was worried when something weird didn't happen for a few seconds.' Those two do get to play off each other a lot, and it works well, given their different perspectives and priorities.
Jose Massaroli (who drew parts of the two Ducktales issues) and James Silvani (who drew everything else and inked Massaroli's work), are probably the real strong point of the collection. Their work with the expressions for the characters, the new designs for some of the villains, making the boys into recognizable monsters, while still having some aspect of their own looks. One of the things I like best about Silvani's work is his attention to detail. Not just on the background action, but also in how actions in one panel are usually set up in the panels before that. Rather than objects or characters just appearing seemingly out of thin air, you're able to see the set-up coming, and then it's a matter of waiting for the pay off. I will say, his double page splashes are not the most dynamic, though there aren't many. Silvani seems better at using a whole panel well when he has less space to fill, but that's fine. Double-page splashes are overused these days anyway.
* Except for the question of how she kept Fenton a prisoner for a year, only for him to somehow escape in time to bring dire portents to Launchpad and Scrooge (before being recaptured). I thought she meant to use Fenton as a lure to get Scrooge there - why she wants him around to potentially wreck her plans I don't know, except to gloat - but she seemed to think the slime overwhelming the Quackwerks building is what would draw him, so I'm not sure Fenton was supposed to get loose, and if that's true, I don't know how he did it.