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DuckTales–excuse us, GlomTales–gathers a villainous family for sweet, sweet revenge

Screenshot: Disney (DisneyNOW)
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The only thing I enjoy more than cool, animated dreamscapes/headspaces are villain team-ups, and while I have some issues with how a few of these current villains are portrayed, it takes effort to really screw things up naaratively when the bad guys unite towards a common goal. Like their protagonist counterparts, the clash of out-sized personalities are fun and hilarious when propped up together, making “GlomTales!” a delightful episode in and of itself. There are some outlier issues with how the episode seems to function thematically, but overall, watching Glomgold, Magica, Ma Beagle, three of Beagle boys, and Don Karnage spar with each other is pure entertainment.


Glomgold gets it in his head that the main reason he keeps losing to Scrooge isn’t because he’s basically an idiot with nonsensical plans, but because he doesn’t have a family. In a way, he’s right–Scrooge’s family has often saved him from certain doom–but the fake Scotsman sees family as a ruse, a scheme, a ploy that functions as a broad method of exploitation and manipulation. It’s a bit on the nose, meant mostly to contrast up against Louie’s whole approach to scheming (more on that in a second), but it does fit Glomgold’s whole worldview. And, outside of his reasoning about it, bringing together Scrooge’s most wanted enemies to finally try and take him down is just a sound idea. Too bad those various characters are too self-involved to truly work as a team, and that Glomgold is too much of an idiot to be a functional leader. He completely forgets to check if Scrooge McDuck is even home when they invade the mansion, and all the villains blindly sign their wealth and resources over to him, including one billion “dead souls,” only for his contract to be nullified when he signs it with Glomgold, and not his real name, Duke Baloney*.

So most of the episode is Glomgold talking to Ma Beagle, Beaks, Karnage, and Magica into working together. There’s a couple of good comic runners: Karnage primarily focused on taking out Dewey Duck is a great, specific beat for the character, and watching Magica struggle at Fun Zone is a treat. Also great is how everyone immediately pegs Magica as the leader of this villainous family, agitating Glomgold further. That all being said, one can’t help but feel a little disappointed that this evil collaboration should have been a bit more effective–perhaps utilized in robust two-parter to really let the various villains sink their teeth into their plans. Essentially the episode just leaves you wanting more, wishing you could see them at their most evil, instead of just a conglomerate of comic fodder.

Screenshot: Disney (DisneyNOW)

Slightly more disappointing though, is what seems to be the resolution to the Louie/Della conflict. After being grounded and missing out on the laziest treasure hunt of all time to Big Rock Candy Mountain, Louie tries to “scheme” his way out of the mansion, only to be thwarted by the security measures that Della put in place. There’s indeed a sense that Louie is genuinely hurt by the fact that his mother doesn’t see his particularly shady gift for grift as useful, and to be honest, it is reasonable why she doesn’t. This feels like it’s remedied too conveniently though, with how Louie pretends to “betray” his family by signing, with Glomgold, the rights to every villain’s possession, to then gain the rights himself when Glomgold signs with the wrong name. This feels pat, almost too easy. Della allows Louie to continue his scheming due to his “seeing all the angles” prowess, as long as she’s there to point out the angles he’d miss (presumably, the “fatal consequences” angles). But it feels like “GlomTales!” failed to address the actual conflict burgeoning between Louie and Della–the young nephew’s disassociation with his own mother’s return–and arguably Della’s own selfishness in darting off on a space adventure while ignoring the loved ones she could hurt.


I say “feels like” there because the ending has Louie considering not handing over the wealth he mooched off Glomgold and the rest of the villains. This could be significant, and considering tomorrow’s episode is called “The Richest Duck In The World!”, it looks like we have a lot more Louie conflict to work through. We may see how corrupting that kind of wealth will have on Louie. The creators once said that Doofus was meant to be a foil to Louie and how such wealth without limits could be destructive. I... have thoughts about this comparison, but I’ll withhold them for now until we see how things play out.

Stray observations

  • The redone introduction with the poorly designed “GlomTales!” song and animation was a treat! I especially loved that really terrible CGI part.
  • I wish the show would utilize Mark Beaks more in a hostile, technocratic, self-deification manner more often. His declarations of being the future, that he could wipe out your entire existence with the swipe of his finger, gives him more antagonistic life than spouting lines about “hashtags” and “trending”.
  • I know it would have been cliche, but I feel like a Home Alone-like conflict with Louie vs. the villains would have been a stronger narrative to utilize, especially if Louie manipulated the various bad guys against each other, to really showcase how brilliant a schemer he is.
  • I sort of like that the Beagle Boys are essentially fighting for the deed to Duckburg, basically a legacy of losers who feel their right to some hold to the town has been stolen from Scrooge’s family. In some ways... they’re right.
  • *I feel like Glomgold has probably signed many, many, many documents and contracts with “Flintheart Glomgold” so I don’t know if that final twist really works. Either many of the things he claims to own are, in fact, not his (possible, and retrospectively funny, but the truth about this should come off a bit more devastating or revelatory?), or the creative team failed to apply that fact to all of his holdings.

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About the author

Kevin Johnson

Contributor, The A.V. Club, with a clear preference for all things cartoons; check out his main blog at http://www.totalmediabridge.com.