Darkwing Duck (animation)

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"Somewhere down there is this Darkwing Duck. I've watched him. I know his weakness. His posing, his flamboyance, the mask and cape! Ha, ha! That hat! It all indicates an ego the size of a small planet!"
Taurus Bulba
"I am the terror that flaps in the night!"
Darkwing Duck

Darkwing Duck was a superhero cartoon produced by Disney that ran from 1991 to 1995. It followed the adventures of a masked duck, who was somewhere between Batman, Sandman, The Green Hornet and The Shadow, parodying many superheroic tropes and characters along the way. Nevertheless, it was one of Disney's Darker and Edgier series, fondly remembered for things like total aversion of Never Say "Die" and an episode featuring Satan (albeit a comical version) as the Monster of the Week.

Armed with only a gas gun and a massive ego, Darkwing battled a Rogues Gallery of villains and defended the city of Saint Canard—all while providing his own narration.

Darkwing was comedically inept, hampered by his vainglory, short-sightedness, bad temper, and general klutziness. He always came through in the end, usually after being brought to his senses, and uttering the phrase, "Let's get dangerous," after which he'd really show his true skills. His other catch phrase "I am the terror..." changed pretty much every time it was used. DW always tried to make it fit his current situation, but it didn't always work.


"I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the batteries that are not included. I am Darkwing Duck!"


DW was assisted by his sidekick Launchpad McQuack (formerly of DuckTales (1987)), his adopted daughter Gosalyn, and the youngest son of his next door neighbors, Honker Muddlefoot.

"I feel awful... stooping to such petty crimes. But you can't imagine how expensive thermonuclear warheads are these days."

Darkwing faced a variety of villains, including: the nefarious NegaDuck, the comical-but-sort-of-deadly electropath Megavolt, the plant/duck hybrid Bushroot, the smarmy salesman turned living liquid Liquidator, the insane clown Quackerjack, the more-than-competent Taurus Bulba, and the ruthless F.O.W.L. agent Steelbeak. Also, some evil mind-controlling aliens that looked like hats.

He also ran into a number of other heroes, usually not starting off on the best foot. These included Gizmoduck from DuckTales (1987) (who Darkwing did not work well with), Stegmutt (a large, dim dinosaur), and Morgana MacCawber (a sorceress and former crook who reformed and became Darkwing's girlfriend).

This would normally be the end of the article, since the show and the license had sat dormant since the show ended... but then Disney revived the franchise with the announcement of a brand-new four-issue comic miniseries ongoing monthly comic series, starting with an arc entitled "The Duck Knight Returns", which began in June 2010. The comic ended in November 2011, with a Bat Family Crisis Crossover with the DuckTales (1987) comic where Scrooge McDuck and Darkwing join forces against the combined might of their rogues gallery as well as search for the long-missing Gizmoduck.

Tropes associated with this comic go here.

Has its own Shout Out page.

Tropes used in Darkwing Duck include:

Tropes A-D

  • Abnormal Ammo: DW's gas gun could actually shoot just about anything that could fit out the barrel.
    • Or anything that could be compressed into a pellet and then fit in the barrel. (The most obvious example being an inflatable raft.)
  • Actor Allusion: While maybe a coincidence, NegaDuck has a fondness of pollution.
  • Alliteration: Darkwing is a master at this.
  • Adventure Rebuff: Darkwing is always trying to keep Gosalyn out of trouble.
  • Adventurer Outfit: Launchpad.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Played for Laughs. Darkwing learns lessons about ego and not caring what others think all the time, but always shrugs them off when he comes through in the end.
    • A more straightforward example, Honker learns the "believe in yourself" message at least twice during the course of the series. Though, granted, with an older brother like his...
    • In the episode "Water Way to Go", Darkwing learns to treat Launchpad as a hero, only to demote him back to sidekick two seconds later by having him carry the luggage back to the plane.
      • And ultimately made good; he starts teaching some of his skills to Launchpad, including some of his martial arts. Granted, it's to enable him to be 'Darkwing Decoy', but still ...
  • Affectionate Parody: Of superhero cartoons.
    • And of superheroes in general. Emphasis on the "affectionate" part, as it has more fun with playing with the conventions than ridiculing them.
  • Alliterative Name: Darkwing Duck himself.
    • Averted for most of the rest of the cast, which is noteworthy for Disney characters.
  • All Just a Dream: Subverted in "Dead Duck". After dying and spending the rest of the episode as a ghost, Darkwing wakes up in his bed at the end. Then Lucifer shows up in the real world in a pre-credits gag, and later on even has an entire episode dedicated to him.
  • All Your Powers Combined: NegaDuck once made a device that allowed him to siphon all of the various superpowers of Darkwing's Rogues Gallery into himself: liquid body, plant control, electrical powers, etc. Unfortunately, he also got Quackerjack's wackiness in the deal too, which was...less useful.
  • Almighty Janitor: Ammonia Pine, an evil cleaning lady who works for F.O.W.L., and is surprisingly effective.
  • Alternate Universe: The Negaverse.
  • Always Someone Better: Negaduck is only the No. 2 enemy of St. Canard, right under Dr. Slug.
    • Gizmoduck is this to Darkwing, always topping the superhero charts and leaving the much maligned Darkwing dead last. (framed picture in screen corner switches to upside-down photo of Darkwing)

News announcer: And coming waaaaay down the chart is St. Canard's own Dark... worm... duck.


Liquidator: Let's pretend that Darkwing is on fire!
Bushroot: Yeah! Put out the Darkwing!
Darkwing: Nice try, but it won't work--
Stegmutt: *grabs Darkwing and starts smacking him against the ground* Put out the Darkwing! Put out the Darkwing!

    • And later in the same episode:

Darkwing: *smushed by a giant beanstalk* This is the second most painful moment of my life.
Stegmutt: What was the first most painful?
Darkwing: Put out the Darkwing! Put out the Darkwing!


Darkwing: Would you quit fussing, I'm fine. Just...just find me a robbery, a...a jaywalker, *sounds pissed* a stockbroker. Any crook'll do.

  • Aside Glance: Used often.
  • An Asskicking Christmas: "It's a Wonderful Leaf".
  • Asshole Victim: Doctors Gary and Larson in "Beauty and the Beet".
  • Ax Crazy: NegaDuck.
    • Also, Quackerjack.
      • This is even true with his good counterpart in the Negaverse, who makes a toy Monster Clown that has several axes pop out of it. I guess some things never change.
  • Badass Boast: "I am the terror that flaps in the night..."
  • Badass Normal: Darkwing was a parody of the concept, but often proved himself able to save the day when heroes with actual powers couldn't.
    • Well, unless you count his 'power' to seemingly teleport into his "trademark blue smoke."
      • Yeah, but the show offers contradictory explanations for that, and he only uses it to make his entrance.
        • No. In the episode "Getting Antsy", he uses it to somehow cause the cars that were barreling towards him to crash into apparently nothing, creating a large pile of useless metal, with Darkwing standing unharmed on top.
    • Darkwing also had the power to survive things that would normally kill someone in the show's spiritual predecessor DuckTales (1987), but it's not too noticable, since most people in this series seem to have that power.
    • Negaduck and Quackerjack also count for this considering they had no real superpowers and were able to be just as menacing, if not more so than the villains that had them.
    • Several other villains qualify such as Amonia Pine who - gadgets aside - can go toe-to-toe with Darkwing. Steelbeak qualifies, even though he technically has a beak that can bite through anything, because in direct combat, he forgoes it to rely on his boxer training and large build.
  • Balancing Death's Books: "Dead Duck"
    • Averted. Death was only interested in Darkwing, and expressed hatred (or at least extreme dislike) for people who attempted to bribe him.
  • Bad Future: 'Time and Punishment'.
    • Also shown in the episode "Paraducks".
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: They have been called in to save the day at various points.
  • Banana Peel: In "The Quiverwing Quack", Gosalyn actually falls for this... while walking on a rope across buildings!
  • Battle Couple: Darkwing and Morgana usually qualify for this.
  • Berserk Button: Don't call Megavolt "Sparky." Or insult Quackerware around Herb Muddlefoot.
    • Or remind Negaduck that he's only the No. 2 enemy of St. Canard, right under Dr. Slug.
    • Never threaten Gosalyn. Darkwing doesn't like it.
    • Quackerjack flips out anytime anyone mentions wanting to play video games around him.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Icy thinks of herself as this.
  • Big Entrance: Darkwing is a master of this.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Hammerhead (big), Hoof (thin) and Mouth (short).
    • Launchpad, Darkwing and Gosalyn also fit this trope.
  • Blessed with Suck: Some of the Rubber Chicken's friends in one episode have completely useless abilities.
  • Book Ends: Tauras Bulba is the first and last villain that Darkwing faces in the TV series.
    • Also the first proper villain he faces once he returns to fighting crime in the new comic series.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Gosalyn borrows her father's catchphrases all the time - pretty much everything except "I am the terror..." She even occasionally inherits the gags around them: for example, when she uses her dad's "yep, yep, yep," catchphrase she tends to get the Tempting Fate gag the comes with it.
  • Bragging Theme Tune
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Gosalyn sometimes became this.
    • Also Tank Muddlefoot, who was always this, despite his size.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: "Is it going to do that every time someone says 'the Library of Forbidden Spells'??"
  • Brought to You by The Letter "S": Gosalyn as the Quiverwing Quack (her normal outfit has the number 1 on it).
  • Butt Monkey and Chew Toy: Bad stuff tends to happen to Megavolt. It's hilarious.
    • Bushroot takes it more on the chin than anyone else in the series. Even the other members of the Fearsome Five take cheap shots at him.
    • This also applies to Darkwing most of the time.
  • Camp. Up to Eleven. Which is what makes it so wonderful. In fact, it's so over-the-top that it could even be seen as a camp parody, from the moment that Bushroot claims to have a "telepathic link with plants" onward, or even before then.
  • Camp Gay: The Liquidator bordered on (a non-sexual version of) this.
  • Captain Crash: Launchpad, from DuckTales (1987). Darkwing even muses how Launchpad would've been proud of a helicopter wreck he caused. Darkwing himself is NOT this, as he never even claims to be able to operate aircraft.
    • However, Launchpad is a notably better pilot here than he ever was in DuckTales (1987). He only crashes if he's shot down and can otherwise land fine.
    • Not quite. The first thirty or so episodes of the show (in production order) have crash landings be Launchpad's only method of landing. He *does* gets better as time goes on, though.
  • Captain Ersatz: Most of DW's Rogues Gallery were obvious villain archetypes, but Dr. Reginald Bushroot's name and powers both evoke Dr. Jason Woodrue, the "Floronic Man" from The DCU. Liquidator got his powers in a suspiciously similar manner to how Jack Napier became the Joker. Darkwing himself heavily resembles Batman, up to the point of having a gender-flipped Robin.
  • Captain Obvious: Lauchpad. Especially in "A Brush With Oblivion".

(Darkwing runs into a fake door)
Launchpad: That door's not real, DW.


Darkwing: Good thing I was wearing my buzzsaw cufflinks

    • The comics take it a tad further; he can be crazy prepared by accident. Once, the only reason he was able to fight through a flock of angry guard flamingos was because he had previously bought anti-flamingo gas simply "to qualify for the bulk rate".
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Katie Leigh as Honker Muddlefoot.
    • Also Honker's brother Tank who was voiced by the late Dana Hill.
  • Crossover: In the mid-1990s, the Chaos God story arc within the comics pages of Disney Adventures linked Darkwing Duck to the continuities of Tale Spin, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, Goof Troop, and (unsurprisingly) DuckTales (1987), all via a possessed medallion.
    • The episode "In Like Blunt" featured cameos from several Duck Tales villains, including Magica DeSpell.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: You could probably say this about most of Darkwing's enemies. They all act extremely ridiculous, but the abilities they each possess, when they become focused on something, makes them all extremely dangerous to boot.
  • Cute Bruiser: Gosalyn and Neptunia.
  • Daddy's Girl: Gosalyn.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: The surprisingly aware Darkwing.

Darkwing: Oh boy, this is it, the "How-I-Became-A-Villain" story

    • At one point, he even takes advantage of Cartoon Physics. He increases the air pressure in a locked room, causing him to go flat as a pancake and allowing him to slide under a door.
    • Taurus Bulba demonstrates this trope a bit, knowing that the title character and Gosalyn aren't dead, knowing exactly how egotistical Darkwing is and how to use that against him, and when he knows that Darkwing has the code despite having no real proof, he essentially takes advantage of the attachment that Darkwing has of Gosalyn, threatening to drop her off a building if he doesn't spill anything about the code.
    • Negaduck also frequently demonstrated this trope (which was part of what made him one of Darkwing's most dangerous villains). Most notably in the Just Us Justice Ducks two-parter. He even intentionally leaves behind an impossibly obscure piece of evidence to lead Darkwing to his hideout, because he knew Darkwing "wouldn't notice the enormous flag." Considering this came right after Darkwing missing the flag seemed like a throwaway joke, this makes the savviness all the more impactful (and hilarious).
  • Dating Catwoman: Darkwing and Morgana McCawber.
    • Although not so much, as she goes straight as they get more serious.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gosalyn and Darkwing.
    • Also, NegaDuck (of course) and, surprisingly, Quackerjack at times.
    • Taurus Bulba also qualifies at certain moments.
  • Death Course: two, ostensibly for training purposes. Darkwing had one of these as how he cooks breakfast in 'Darkly Dawns the Duck' (he always gets creamed; Gosalyn runs it once too). SHUSH seems to have one of these as well for its agents; the final exam seems to be designed to make sure agent recruiting stays low. The test? 'Survive'. As you're shot with increasingly inordinate ordnance.
  • Descriptive Ville: St. Canard.
  • Detective Animal: Darkwing does detective work from time to time.
  • Determinator: Darkwing and Negaduck both share this trait.
  • Did Not Do the Research: The Capcom game presumes all of DW's Rogues Gallery belong to FOWL.
    • Also in the episode "Whiffle While You Work", Darkwing encounters enemies dressed like ninjas who are called "The Kung-Fu Gibbons". The problem with this is that Ninjutsu is Japanese, while Kung-Fu is Chinese, and Gibbons are not from either country.
  • Disney Death: The pilot's climax and "Dead Duck", the latter of which was All Just a Dream.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Dark Warrior Duck's "method" of dealing with jaywalkers, lawyers, and anyone else who makes him mad.
    • His ideas for a new law system, by traveling back in time and rewriting it are even worse.

Dark Warrior Duck: I'll go back to ancient Babylon where laws were first written down, then I can make sure to get off to a good start. For stealing an Ox, the penalty is death! Coveting Wives, death! Stealing Grain, death! Tracking mud through the kitchen, death! Being cranky in the morning, mmmm....death!

  • Double Subversion: Happens occasionally. One example came when DW was cornered by Quakerjack's chattering teeth. "This calls for the latest in state-of-the-art crime fighting devices" Cue Darkwing pulling a bone out of hammerspace and throwing it. The teeth go after it, but it explodes when they bite it. DW looks towards the viewer and says "That was noordinarydoggy-bone"
  • Dramatic Slip: Subverted; it was a killdeer ploy.
  • Dumb Muscle: Comet Guy and Stegmutt.

Tropes E-I

  • The Electric Slide: Megavolt uses this one.
  • Elemental Powers: 3 out of 5 of the Fearsome Five have one.
  • Emergency Transformation: Taurus Bulba. He wasn't too thrilled.
  • Emotion Eater: Paddywhack from "The Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain", who feeds on humiliation and misery. Darkwing and Quackerjack beat him by laughing at the demon.
  • Enemy Mine: DW has been forced to team up with one of his foes several times, including Bushroot ("Twin Beaks" and "Slime OK, You're OK"), Megavolt ("NegaDuck", "The Frequency Fiends", and "Twitching Channels"), Quackerjack ("The Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain"), and the non-NegaDuck members of the Fearsome Five ("Jail Bird" and Comic #4).
  • Enemy Without: The original NegaDuck, who was literally DW's evil side given form. Also, the episode "The Frequency Fiends" centered around Gosalyn's worst personality traits (her temper, her ego, and her irresponsibility) being given form as energy beings.
  • Establishing Character Moment
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Humorously subverted in "Trading Faces". Long story short, Darkwing and Gosalyn and Lunchpad and Honker switched bodies and have to get past some FOWL agents guarding a gate. Darkwing (who is still inside Gosalyn's body) decide to use Gosalyn's and Honker's bodies to appeal to the guards' better nature. After running around, crying that Honker stole "her" ball, the two guards seem to be disgusted by "Honker's" actions...only to congratulate him for his nastiness, suggesting that he takes after themselves, and offer to beat up "Gosalyn" for him.
  • Evil Counterpart: NegaDuck.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Herb Muddlefoot to Binkie Muddlefoot.
    • Also Gosalyn to Honker.
  • Evil Laugh: Most of the villains.
  • Evil Redhead: Subverted by Webby, who isn't actually evil as much as being led astray by Professor Moliarty.
    • Played straight with Tank Muddlefoot
  • Evil Twin: The other NegaDuck.
  • Expanded Universe: The comics in Disney Adventures had Darkwing up against memorable villains such as Fluffy, Mondo, and Solego, none of whom were ever seen or mentioned on the show itself.
  • Expository Theme Tune
  • Expy: Whiffle Boy seems to be one to Mega Man.
  • Extreme Doormat: Honker Muddlefoot. A couple episodes deal with him getting over this, and it kind of takes. A little bit. Maybe.
  • Eye Scream: SHUSH had a pie-throwing bazooka developed... that if it hit your face, would apparently suck out your eyes and turn them so they stare at your face as you hold the pie.
  • Fatal Flaw: Pride.
  • Fat Bastard: Tuskernini.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: In "Hot Spells", "Beelzy" forces DW to be eternally trapped with demonic versions of the Muddlefoots and to watch endless reruns of Pelican's Island while he's trapped in Hell.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Okay, most of the villains are pretty funny, but special mention goes to NegaDuck, who unlike the others is legtimately nastily evil. Fortunately he's so over-the-top in his Axe Crazy that he's still hysterical. A good example would be in "Just Us Justice Ducks" when he's impersonating Darkwing. How does our hero expose him? He points in a corner of the room and shouts "Look! A fuzzy-wuzzy bunny." NegaDuck promptly runs over, pulls out a shotgun and starts blasting away at the non-existent rabbit. Incredibly wrong? Check. Incredibly funny? Also check.
    • See here for more examples.
    • And if you look in the background in comic #6, you'll see a boxing glove covered in spikes, as well as a double-barreled shotgun that fires bear traps!
  • Fiery Redhead: Gosalyn.
    • Also Hotshot, to a literal extent.
  • Fish People: Neptunia.
  • Five-Bad Band: The Fearsome Five.
  • Five-Man Band: The Justice Ducks.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Literally; the Disney Adventures comics featured a villainous super-intelligent kitten named Fluffy.
  • Flying Brick: Comet Guy! (HO HO!!!) and many others from Comet Guy's superhero planet.
  • Flying Car: Steelbeak has one in the comics.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: reversed: Darkwing would prefer his daughter NOT do this. She disagrees.
  • For the Evulz: Most villains don't have any real motives, but Bushroot is a strange example. The only reason he became a villain was to get revenge on those that mocked him, which he did. Most of the time he's doing solo missions it's an attempt to gain friendship/romance/comraderie through mad science. When he's with the Fearsome Five (and sometimes when he's on his own) he's just plain evil.
  • Four-Fingered Hands
  • Freaky Friday Flip: "Trading Faces". In fact, while they are switched, Darkwing and Gosalyn can be told apart physically by Tertiary Sexual Characteristics, while Launchpad and Honker had the size of their eyes switched around.
  • Friends Rent Control: Finally explained in the comic.
  • From a Single Cell: Bushroot could come back from from being shredded into leaves and vines. This was, of course, exploited constantly.
  • Fun with Acronyms: FOWL (the Fiendish Organization for World Larceny), sort of the Disney version of HYDRA, and its counterpart SHUSH, which is so top-secret nobody knows what the acronym stands for.
  • Future Badass: Darkwarrior Duck. Unfortunately, badassery wasn't the only thing he took to a higher level.
  • Garage Band: Gosalyn, Honker and Tank start one in "A Revolution in Home Appliances".
  • Genius Bruiser: Agent Grizzlikoff is big, strong, and can come with good ideas if he needs to.
  • Gentle Giant: Launchpad and Stegmutt.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the episode "Duck Blind" Darkwing says that he sent Megavolt to the electric chair twice.
    • Also in the episode "Ghoul Of My Dreams", when Darkwing is investigating Morgana and enamored by her beauty, he says "But you're the prime seduction....I mean suspect!"
  • The Ghost: There was a repeated mention that the city's most wanted criminal was someone named Dr. Slug, but the only time we see him was right before the episode cut away to a narration about the human brain told by Darkwing directly to the audience.
  • Gilligan Cut: One episode had DW working for S.H.U.S.H. looking for an ape man. Gosalyn wanted to go but Drake wouldn't let her. So she holds her breath until she goes red in the face, with Drake saying that he is unmoved, unshaken, un-. We don't find out what the last one is because they cut to Gosalyn, DW, and Launchpad in the Quackjet flying over an island.
  • Give Me a Sword: In the episode "Quack of Ages" Darkwing calls out, "Men, a sword!"—and is promptly buried under a mound of blades, from under which comes a feeble, "Men, a tourniquet."
  • Glad I Thought of It: DW does this a lot. Usually it will be Launchpad's idea originally, but LP is too much of a fanboy to realize that it was the exact same plan he just suggested five seconds earlier.

Launchpad: We could follow this trail of latex that leaked out of the tank, DW.
Darkwing: Unless of course, we follow this trail of latex that leaked out of the tank!
Launchpad: Whoa! That guy's amazing!


Darkwing: Okay, so I don't practice what I preach. I'm a parent; I can get away with it.

    • A rather amusing scene in "Jail Bird" has Megavolt lamenting how Quackerjack has gone completely insane from prison life... and then proceeds to start talking to a light bulb.
  • I Am the Trope: Invoked often, usually by Darkwing Duck or Negaduck.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Negaduck
  • I Call It Vera: The King calls his guitar "Cecille".
  • Idea Bulb: Parodied with Megavolt.
  • I Know Kung Faux: Darkwing knows Quack Fu.
  • Illogical Safe: Darkwing's breakfast Death Course causes his fridge to launch into the air and land on top of him if he forgets the milk. He ends up inside the fridge; amusingly injured, dazed, and holding a jug of milk.
  • Implacable Man: Darkwing and Negaduck share this trait.
  • Implausible Deniability: Tuskernini claiming his innocence of a bank robbery in court. Darkwing presents security footage, a signed confession and dozens of eye witnesses. Tuskernini claims this is flimsy evidence, then upon the whispered advice of his penguin lawyers, he accuses Darkwing of framing him.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: In "Getting Antsy", a crook shrinks buildings to use in his miniature golf course. Of course, Darkwing ends up shrunk to the size of an ant, and then to microscopic size.
  • In the Name of the Moon: "I am the terror..."
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Mecha: On several occasions.
  • Instrument of Murder: The King's guitar.
  • Interspecies Romance: Herb Muddlefoot is a duck and his wife Binkie Muddlefoot is a canary. Also Launchpad and Tia.
    • Attempted by Bushroot when he wanted to marry Posey the vampire potato.
  • Iris Out: Lampshaded at the end of "Hush Hush, Sweet Charlatan"; the group debates how to end the cartoon. Launchpad throws out an idea: He likes the cartoons that end with a circle getting smaller until everything is black.

Tropes J-R

  • Jail Bake: Spoofed when a criminal on a literal Planet of Hats is given a file that has a cake inside, which he uses to incapacitate the guard.
  • Jerkass Genie: Nodoff, so very much.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: DW is a mild example—he may be vain, bad-tempered, and a gloryhog, but he's a hero to the core and deeply cares about his friends and family.
    • Agent Grizzlikoff is another example. He hates Darkwing's showboating antics and tries to sabotage him whenever possible, but when the chips are down "Grizz" is an intensely loyal SHUSH agent.
  • Just Between You and Me: "Just Us Justice Ducks": NegaDuck plans to put an end to the heroes in typical cartoon supervillain fashion as soon as he throws...THE SWITCH!.
    • Another villain averts this trope.
  • Killed Off for Real: Quite a few characters, considering this was a Disney show.
    • Major Synapse in the episode "Heavy Mental.
    • Also Dr. Gary and Dr. Larson in the episode "Beauty And The Beet".
    • And Splatter Phoenix.
  • Kitchen Sink Included
  • Knight of Cerebus: Although it's not a particularly extreme case, Taurus Bulba was not funny. At all. Although his episodes still had plenty of funny stuff in them, his involvement pretty much guaranteed that it would be darker in tone. Unlike NegaDuck he wasn't over the top, and to a kid could actually be a bit scary.

Taurus Bulba: "Tell me quickly, or she'll make quite an ugly stain on the street..." "Taurus Bulba works for NO ONE!"

    • You KNOW Bulba was a frightening villain when Gosalyn went catatonic upon seeing him again, until Honker snapped her out of it. Especially in Boom! comic #4, where he comes back in his cyborg body, AND TO BOOT, he's now a "consciousness that could travel through and possess electronics!"
    • Dark Warrior Duck, while having a fairly humorous Knight Templar ideal, had a somber backstory and the episode he was in, for the most part, took itself seriously.
  • Knight Templar: Dark Warrior Duck from "Time and Punishment"
  • Knockout Gas: Darkwing used a gun that could fire knock out gas (among other things). Due to the character being a little clumsy, he knocked himself out once or twice.
  • Lady in Red: Morgana, of course.
  • Large Ham: Let's see... Darkwing, NegaDuck, the other NegaDuck, Quackerjack, Megavolt, Gosalyn as Quiverwing Quack, the list goes on, and on, and on.
  • Laughably Evil: Pretty much all of the villains. NegaDuck because he's so over-the-top evil, Megavolt because he's such a Cloudcuckoolander (and because everyone tends to screw with him), Quackerjack because he's so wacky, etc. Notably, the exceptions tend to be very, very serious, even if it is in a somehow lighthearted way.
    • Bulba flat-out tells the Fearsome Five Four in the comic how absolutely pathetic they are at being villains.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: The Trope Namer.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Most notably in "Tiff of the Titans", where Steelbeak sets DW and GizmoDuck against each other so he can continue his plans unhindered.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compare the original intro with the one used for all the following seasons and DVD release. Don't you miss some... dakka?
    • In continuity, Darkwing takes this to it's illogical conclusion when he becomes even more PR obsessed than usual and attempts to change his image.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Launchpad's apparent lack of another outfit came up in passing more than once.
  • Literal Split Personality: The episode "Negaduck", which features Darkwing being split into Posiduck (all the good attributes) and Negaduck (all the bad attributes). Not to be confused with recurring villain Negaduck.
  • Little Miss Badass: Gosalyn, so very much.
  • Little Miss Snarker: Gosalyn, coupled with Little Miss Badass in many episodes.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Darkwarrior Duck when it comes to Gosalyn.
    • A curious variant because it's not specifically keeping Gosalyn safe that was his motivation for turning into Darkwarrior Duck; when he thought he'd lost her, he snapped and decided the reason he'd lost his beloved daughter was that he'd been too soft on crime with all that "mercy" and "proper channels of the justice system" nonsense.
  • Love Potion: "My Valentine Ghoul".
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: DW's cape in the Nintendo game.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: One is featured in "Jurasic Jumble."
  • Mad Libs Catchphrase



Negaduck: (as he stomps Darkwing repeatedly) This is for BUSHROOT! MEGAVOLT! QUACKER JACK! LIQUIDATOR! And NEGADUCK makes five. The Fearsome Five.

  • Missing Episode: "Hot Spells".
  • Monster Clown: Quakerjack to certain degree, and Paddywhack to a literal degree.
  • Morally-Ambiguous Ducktorate: NegaDuck
  • Morphic Resonance: In the episode "Disguise the Limit," Darkwing and NegaDuck keep their beaks whenever they transform.
  • Mr. Vice Guy
  • Multiple Choice Past: Darkwing was either from another planet, raised in a martial arts temple in China, bullied into a life of crime as a kid, or picked on in high school until he donned the mask.
    • Pretty sure his life in high school is essentially seen as true, however.
    • The "born on another planet" story was quite obviously Darkwing make stuff up, and the other three aren't exactly exclusive. He was bullied as a kid, until his future self showed him how to stand up for himself. He then took up the Darkwing persona when Megavolt attacked his senior prom, and then he spent several years learning Quack Fu in China.
  • Mythology Gag: The Donald Duck-style caps in "Water Way to Go."
    • Fenton Crackshell visits Launchpad in one episode (since GizmoDuck is investigating in St. Canard), prompting this first and only allusion to Launchpad's past:

Launchpad: Fenton and I used to work for the same guy.
Drake: That must have been fun.

    • One episode has Launchpad feeding some doggie treats to a chihuahua. He mentions the brande name as Canine Crunchies, which are from a commercial shown in 101Dalmations.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • At the end of issue #11, just as Duckthulhu comes to life after Steelbeak doublecrosses Darkwing again, NOW starting to regret it

Steelbeak: What have I done?

  • Name's the Same: NegaDuck and NegaDuck.
    • Interestingly enough there was a episode that didn't make it to television that would have featured Darkwing and the yellow suited NegaDuck joining forces to combat the first NegaDuck.
    • Also in the episode "Aduckyphobia", the spider's name is Webby, just like another famous little girl named Webby.
    • And Sara Bellum has the same name as the Mayor's assistant in Powerpuff Girls.
  • The Napoleon: Professor Moliarty.
    • Also Darkwing to a certain degree, considering that next to Neptunia, he's the shortest member of the Justice Ducks.
  • Narrator: Darkwing.
  • Negative Continuity: Word of God says that continuity deliberately came second to Rule of Funny, hence why there's not many episodes that reference each other and many that downright contradict each other. Hence why Darkwing Duck has multiple origin stories with completely different setups.
    • Of course it was pretty easy to tell with 2 of the origin myths that said "origins" were merely DW making stuff up.
    • Nevermind NegaDuck's multiple origin stories.
    • NegaDuck doesn't have multiple origins. It only seems that way because their were two seperate characters with the name of NegaDuck (the one that split from DW's body in Negatron, negative energy that could destroy objects just from being around them with his galvanized negative energy appeared in one episode, and the other the reoccuring, chainsaw weilding, rabbit hating maniac from the Negaverse). Except that they were supposed to be explained to be the same character, somehow, apparently... but that was never done, so...
    • Also, several episodes act as thought Gosalyn has been with Drake for years (such as "Bearskin Thug"), once or twice even implying that he had raised her since she was a little girl as apposed to having been semi-recently adopted (like "Quiverwing Quack").
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Dr. Sara Bellum, Dr. Rhoda Dendron, and signs show that Gosalyn feels this way about Honker.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted most of the time...and this is a Disney cartoon!
    • In the first episode, seven times. In two seconds.
  • Nice Hat
  • No Problem With Licensed Games: The Darkwing Duck game for the NES was basically a short Mega Man clone (not surprising, considering they're made by the same people) with a couple new mechanics added. It was actually quite popular - the player review average score on Gamefaqs is about 7.8 out of 10.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Despite her mutation, Neptunia has a pretty ample bust for a fish lady.
    • Also many of the female bird characters in general.
  • Noodle Implements: Spoken among the ruins of a bowling alley: "And they didn't rob us, they just wanted to try this new kind of bowling with--" "A jackhammer, some marmolade, and a pack of wild panthers."
  • Noodle Incident: "Need I remind you of the time with the floor waxer, the jar of peanut butter, and my VCR?"
  • The Notable Numeral: The Fearsome Five.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Agent Grizzlikoff.
  • Official Couple: Darkwing and Morgana, who were eventually going to get married and have kids together down the line if the show had continued.
    • Well, they might have that chance in the comics.
  • Off-Model: The show fell victim to this every so often.
    • The episode "Whiffle While You Work" is a particularly good example of this, as Whiffle Boy changes sizes pretty frequently like most of the characters.
  • Oh Wait, This Is My Grocery List: "In Like Blunt" and in "Beauty and the Beet."
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The superpowered galvanized NegaDuck I.

NegaDuck: Crimes?! Who cares about crimes?! I'm into mindless wanton destruction!

  • Once an Episode: "Let's get dangerous!" and "I am the terror..." The latter often gets used more than once an episode.
  • One Head Taller: Morgana to Darkwing.
  • One of the Boys.
  • One Steve Limit: It's shown in Megavolt's origin story that he wanted to call himself Megawatt but settled on Megavolt when the school band protested that they picked the name first.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: According to Gosalyn in the episode "Jurassic Jumble", Honker's real name is Herbert Muddlefoot Jr.
  • Out of Order: Like most of the Disney cartoons of the time, the episodes weren't shown in the order they were written. But because of the superhero format of the series, villain origin stories were shown after episodes they appeared.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Morgana, Dr. Sara Bellum, Dr. Rhoda Dendron and Bianca Beakley a.k.a. The Bugmaster.
  • Papa Wolf: Darkwing for Gosalyn. Generally, putting her in danger is an easy way to prompt him to show just how competent he really is.
  • Parental Bonus: Waaaaay too many to list. See the Shout Out page for just a few examples.
  • Planet of Hats: Comet Guy comes from a planet where everyone is a superhero. Then there's the Brainteasers who come from a literal planet of hats.
  • Planimal: Dr. Bushroot, who turned himself into a half-plant, half-duck in a failed experiment.
  • Playing with Fire: Comet Guy can do this.
    • Also Hotshot from the episode "Heavy Mental".
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: Liquidator lost his powers to change water temperature and create "hard water" after his only solo episode. His regular water powers seemed to get downgraded too, and in one Fearsome Five episode, he was shown being restrained by being tied to the other bad guys with a rope. Slightly subverted in the Boom! comics; apparently, he's picked up some new tricks while he was Quackwerks' water supply...
  • Power of Friendship: Playing straight quite often, but highlighted in "Paint Misbehavin'", in the moment with Frankie Ferret, the superhero with Friend Power.

Darkwing: Wow! Friend Power really worked!
Gosalyn: Yeah, but it was so gross.
Launchpad: So, you two, have you learned the lesson from this?
Darkwing: Oh, I sure have. We got to join together, in friendship, and mercilessly crush our enemies into pieces!

  • Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: Several of these, as fits the style of the show.
  • Projectile Toast
  • Pstandard Psychic Pstance: The episode "Heavy Mental" is full of this.
    • Flygirl especially qualifies.
  • Psychic Powers: The whole point of the episode "Heavy Mental".
  • Psycho Electro: Megavolt.
  • Punny Name: Dr Sarah Bellum (no relation), Bud Flood (water salesman), Elmo Sputterspark (better known as the villain Megavolt), Morgana's family name as MacCawber (macabre).
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Literally. Drake Mallard's typical outfit is a green sweater vest and pink collared shirt.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: J. Gander Hooter.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Dark Warrior Duck completely embodies this trope.
  • Red Mage: Morgana, to a literal and figurative extent.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Inverted for Darkwing, who wears dark clothes but is the Red Oni, and Launchpad who wears red clothes, but is the Blue Oni.
    • Played straight with Gosalyn and Honker.
    • Also Quakerjack and Megavolt.
    • There's also Hotshot and Flygirl.
  • The Remnant
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Jumbalaya Jake's alligator sidekick Gumbo easily qualifies for this.
  • The Reveal: Issue #3 of the Boom series is four reveals: why Darkwing and Launchpad "broke up," why Darkwing quit being a superhero, why Quackerjack hates NegaDuck, and who the founder of Quackwerks is. The answer to the last: why, it's Taurus Bulba, of course. Then Issue #4 finally shows us where NegaDuck's been hiding the whole time...
  • The Rival: Duckburg's own hometown superhero, Gizmoduck. The irony being that his alter ego, Fenton Crackshell, more than likely wouldn't stand a chance against Drake one on one sans his robotic armor.
    • Unless their confrontation somehow involved counting piles of stuff.
  • Rogues Gallery: NegaDuck, Bushroot, Megavolt, the Liquidator, Taurus Bulba, Steel Beak, etc.
  • Running Gag
    • The episode "Comic Book Capers" went so far as to feature a caricatured Native American named Little Running Gag.
    • In an argument between Darkwing/Drake and Gosalyn, they'll usually mention Gosalyn's dirty room, but retort that Gosayln never cleans her room.

Tropes S-Z

  • The Scottish Trope: An eerie music piece starts playing every time somebody says 'The Library of Forbidden Spells'. It’s discussed by Darkwing and Morgana's father.
  • Secret Identity Identity: There's no evidence that Darkwing had a secret identity before his decision to adopt Gosalyn. It's entirely possible he made up Drake Mallard just to facilitate the adoption; he certainly seems unfamiliar with normal, day-to-day life.
    • Except that the episode "Clash Reunion" specifically shows that his name was in fact Drake Mallard in high school. Which means he likely simply gave up the identity to be a hero, then took it back up to be Gosalyn's father.
  • Servile Snarker: Gumbo.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: For whatever reason, one of the alternate Darkwings ("Gill-Duck" Darkwing) talks like this.
  • Sexophone: For Rhoda Dendron, in Beauty and the Beet.
  • Shapeshifter Swan Song: Camille Chameleon gets a spectacular one when Darkwing figures that chameleons are very sensitive to temperature changes.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Steelbeak, Tuskernini, Taurus Bulba, and Professor Moliarty. Darkwing and Negaduck to a lesser extent.
  • Shiny Midnight Black: Morgana and Sara Bellum's hair colors can be described as this.
  • Shorter Means Smarter: Honker is the shortest member of his family, and along with Gosalyn, one of the shortest members of the series, and he is easily one of the smartest.
    • This is inverted with Dr. Sara Bellum, who is one of the taller members of the show, but still one of the most brilliant.
    • Darkwing is one of the shortest adult characters in the show and is one of the smartest, certainly smarter than his towering sidekick, Launchpad.
  • Shout-Out: So many, the series borders on Reference Overdosed. Go here for specifics.
  • Show Within a Show: "Pelican's Island", among others.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Ammonia Pine is a neat freak obsessed with cleaning while her sister Ample Grime is a slob who loves dirt.
  • Smooch of Victory: Morgana gives Darkwing one every so often, and Gosalyn kisses Honker on the cheek when they are at the museum tracking down Stegmutt in "Jurassic Jumble".
  • Smug Super: GizmoDuck, although Darkwing imagines this to be worse than it is.
    • More like dueling Smug Supers. Darkwing's got a better record, GizmoDuck has better powers, and neither wants the other to forget it.
  • Someday This Will Come in Handy: Invoked with transparent foreshadowing by Darkwing's mentors in his origin story (as he tells it to Gosalyn anyhow)
  • Species Surname: Nearly every character; a rather creative example is the civilian name of the main character: Drake Mallard. Obviously, it's the term for a male duck and a common breed, yet they're also real names. Still, most species surnames are variants: McQuack, Mallard, Macawbre, Waddlemeyer, Hooter, Bulba, Moliarty, Tuskernini, Grizzlikov).
  • Spiritual Successor Spin-Off: To DuckTales (1987).
    • One of DuckTales (1987)' secondary characters (Launchpad) is promoted to Main Character, and another (Fenton "Gizmoduck" Crackshell) becomes a recurring character.
  • Stable Time Loop: Apparently, young Drakey Mallard was bullied as a boy, until a time-travelling hero came back and showed him how to stand up for himself. He eventually grew up to be Darkwing Duck, and one day, he got his hands on SHUSH's time machine golf cart and ended up back in the days of his childhood. He then saw a robbery taking place and arrested the thugs, inspiring a nearby boy to stand up for himself. Three guesses who the boy was?
  • Superhero
  • Super-Hero Origin: Several different mutually-conflicting ones, actually, thanks to the Negative Continuity. Or just Unreliable Narrator.
  • Superheroes Wear Capes
  • Super Speed: "Going Nowhere Fast".
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Gosalyn knows nothing about a pig, and was nowhere near the boys restroom at the time.
    • Nor is the Mallard family involved in a criminal conspiracy (which is actually a subversion, seeing as they really weren't, but were trying to get Tuskernini to believe they were)
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Agent Grizzlikoff, at times.
  • Take That: "A Star Is Scorned" not just take shots at Executive Meddling but also a vicious potshot at another cartoon that was on at the time. You see, the plot involved the guy in charge of the show retooling the show with Bushroot as the star. One idea was that Bushroot would be an environmental superhero with Herb & Binkie Muddlefoot now cast as a construction worker and a "high powered, money grubbing land developer with no redeeming values whatsoever" respectively. Does that sound familiar?
  • Taking Over the Town: "Just Us Justice Ducks".
  • Talking to Himself: Jim Cummings was Darkwing, Negaduck, Herb, and Moliarty.
    • In most dubs Darkwing and Negaduck share a voice actor.
      • In Mexico, Arturo Mercado is Darkwing, Negaduck, and Bushroot.
  • Tall, Dark and Bishoujo: Morgana, Dr. Sara Bellum, Phoenix Splatter, and Bianca Beakley a.k.a. The Bugmaster.
  • Temporary Blindness: In the episode "Duck Blind".
  • Tempting Fate: A constant source of humor. Taken to a hilarious extreme in "Bad Luck Duck," where a disbelieving Darkwing is struck with a bad luck curse, and constantly practically dares the universe to prove it. It does.

Darkwing (almost falling off the hideout): "You see? My luck isn't bad! I could have fallen a thousand feet to my demise!" (falls)
Darkwing: "You see? My luck isn't bad! I could have been hit by a car!" (gets hit by a car).
Darkwing: "You see? My luck isn't bad..." (etc)

  • Ten-Minute Retirement: Darkwing has done this. Multiple times.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You:
    • One episode had Gosselyn somehow create evil clones of herself with Personality Powers, who are eventually captured and trapped somewhere. The villain, who had helped with the capture, warns the protagonists that the evil clones could come back if they wanted—all they'd need was a particular device. The screen fades to black, and then the clones appear onscreen, the leader saying "Hey, kid...we need you to get something for us." All three of them suddenly lean forward, giggling "Pretty pleeeaaase?" The device in question is a Particle Accelerator, which becomes doubly funny when you get older and realize that CR Ts, found in every television set in the world back then, are particle accelerators.
    • NegaDuck once threatens a news reporter by crawling through the TV he's displayed on into the studio.
  • Thememobile: Thunderquack, Ratcatcher.
  • Theme Naming: Launchpad McQuack.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Megavolt in "The Frequency Fiends". ("I just can't get that song out of my head!")
  • There Are No Therapists: At least, none that can be trusted.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • The Scream
  • The Television Talks Back: When NegaDuck I marches into a theater to watch an action movie, he gets annoyed when he realizes it's a Tastes Like Diabetes animated film about talking rabbits (one wonders how he missed the giant sign outside stating just that). He gets into an argument with the rabbits on the screen before dispersing them and the audience with a rifle. Then he proceeds to jump into the screen and roll out in a tank.
  • Time Skip: The 2010 "Duck Knight Returns" series picks up the story about a year and a half after the last episode of the TV show, showing how the characters' lives have changed in the interim.
  • Time Travel
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Morgana is significantly taller than Darkwing.
  • Title Montage: As with most Disney Afternoon shows, the opening is (mostly) made up of clips from the series.
  • To the Batpole: As noted above, the secret recliner entrance to his base.
  • Tomboy: Gosalyn.
  • Took a Level In Badass: Binkie Muddlefoot when she hits her head and temporarily becomes "The Canardian Guardian, Champion Of Safety".
  • Toon Physics: Hoo, boy. At least ten times an episode, Darkwing survives injuries and falls that would easily kill a real person.
    • YMMV if this tends to work against the show's aversion to Never Say "Die", though they do play with it, like in the episode "Film Flam", when DW is trying to be a good father and get Gosalyn to watch more appropriate movies:

Drake: (watching a cartoon where a character gets squashed by an anvil) Now, Gosalyn... in real life, if you get hit with an anvil, you don't just pop back up like that.
(one minute later, after being squashed by a space octopus)
Drake: Here, Gosalyn, the perfect example of what we were talking about. If this happened to a cartoon character, he'd just say "iii-eee" or "yeah" and then resume his shape. I, on the other hand, am experiencing pain like you wouldn't believe.