Duke Duck’s battle against GodCorp continues in this issue, by the usual team of Gerber/Kirby/Alcala for the story “Pheromones”. The issue opens with some odd imagery and nice action as Duke finds himself awakening in a body bag in an animal control van, escaping with a wild doberman hot on his heels. He finds refuge in the home of Brad White, lonely phone company employee who has an apartment full of telephones, including one of Vanilla Cupcake™, a GodCorp owned character.
Which brings us to the corporate greed segment of this issue, as we switch to GodCorp and find out they’ve disavowed operative Medea from the previous issue and then distracted the press with an appearance by Vanilla Cupcake™, their latest hit merchandising brand in the form of a little girl made to look like a doll. Back with Duke, we find out that Brad’s neighbour Beryl is in fact the older sister of Vanilla Cupcake™ and find out their origin, which involves a mutation that makes the girls give off a pheromone which the Packer brothers of GodCorp were extracting to use in making irresistible merchandise. Beryl escaped and now joins with Duke in his quest to take down GodCorp in her identity as Cherries Jubilee.
Along the way we get the return of everyone’s favourite company shill, Booster Cogburn. This time around he perishes in a satisfying hail of bullets proclaiming “If I want my employee rights– I gotta make good my employee wrongs!” Oh Booster, will you never learn?
(I’ve gotten a surprising number of hits on this site from people searching for “Cogburn”, so I might have to actually explain the joke when I cover the next issue, which has his origin. It’s a bit mean, but funny mean. You can find out more in Gerber’s interview in TJKC #10)
As our intrepid squad prepares to leave for Hoqoom, site of an upcoming Vanilla Cupcake™ appearance, they’re suddenly over-run by multiple Cogburns.
Lots of fun, Kirby’s art seems to be getting a bit looser as this point, but there’s still a lot of imagination and really strong on the action scenes. Gerber was doing some inspired stuff in this. They should really consider a reprint of this at some point, now that GodCorp seems to be finding a market for later Kirby collections.