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File:Trauma060.jpg
"Darkness suits you, Mr. Paperinik."
—Leonard Vertighel, PKNA #22 (Fragments of Autumn)

Paperinik New Adventures is perhaps one of the strangest (to outsiders), but also one of the most interesting things, the Italian Disney comics have ever produced.

The main character? Paperinik (sometimes known in the English-speaking parts of the world as Superduck, The Duck Avenger, or a whole slew of other names that never really seemed to stick), a small-time superhero who has been defending the city of Duckburg against its criminals for years.

You probably know him better as his civilian personality, Donald Duck.

In an obvious case of Italians Love Donald Duck, the character of Paperinik was created way back in the sixties as a Gentleman Thief Secret Identity to make Donald Duck less of a loser and capitalize upon the success these kinds of stories were having in the country at the time (see Diabolik, which also inspired Paperinik's name — "Paperino" is Donald Duck's italian name), but he quickly switched from avenging the wrongs he suffered in his Donald Duck persona to generally fighting crime, thanks to the various super-gadgets built for him by Gyro Gearloose. For forty years, many stories about him were written, most of them totally out of continuity, and some even contradicting previously established facts, with the popularity of the character waxing and waning in cycles, though it was always well-received.

In the late 1990s, during a phase of lack of inspiration for the classical Paperinik stories, PKNA comes in as an attempt to write single-issue adventures that would fit into an over-arching continuity; a "disruptive" project commissioned to a group of mostly young talents, who had no problem admitting that they were "trying to play Marvel". (This was the only comic book that Disney Italy published in the American comic book form factor, further emphasizing the attempt to compete with them on their own ground.)

It all starts when, while patrolling the city, Paperinik runs into a TV star being attacked by aliens, and all his weapons prove to be useless against them — he's only saved by the intervention of the police. Soon afterwards, Donald Duck gets a job as the caretaker of his uncle's new purchase, a 150-floor-tall skyscraper (the Ducklair Tower), and accidentally discovers that the building actually has 151 floors: the "secret floor" is home to an AI (Uno, "one" in Italian), created by the original owner of the building, who decides to assist Paperinik in his new battles against time-pirates, mad scientists and alien invaders where his old gear would be of no help. And Paperinik is going to need all the help he can get, because he is soon facing major disasters, and even a battle for the very future of planet Earth.

Paperinik New Adventures ran for 53 monthly issues (March, 1996-January, 2001) plus three extra issues detailing various elements of the Backstory and focusing on minor characters. It was followed by another series in the same continuity, PK^2, which was not quite as successful, and ended after 24 issues. That, in turn, was followed by an Ultimate Universe continuity reboot, called simply PK, which was even less successful and quickly folded. The first series, considered one of the best thing Disney ever did by a very loyal fan community, has been re-printed recently in Italy.

The original series was never translated into English, but the series reboot, PK, is now available for iPhone, iPod Touch, and PSP. Hopefully, if these comics are a success, the classic series will get a translation as well.

Till then, a scanlation project of the original series is currently working through the series. It can be found here.

A video game was made, and even released in English, but it wasn't very successful. Nor related with the original comic books in any substantial way. A second video game, this time for mobile phones was also released. It features a mix of the classic Paperinik with the DuckTales universe and it's much, much better than the other game.

Compare Darkwing Duck, another Disney series about a superheroic waterfowl.

Tropes used in Paperinik New Adventures include:


  • Affectionate Parody: Angus, of J. Jonah Jameson.
    • To clarify: Angus usually tries to ruin Paperinik's reputation for no apparent reason, but he's also a surprisingly capable journalist, who apparently became famous for exposing a traffic of NUCLEAR WEAPONS, exposing a member of the Congress in the process and is hellbent on exposing the crimes of a Corrupt Corporate Executive.
  • A God Am I: when one of the Evrons ( the scientist Zoster) manages to acquire Xadhoom's powers, and to a degree Leonard Vertighel, the greatest android designer of the 23rd century ( who goes crazy trying to create the perfect woman).
  • AI Is a Crapshoot: Due, and a band of XXIII century Time Police droids in one issue.
  • Aliens Speaking Italian: handwaved once, when an alien explains his training includes cosmic languages. Played straight most of the times, though. When asked about it, the authors hypothesized aliens may have learned it by watching subbed sci-fi movies.
  • All Just a Dream: All the adventures in issue #26 ("Time is Fleeting") turn out to be the demo of a futuristic TV show. And also the close of issue #43 ("All in Good Time") leaves some doubts...
  • Almighty Janitor: When he's not busy saving the world, Donald is an errand boy at the Ducklair Tower offices. Also Ziggy, the other errand boy, had brilliantly passed the exams to become an intelligence agent before he decided it wasn't the life he wanted. In the second series, Pk2, our hero finds aid in Lyo, who is the custodian of an abandoned factory, but in his day he was the tech supervisor of a superhero named Astrongman.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: the Xerbians.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: lots.
    • Phlebotinum Breakdown: "Someone will have to explain me what's advanced technology for, if batteries are out!" (Paperinik in #32). Not to mention when Uno gets infected by a virus in #23.
  • Art Shift: The flashback/nightmare PK is forced to relive in Trauma.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: True for Evrons with military power: with the exception of the occasion Giant Mook, low-ranking troopers are as strong as the average human being; officers haven't been shown in physical combat, but are more muscolar than the troopers; all known generals but two (an unknown high ranking political general and pre-Super Soldier Trauma) are tall, muscolar and one even survived a direct hit from Xadhoom; members of the Imperial Senate are like the generals, only bigger; finally the Imperial caste have the ability to fire lethal beams from the non-talking head, with the Emperor having serious muscles too and proving he can handily defend himself.
    • The Xerbians have a variant, as the authority depends from the IQ: the higher it is, the greatest is your authority. That came to bite them back in the ass: pre-superpowered Xadhoom may have been the most intelligent Xerbian in history, but became the president when she was still too young and naive, and was the main force behind Xerba signing a commercial treaty with Evron.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: PK and Xadhoom are often portrayed like this.
  • Badass Boast: Hilaryously subverted in the very first issue.

 Paperinik(while defending a woman from the Coolflames : Don't worry:when the game gets tough...i wish i was somewhere else.

    • Played straight with the narration monologue in issue 10:

 By day, this is my city. By night, this city is mine.

  • Badass Abnormal: Paperinik himself in issue 40.
  • Badass Normal: Several.
  • BFG: The Evrons creates one able to absorb the power of a SUN.Granted,only for a fraction of second,but still...
  • Big Damn Heroes: Xadhoom is introduced this way. See Establishing Character Moment below.
  • Big No: ...and immediately after it, Trauma meets his first defeat.
  • Body Horror: most of the members of the Evronian Imperial Council and the Emperor have two heads: one on their shoulders, and an eyeless one on the tip of their tail. Not horrified yet? Very well. Did I mention that the eyeless tail-head is the sentient one?
    • Actually, it's the one that does the talking. The other has a Breath Weapon.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Eugene Photomas,widely considered one of the best lawyer of the 23th century...now,if only he could remember which case they were discussing...
  • Brain Uploading: The Ultimate Universe Continuity Reboot had this trope when Lyonard D'Aq uploaded his brain as a side result of him exploring a virtual world. Then this trope became a Chekhov's Gun when after Lyonard got Killed Off for Real (or, more precisely, got devolved into the monstrous Lyozard and then got killed off) and Uno downloaded the data version of his brain into a (superpowered, of course) bionic body.
  • Brains and Brawn: Paperinik and Xadhoom,with a very interesting twist:while Xadhoom is a Genius Bruiser,her favorite strategy is "go in there and destroy everybody",meaning that Pikappa is the one who must calm her down and formulate a plan.
  • Bruce Wayne Held Hostage
  • The Cameo: In issue #12, third panel of page 19, one of the screens depicting recordings of the timeline has Mickey Mouse from Steamboat Willie.
  • Christmas Episode: Issue #13, The Darkest Night.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: once two Evrons were threathened with assignment to hunt Xadhoom if they failed their given task.
    • It was cool and unusual, but it was also a death sentence: every single time the Evrons tried to ambush her, she would fall right into the trap [1] and then blast it open with her sheer power before killing every single Evron and blow everything up.
  • Cool Car: The Pi-kar, the hero's flying car, equipped with any kind of gadgets and weapons, just like the Batmobile. Of course, it comes with a Cool Garage with a lot of secret exits (and full of other Cool Cars, but Uno does not allow Paperinik to use them)
    • Correction: Uno doesn't allow -Donald Duck- to use them, as they would draw too much attention and people would start making questions and pondering things if they suddenly see Donald Duck driving a superfancy car instead of his old 313.
    • Speaking of Donald's old 313 car, it begins the series on all of it's old and awesome glory (among other things, it could fly) but it's destroyed by Xadhoom during a confusing first impression, hence why Donald is now driving a new car.
      • The 313 with the X plate is officially known as the "313-X". It's basically the same car as ever, plus some additions built by Gyro Gearloose in the more traditional - and milder - Paperinik stories. Said additions give Donald the possibility to switch between the 313 and the 313-X at will, whenever he needs to do so; and given Paperinik has no superpowers, like Batman, the 313-X can be similarly compared to a downgraded Batmobile.
  • Crack Pairing: In-Universe:Angus Fangus once went on a date with Xadhoom
  • Darker and Edgier: unquestionably so, if compared to the not-quite-Marvel-like Paperinik stories from the more family-friendly Topolino (Italian for Mickey Mouse) comic book. To clarify, the first volume of the trade paperback Compilation Rerelease features a behind-the-scenes about how the series came to be: it includes such stuff as "Duckburg becoming a big metropolis like the Gotham City seen in the movies, although obviously not as dark", and some ideas go as far as having "dream fights in A Nightmare on Elm Street-like situations (within Disney-level limits!)". The fact that characters are actually Killed Off for Real is only a natural consequence.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Uno and Paperinik.
  • Deep-Immersion Gaming / Unusual User Interface: The Ducklair Tower has a room that basically amounts to a holodeck, used to explore computer programs from the inside. Downside: the projections are very realistic and there are no security measures -- meaning that if someone is injured they get hurt for real.
  • Demoted to Extra: Scrooge McDuck is the only member of the regular Disney Ducks apart from Donald who gets any amount of screen-time in this series (even Huey, Dewey and Louie are Put on a Bus), but he has a very minor role and barely gets involved in the plots.
  • Depending on the Artist: With over twenty artist that have worked on the project, it's inevitable. See here for a quick example.
  • Disney Death: Averted. In a Disney comic. That is not from Marvel.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: Urk. In one issue, overjoyed because he finally returned to his own dimension, he hugs Paperinik. Cue crunching sound.

 Urk: "Uh... Sorry. Did that hurt?"

Paperinik: "Just a couple of ribs. Don't worry, I have more."

 Uno: Can you answer a question?

Paperinik: Sure, shoot. * Paperinik is surrounded by lots of guns* Halt! You AIs are a bit too literal minded, aren't you?

  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Xadhoom", in Xerbian, means "Creditor", as the Evrons "owe her her race".
    • Odin Eidolon: "odin" means "one" in Russian, "eidolon" means "image" or "mirror" in Greek. In fact, Odin Eidolon is a mirror image of Uno.
    • Angus Fangus, fango meaning mud in Italian, and his less-than-immaculate deontological ethics.
    • The Well. You get thrown in, you can't get out. But you can be dragged up if the Evrons think you are able to do a hard job.
  • Meanwhile in the Future: Used painfully straight in one instance.
  • Mobile Maze: the entire Ducklair Tower can became one, much to Uno's fun.
  • My God, You Are Serious: Played straight by agent Mary Ann Flagstarr in issue #4, Earthquake.

 Flagstarr: If I were you I wont let (Paperinik) escape, Cooper, unless you wish to wait for your retirement working in a radar station in Alaska.

(Later, to a completely different subordinate for a completely different failure): Start packing, boy, and leave your bermudas at home. You wont need them in Alaska.

 (looking at pictures of PK and Donald): Uhm... without mask and and with mask... It wasn't so hard, after all.

    • Also, everyone knows that Paperinik has various perfect masks, including some of Donald himself. People probably figured out he's wearing a Donald's mask over his true face. Plus, in a non-Paperinik New Adventures story there was a memorable incident of the Beagle Boys unmasking PK and discovering the face of billionaire John D. Rockerduck, then he sneezed away the mask revealing the face of Donald, then he sneezed away that mask too to reveal a monstrous face (he was having issues with the glue of his masks): after that only people who are from outside the city would think they can discover his face that easy...
  • PG Rated Opening: while probably not as merciless as an actual R-Rated Opening, the cold opening to the first issue isn't exactly family friendly either. It starts with the Evrons raiding a planet, and with what appears to be a young Xadhoom letting out a Big No. Another example of Disney getting dangerous.
  • Planet Looters: The Evrons.
  • Platonic Life Partners: Donald and Lyla.
  • Prison Episode: The Day That Will Come, set inside the chronostatic prison Time Zero.
  • Prophet Eyes: Xadhoom and most of the Evrons.
  • Punny Name: Oberon De Spair. Bonus points for him behaving like an expy of Doctor Doom, and coming from an expy of Ruritania, Belgravia.
  • Ruritania: as said above, Belgravia, Oberon De Spair's home country.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Geena
  • Secret Identity Identity, lampshaded when Donald is about to get into a fight with a man over a packet of potato chips (long story):

 Donald: Over the years I've fought alien vampires, cyborgs, supercriminals. I've beaten enemies this idiot couldn't hope to even come close to. I could put him in his place in two seconds flat. But that would mean erasing the distinction between Donald and Paperinik. And I can't allow that.

Donald: "...alright, you can keep it."

Man: "Wise decision."

  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Paperinik teams up with the Raider to prevent his city from being blown to smithereens.
  • Shapeshifter Weapon: PK's Extransformer, which can -among other cool functions- change its shape from square to circular and transform into a boomerang, a drill, a suitcase, and a robotic puppy.
  • Shout-Out: To Watchmen in #4.
  • Show Within a Show: Several.
  • Shut UP, Hannibal: Paperinik is really good at those:especially seen in his confrontations with The Griffin and Ahrimadz.
  • Strange Bedfellows: Paperinik and the Evrons, on at least two occasions, and Paperinik and the Raider, on at least four occasions.
  • Super Soldier: One-off Evron character Trauma willingly chose to become one.
  • Superpower Meltdown: If Xadhoom loses control, she turns into a supernova. No, really.
  • Take Over the World: What Due tries to do.
    • Subverted in #22: Paperinik thinks that Lyla's designer, Leonard Vertighel altered robots to take over the world, but he mocks him on hearing this ("Be frank with me: you read a lot of comic books, do you?"): in fact, he "just" wanted to create the perfect woman.
    • Also lampshaded in the Omake chapter in #10, starring Angus:

 Fang-Ho: "That nice gadget, placed on the back of your neck, will turn you into a faithful servant, whose only will will be... mine! Each new servant will make new devices that, in turn, will make new servants, until I have an endless army at my command! Do you know what I'll do then?"

Angus: "You'll Take Over the World?"

(Beat)

Fang-Ho: "There must have been an information leak!"

  • Theme Naming:
    • Uno and Due ("one" and "two" in Italian).
    • In #39 there are three siblings named Alpha, Bravo and Charlie. And their surname is Delta. Charlie Delta's buddy is named... Gamma.
      • When Gamma lampshaded it, Charlie explained that their parents are in the military intelligence, and picked their names from the NATO phonetic alphabet, in alphabetical order. He then added that if they had younger siblings they would be Delta Delta, Echo Delta and Foxtrot Delta.
    • Two twin robbers named Castor and Pollux in #18.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The tibetan monks with whom Everett Ducklair trains.
  • They Call Me Mister Tibbs, in the fourth issue:

 Evron soldier and Angus: "Paperinik!"

Paperinik: "That's right. My friends call me PK, but you may call me Mr. Paperinik."

Angus: "I've never been so glad to see you, Paperinik! Save me!"

Paperinik: "I was talking to you too, Angus."

  • Those Two Guys: Two sets of them -- a pair of soldiers serving under Wisecube / Westcock and an Odd Couple of Organization henchmen.
  • Time Bomb: It doesn't need to be a bomb: in issue #4 ("Earthquake") it's an earthquake machine - of course, it's unarmed Just in Time. And when the bomb cannot be unarmed, it can be thrown towards an enemy (#7, "Invasion").
    • Sometimes it's a Self-Destruct Mechanism: e.g. in issue #12 (the countdown cannot be stopped, of course: someone will have to self-sacrifice and take the damage) and #15.
    • Subverted in #31: the bad guy just clicks his remote, and one hundred bombs go off.
  • Time Police: literally and actually referred to as such.
  • Time Travel
  • Token Minority: Angus
  • Took a Level In Badass: It's DONALD freaking DUCK, people.
    • And in the third PK series, PK is pissed. Saying why would be a spoiler, but let's just say that what happened is enough to make him actually consider killing someone.[2]
    • In all continuities Paperinik had little issues at killing people... If it's absolutely necessary and/or the enemy is actively trying to kill him. Murder of a defenseless enemy, however, it's something else... And in the above part of the entry, he was charging a small laser cannon aimed at the head of a now defenseless Mad Scientist.
  • Took a Level In Dumbass: Inverted:while he is nowhere near as smart as Xadhoom or Uno(he even jokingly said he gets out of elementary school only because of seniority),in this series Paperinik/Donald Duck is very intuitive,clever and able to make plans on the spot.
  • Tranquil Fury: this comic series has the weirdest example of all in XADHOOM of all people. It's not apparent due the fact she's always killing Evronians in the most painful way she knows while thinking how to make their deaths more humiliating, but then a short story showed her allowing a tiny bit of hatred and rage flow free for a single istant, and kill by indigestion an Evronian cyborg capable to harness the energy of the emotions of everyone in the area. That's how we know she's in Tranquil Fury, that and the fact she ever went in Unstoppable Rage for a single instant she'd become a nova and destroy a solar system.
  • Twenty Minutes Into the Future, at least judging by the tech level of the series: the US military, for instance, has both projectile and beam weapons and both tanks and combat robots.
  • Two Aliases One Character: Uno and Odin Eidolon.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: The three leaders of The Organization.
    • Also,every time Pikappa team-ups with Lyla and Urk.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Trauma in Issue #10 actually begs Paperinik for mercy after the duck valiantly fights off the villain's fear inducing abilities (see trope icon above) and Paperinik spares his life...AFTER noting how pathetic Trauma's acting.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Paperinik and Xadhoom are a type 1,with Xadhoom as the offender.However,this is already a good thing,considering she seems always angry at the rest of the universe.
  • We Come in Peace, Shoot to Kill: The Evrons did it with Xerba, as the Xerbian orbital defenses were too powerful for a frontal assault.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Fairfax, kinda. Fighting overpopulation with the creation of a new continent...and the destruction of the West Coast in the process.
    • Geena is a Deconstruction :she wants to (change history to made droids equals to humans,even going as far as destroying the only safe way to keep an eye on history) .However,after seeing the actual results (in the future she created,machines think of themselves as superior,and a war is about to explode) ,she (sacrifice herself to stop it) .
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: there was an Evronian invasion fleet hidden in the asteroid belt, yet by the time we last see the Evronians nobody speak of them anymore.
    • At the end of issue #9 The Springs Of The Moon, it is revealed that evronian general Zargon is Not Quite Dead. Unfortunately, we'll never hear about him again.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Pikappa saves the whole temporal continuum using (a tie)). Only in this comic could that make sense.
  • What Is This Thing You Call Love?: Gorthan shows a growing interest for human emotions and culture, to the point he develops an autonomous personality (and studying Shakespeare). This gets him in trouble with his hive-minded, militaristic kin.
  • What If: the last issue of the first series.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: The character of Paperinik was originally created as Donald's way to get back at everyone who laughed at him, and committed various acts over the boundaries of legality (starting with stealing Scrooge's mattress while he was sleeping on it) to humiliate Donald's foes. While toned down in this series, remnants of that characterization are still present, especially in his dealings with Angus (like justifying his temporary disappearance with a video that shows him and PK celebrating Angus' birthday as two good friends).
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: Angus, because of the above mentioned parodying. The big difference is that basically no one believes his farfetched theories about Paperinik being the bad guy.

 Angus: "No wonder. Even an idiot would've noticed a connection between Paperinik's actions and the crime escalation!"

Newscopter pilot: "Yeah! YOU were the first to say that."

Notes

  1. even when she guesses it but still charges in because there's a lot of Evrons there. Particularly egregious when a group of Evrons masked themselves as Xerbians (Xadhoom's people) but accidentally blew up their cover by not knowing what a Xarghon was: Xadhoom played along to get some laugh as the false Xerbians tried to guess what it was, then told them she knew everything and what a Xarghon was (the traditional Xerbian dance of welcome) before killing every single ambusher
  2. Comparison: to put that in perspective, the only time it happened to Spider-Man, it was in the "Back in Black" storyline, where a similar pressure of his Berserk Button made Spidey wonder, "was I actually going to kill him? The answer comes straight away. Yes, I was.".
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