With the world threatened to fall under the sway of the sinister Despoina, her Shadow Society and the pending arrival of the Reaper King, writer Brandon Seifert and artist Karl Moline give readers “Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird” #5, the final chapter of this series. For those late to the party, Seifert provides a recap in the opening pair of pages through the words of Roland Keep, uncle of the series’ main protagonists, Maxwell and Melody.
Seifert writes the Keep family in a slightly more hip way than the families found on the made-for-Disney Channel movies. While none of the characters are overly developed, it’s not hard to imagine Johnny Depp plugged into Roland’s role, bringing his charisma and charm that made his run as Jack Sparrow so well received. The story that Seifert plugs the Keeps into is a run of the mill, “Stop the villain by securing this artifact” story. The writer manages to craft enough wrinkles to keep it entertaining, but given this is the closing chapter of a Disney adventure, it’s a surefire lock that good will prevail. The methods and artifacts utilized along the way make the prevailing moment fun to achieve. Seifert leaves enough open subplots and unfinished thoughts to set up an eventual return to the “Seekers of Weird” and the Keep family Museum of the Weird.
Karl Moline and inker Rick Magyar pack a lot of detail into this comic, from the rows of shark teeth in the unicorn’s mouth to the grand hall in the Museum of the Weird. There are a few pages where Moline pulls the camera back to show the Museum’s splendor and glory for nice story choices that define the scale of the conflict raging for the Coffin Clock. The characters in the tale are animated and charming, but the Reaper King’s first full appearance strikes me as a twisted, dark version of the Kool-Aid Man. Other panels redeem the spookiness inherent in the character, but that first glance is just a little too goofy, even for a Disney comic. Letterer Joe Caramagna does a nice job throughout the issue, preserving action and enhancing the story. The sound effects are solid throughout, with the Coffin Clock’s chimes filling the halls of the museum. Caramagna takes readers a little deeper into the Museum of the Weird by giving readers a different font for the location identifiers. It’s a subtle switch-up from standard issue superhero tales, but an effective one.
Disney designer Rolly Crump’s Museum of the Weird is given room to grow in this series, but this final issue feels more like a Disney movie than an intended theme park attraction. While I doubt we’ll be seeing a Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Ride comic any time soon, the “Disney Kingdoms” brand does provide hope and potential for more entertaining stories about ideas spawned from the happiest place on Earth and its Imagineers. “Seekers of the Weird” #5 takes one of those ideas just far enough to set it up as a springboard to other media while opening the door for more ideas to follow suit.