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Western Animation / Darkwing Duck

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"I am the terror that flaps in the night! I am the winged scourge that pecks at your nightmares! I... am DARKWING DUCK!"
Darkwing Duck

Darkwing Duck was a superhero cartoon produced by Disney that ran from 1991 to 1992. 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 (not as much as Gargoyles, but it did go places that most of Disney's works wouldn't dream of going), 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 (though that episode ended up getting banned from syndication).

Armed with only a gas gun and a massive ego, Darkwing battled a Rogues Gallery of villains and defended the city of St. 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, fresh from DuckTales (1987), his adopted daughter Gosalyn, and the youngest son of his next door neighbors, Honker Muddlefoot. He also ran into a number of other heroes, usually not starting off on the best foot due to his own ego issues. These include Gizmoduck from DuckTales (1987), the duck-turned-dinosaur Stegmutt, the fish-turned-person Neptunia, and Morgana MacCawber, a sorceress and former crook who reformed and began dating Darkwing.

Darkwing faced a variety of villains, including the nefarious dimensional traveller NegaDuck, the comical but deadly electropath Megavolt, the plant/duck hybrid Bushroot, the scorned artist Splatter Phoenix, the insane clown Quackerjack, the movie maniac Tuskerninni, and the ruthless F.O.W.L. agents Steelbeak and Ammonia Pine. Also, some evil mind-controlling aliens that looked like hats.

The show was animated by eight different studios: Sunwoo Entertainment, South Korea (forty-one episodes), Hanho Heung-Up, South-Korea (fifteen episodes), Walt Disney Japan (thirteen episodes), Walt Disney Australia (nine episodes), Kennedy Cartoons, Canada (six episodes), Wang Film Productions, Taiwan (four episodes), Walt Disney France (two episodes) and Freelance, New-Zealand (one episode).

While the show was on TV, several complementary comic stories and illustrated books were released. Some of these were written by the show's scriptwriters and many feature villains not in the show. This all came to an end in 1996 and the license sat dormant until 2010, when Disney revived the franchise with the announcement of a brand-new 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 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. The license then went back into a slumber until February 2015, when all 2010-2011 comics but the de-canonized crossover were reprinted as a trade by Joe Books Inc., rewritten by original editor Aaron Sparrow to better fit the show's tone and featuring a new epilogue. The comic series, continuing from the epilogue, properly started in 2016 with a monthly schedule, but was cancelled again after eight issues.

There was also a well-received video game adaptation released for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Gameboy by Capcom that was effectively a shorter Mega Man (Classic) clone. There was also a TurboGrafx-16 game that was...less well received.

Tropes associated with this comic go here.

Has its own Shout Out page.

Darkwing was on the voting roster to be in Disney Infinity. He was neck-and-neck with Mabel, but both lost to Olaf, and with Disney's cancellation of the game and departure from the gaming business, only his gas gun and the Ratcatcher managed to make it into the game, as Power Discs.

Darkwing Duck makes some appearances in DuckTales (2017), both as a Show Within a Show of which Launchpad McQuack is a diehard fan and as an actual character. Starting in the second season the character was defictionalized in-universe, and Season 3 included an hour-long special establishing Darkwing as an active hero in St. Canard and reintroducing Gosalyn. In addition to this, the show also incorporated Darkwing's mythology to its plot througth the presence of the agencies S.H.U.S.H. and F.O.W.L. with Bentina Beakley, Scrooge McDuck's housekeeper, being established as a former S.H.U.S.H. agent and F.O.W.L. appearing in as villains in a season one episode and later as the main antagonists in season three, including Steelbeak. Both agencies also feature characters from previous Disney media outside Ducktales in its ranks. Shortly after the crossover, it was announced that a reboot of the show was being created for Disney+, but no one from the aforementioned Ducktales will be involved, instead being headlined by Seth Rogen and his production company Point Grey Pictures. Series creator Tad Stones has stated in an interview that, though officially retired, he will be consulting on the reboot. As a sort of Production Foreshadowing, Darkwing himself makes a cameo in another Disney Afternoon reboot, Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022) where he is seen complaining about the Rescue Rangers getting a reboot over him.

In January 2018, Darkwing Duck was added as a hero in Disney Heroes: Battle Mode. In a later update of the game, Gizmoduck and Megavolt were added to the roster as well. Both Darkwing and Gizmoduck are also in Disney Sorcerer's Arena (Gizmoduck was added in July 2020).

For another Disney duck superhero, check out Paperinik New Adventures; for a whole team of them, see Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series.

These are the tropes that flap in the night!

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    Tropes A-D 
  • Abnormal Ammo:
    • DW's gas gun could actually shoot just about anything that could fit in 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.)
  • Adaptational Name Change: The version of F.O.W.L. (Fiendish Organization for World Larceny) introduced in DuckTales (1987) episode "Double-O-Duck" was originally called the Foreign Organization for World Larceny.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Darkwing is a master at this. Some of the villains (e.g., Splatter Phoenix) also like to pepper some of their hammier speeches with alliteration.
  • Adoptive Name Change: Gosalyn's surname is changed from Waddlemeyer to Mallard after her adoption by Darkwing.
  • Adventurer Outfit: Launchpad, with an aviator cap and goggles, scarf, and bomber jacket.
  • 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. Then 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.
    • Played straight with the mutant characters in "Mutantcy on the Bouncy". The Rubber Chicken and Sneeze Master's real names are Clovis Cluckenhoff and Daphne Duckbill respectively, the remaining two heroic mutants go by Glue Gal and Banana Boy, and the villain Cement Head goes by the alias Swenlin Swine.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Or even plants, in case of Spike who loves playing fetch.
  • All Just a Dream: or was it? 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.
    • In "Ghoul of my Dreams" it does turn out to be All Just a Dream. Given that it's a fight against the Sandman, it's rather appropriate.
  • 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, a Mirror Universe in which everyone's personality is reversed. Gosalyn is sweet and obedient instead of rebellious (though still one of "the good guys"), Launchpad is efficient and bloodthirsty instead of clumsy but harmless, the Muddlefoots are leather-clad psychopaths rather than amiable nerds (except for Tank, who is intelligent and helpful instead of a selfish bully), and Quackerjack, the Liquidator, Bushroot, and Megavolt are eager but ineffectual heroes who oppose NegaDuck instead of eager but ineffectual villains who collaborate with him.
  • Always Know a Pilot: Darkwing encounters Launchpad by accident when he crashes through his ceiling during an opening chase with Taurus Bulba. This comes in handy a few days later when Darkwing needs a plane and a pilot to get to Bulba's floating fortress.
  • 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.
  • Amusing Injuries: Surprisingly for a Disney cartoon, this happens a lot. Darkwing is a frequent victim to this.
    • 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?
  • And I Must Scream:
  • Darkwing waking up as a brain in a jar after the aliens hijacked his body to kidnap Launchpad who is about to be crowned emperor of the galaxy (It Makes Sense in Context). He still manages to scream anyway despite having no mouth anymore.
  • Angst Coma:
    • When she runs into the resurrected Taurus Bulba, Gosalyn goes catatonic for a minute, forcing Honker to take control of the vehicle they're both in. Considering what he did to her grandfather, it's perfectly understandable.
    • In "Time and Punishment", Darkwing lapses into catatonia when Gosalyn disappears.
  • An Ice Person:
  • Animation Bump: Most noticeably in "Darkly Dawns The Duck". Really, most of the episodes done by Walt Disney Japan, "In Like Blunt" by the France studio, or their Australia studio qualify. Especially "Life, The Negaverse and Everything", "Dead Duck" and "Comic Book Capers". Select sequences from Hanho Heung-Up and Kennedy Cartoons' episodes too.
  • Anticipatory Lipstick: Morgana does this a few times, sometimes to genuinely show affections, other times because she did something bad and tries to distract DD. In her introduction episode "Fungus Amongus", she even puts on a special lipstick that would have made anyone she kisses a zombie with the intent to use it on DD.
  • Anti-Smother Love Talk: In the episode "The Quiverwing Quack", Gosalyn, as the titular superheroine, has been crime-fighting. However, Darkwing forbids her from doing so because he's afraid she'll get hurt. Launchpad gives Darkwing a talk he says his father gave him about how you have to let your children grow up and can't hold on too tightly.
  • Any Last Words?
  • Arbitrary Skepticism:
    • "Night of the Living Spud": "There are no vampire potatoes. Scientists who turn themselves into plants, yes. But vampire potatoes, that's ridiculous." (Ironically, Reginald Bushroot, the "scientist who turned himself into a plant" Darkwing was talking about, was the villain responsible for creating the vampire potato.)
    • In "The Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain", Darkwing refuses to believe that the events surrounding Paddywhack's box are supernatural for some time...this despite the fact that his girlfriend is a witch.
  • Arc Words: "Blathering blatherskites!" Overlaps with Catchphrase, but since it causes whoever says it to transform into Gizmoduck there's a bit more to it.
  • Arch-Enemy: D.W. has a habit of calling every enemy of his his archenemy for the sake of being dramatic, but it's more or less between Negaduck: his evil counterpart who matches him in every insidious way possible, Megavolt: the villain with whom he shares an origin and with whom he has fought the longest (having had more appearances than any other), and Dr. Slug: ostensibly the most dangerous villain he has ever faced, who has never shown up on camera for more than five seconds.
    • Megavolt is flattered that Darkwing Duck considers him his archnemesis.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Quite common.
    • One of Darkwing's catchphrases whenever he makes an entrance most definitely belongs in this trope. For example:
    • One hilarious example comes from the episode "Duck Blind", where D.W. is temporarily blinded, but sure that he can still do his job.
      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.
    • Also used in 'Time and Punishment', when Darkwarrior Duck goes from arresting someone for jaywalking to arrest someone for having a really bad haircut, and anything that would qualify as a crime by normal standards, it's implied he executes them.
    • In "Disguise the Limit", Negaduck disguises himself as Darkwing and commit crimes, including, as DW finds out from the TV announcer, "arson, burglary, hijacking, kidnapping, cat kicking, insider trading, and spitting on the sidewalk."
  • Artistic License – Economics: Lampshaded: Quackerjack's plan in "Toys Czar Us" involves making kids work in his factory, then paying them so they can buy his toys. Even the kids point out how roundabout and pointless the arrangement would be. Quackerjack is insane, after all.
    • Quackerjack's plan was crazy, but this can actually work, as a sane part of a broader economy. Henry Ford famously paid his workers well so that they would be able to afford Ford automobiles of their own, for example.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Launchpad was Darkwing Duck's biggest fan before becoming his sidekick.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Parodied with the tribal language in "Dances With Bigfoot," which consists of "Hummina-hummina-hummina <insert random word>"
  • Asshole Victim: Doctors Gary and Larson in "Beauty and the Beet". Somehow they manage to be schoolyard bullies despite being mega-nerd scientists. They torment Bushroot to the point where seeing him demolish them feels pretty gratifying. This combined with Bushroot's I Just Want to Be Loved feelings and general meekness makes it easy to feel badly for him even though he is a supervillian.
  • Axe-Crazy:
    • NegaDuck, a chainsaw and shotgun-wielding maniac who really hates cute fluffy little bunnies.
    • Quackerjack, whose toys are... not at all child-friendly.
    • Nega-Quackerjack in the Negaverse, though he's one of the good guys, still makes a toy Monster Clown that has several axes pop out of it (albeit a helpful multiple-axe-wielding Monster Clown; sometimes, especially when you need some glass broken and ropes cut, axes can be very useful).
  • Badass Boast:
  • Badass Crew: Darkwing and his team.
  • Badass Normal:
    • Darkwing himself fights powered supervillains and can match powered superheroes on a good day.
    • 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.
  • Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad: Negaduck loves skulls and hates flowers. (And he really hates anvils.)
  • Bad Future: 'Time and Punishment' showed a future where Darkwing Duck reinvented himself as Dark Warrior Duck and became a Knight Templar whose strict ways turned St. Canard into a dystopia. Also shown in the episode "Paraducks", when Darkwing Duck ended up entering a future where the King was now ruler of St. Canard because Darkwing never encouraged his younger self to stand up to the King.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Occurs quite often with plans Gone Horribly Right or Gone Horribly Wrong when they find themselves having to clean up their own messes; inverted on at least one occasion in "Stressed To Kill" when Megavolt and Quackerjack managed to set the city on fire and had to bring in Darkwing Duck to fix things.
  • Balancing Death's Books: "Dead Duck" averts this. Death was only interested in Darkwing, and expressed hatred (or at least extreme dislike) for people who attempted to bribe him.
  • Banana Peel: Turns up on several occasions in both the cartoon and the video game. In "The Quiverwing Quack", Gosalyn actually trips on one of these while walking on a rope across buildings.
  • Bankruptcy Barrel: In "Quiverwing Quack", Negaduck gets pinned to a wall with an arrow and escapes by slipping out of his clothes. He is seen walking away while wearing a barrel.
  • Batman Parody: Darkwing has a similar bat mask, dark outfit, cape, automobile and even shows a similar light signal across the street. While he's more of a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass than a true Idiot Hero, Darkwing's Fatal Flaw is his pride. His Rogues Gallery also consists of gimmick-themed supervillains, such as a Villainous Harlequin and a Plant Person. However, Darkwing's Arch-Enemy is not a Joker transplant but his Evil Counterpart, Negaduck.
  • Bedsheet Ladder: In "Quiverwing Quack", Gosalyn climbs out of her room using a ladder of bedsheets after being grounded.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Calling Megavolt "Sparky" drives him up a wall, although it is usually the blind rage that causes him to make mistakes.
    • Quackerjack flips out anytime anyone mentions wanting to play video games around him, whether they are allies or not.
    • Negaduck can hold his Hair-Trigger Temper to threats and calculated violence most of the time, but reminding Negaduck that he is only the No. 2 enemy of St. Canard, right under Dr. Slug, is signing your death warrant.
    • Herb Muddlefoot appears impervious to insults or threats of any kind, unless you insult Quackerware around him.
  • Big Fun: Herb Muddlefoot, to everyone except Darkwing. (Who finds him annoying.) So much that in an episode where he gets mad at one Fat Bastard villain and decides to take him on his own, it parodies Sumo wrestling.
  • Bland-Name Product: Coo-Coo Cola, a soft drink that appears in some episodes, is a parody of Coca-Cola. Coo-Coo Cola was previously featured in an episode of Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers.
  • Blessed with Suck: Some of the mutants recruited by the Rubber Chicken to fight Cement Head in "Mutantcy on the Bouncy" have completely useless abilities. Sneeze Master can only display cold symptoms at will, while Banana Boy can only turn into an anthropomorphic banana that wears a blue cape.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Gosalyn borrows her father's catchphrases all the time - pretty much everything except "I am the terror..." (and even that she at least tried to borrow once). 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: Who's the cunning mind behind/ the shadowy disguise?
    • Somewhat subverted in that the theme's lyrics make him seem like a much more serious and badass character than he actually is, more like a direct copy of Batman-like heroes instead of a goofy parody.
  • Brain Theft: An episode has the Evil Chancellor of an alien princess wanting to make Launchpad her husband planned to replace Launchpad's brain with a robotic one. Darkwing discovers the plan just in time to be used as a guinea pig for the procedure, waking up as a Brain in a Jar. In true cartoon fashion, this does not stop Darkwing from effecting an escape and attempting to kung-fu fight his own body to save the day.
  • Bratty Half-Pint:
    • Gosalyn was sometimes very selfish and reckless, in one episode even recycling many of her adoptive father's belongings without thinking about her actions.
    • Also Tank Muddlefoot, who was always this, despite his size due to constantly bullying his brother Honker.
  • 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).
  • Busman's Holiday: Happens in one of the Disney Adventures comics, aptly named "Busman's Holiday". In the end, the local Darkwing Duck Expy, Miztek Mallard, takes his own Busman's Holiday in St. Canard.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • 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. For example, when four of them are in jail in "Jail Bird" and Darkwing gets himself sent to the same prison under the name "Demolition Duck", the villains are initially not fooled by his disguise and rush him, until...
      Bushroot: Wait a second! This can't be Darkwing Duck! If it was Darkwing Duck he would have called me mean names, like "Bushbrain" and "Melonhead"!
      Megavolt: I think Bushbrain is right!
      Quackerjack: Yeah, good thinking, Melonhead!
      Bushroot: (sourly) Yeah, takes one to know one...
    • This applies to Darkwing most of the time. His ego sets him up for a lot of slapstick abuse, perhaps the crowning example coming in "Just Us Justice Ducks" when a sarcastic remark by Darkwing inspires the Liquidator and Bushroot to trick Stegmutt into thinking they are pretending Darkwing is on fire, prompting him to bash Darkwing against the ground repeatedly while exclaiming, "Put out the Darkwing! Put out the Darkwing!"
    • Steelbeak. Guaranteed that whenever Steelbeak is the baddie of the week he's going to take the lion's share of the abuse in that episode.
  • Camp: 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 Straight: Bushroot, who has all the makings of a Sissy Villain with his florid manner of appearance, is nevertheless very much into women romantically.
  • Cannot Kill Their Loved Ones: In the episode "Time and Punishment" Gosalyn ends up Gone to the Future due to being accidentally taken there by the villains Megavolt and Quackerjack. In the intervening years, Darkwing ended up becoming a Knight Templar and turned St. Canard into a Police State. So when Gosalyn breaks out the villains in order to return to the past, Darkwing points a missile gun at her, but hesitates to shoot because Gosalyn is still his daughter.
  • Can't Live with Them, Can't Live without Them: Darkwing frequently gets irritated by Launchpad's Cloud Cuckoolander tendencies. However, he's not happy when it looks like he might leave the planet in "U.F. Foe" and some kind of danger threatening to take Launchpad away from him will provoke a mad dash to protect his sidekick. Launchpad's relationship to Darkwing is not an example, as he's much more easygoing and rarely gets irritated with him.
  • Captain Colorbeard: In the episode "Film Flam", one of the movie villains that Tuskerninni brings to life is a pig pirate named Fleabeard.
  • Captain Crash: Launchpad is said to have lousy landing skills. 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, making this an Informed Flaw.
  • Captain Ersatz: Most of D.W.'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's powers are similar to those of the Spider-Man villain Hydro-Man and his origin is suspiciously similar to how Jack Napier became The Joker. Megavolt, meanwhile, has much of the powers and personality of Marvel Comics' Electro with just a dash of Magneto thrown in, and Darkwing himself heavily resembles Batman, up to the point of having a gender-flipped Robin.
  • Captain Obvious: Launchpad. Especially in "A Brush With Oblivion".
    (Darkwing runs into a fake door)
    Launchpad: That door's not real, D.W.
    • In another episode, as Darkwing and Launchpad are chasing a villain:
    Launchpad: He's gettin' away, D.W.!
    Darkwing: (annoyed) I can see that!
  • Card-Carrying Villain:
  • Car Meets House: In "Darkly Dawns the Duck", Launchpad crashes the Ratcatcher and a car through the walls of the prison and Gosalyn's orphanage, respectively.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • In "The Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain", Gosalyn repeatedly denies being behind most of the pranks, but because she was behind the first one, Darkwing refuses to believe her, until he sees Paddywhack.
    • From the same episode, Darkwing thinks Launchpad is just panicking when he says that Paddywhack's jack-in-the-box "ate" Quackerjack. Guess who's right.
  • Catchphrase: Start at the beginning...
    • Darkwing has many catchphrases for various situations.
      • His preferred entrance line when showing up at a crime scene: "I am the terror..."
      • When he's tired of being kicked around and decides the gloves are off for his fight against the villain of the week: "Let's get dangerous!" Now in 14 flavors!
      • He precedes the deployment of his gas gun with the line, "Suck GAS, evildoer!"
      • His reaction to situations he simply wants to resolve so that he can move on is "Hoookay-fine."
      • If he's satisfied with how a situation has turned out, he declares, "Yeeeeeeep, yep, yep." This is often followed by a sudden reversal of fortune for him.
      • After getting blasted by explosions, he tries to shrug it off by (wobbly) boasting, "Singed... but triumphant!" Then just as often, all he can do is stand shock-still with a Thousand-Yard Stare and softly groan, "Ouch."
    • "Keen gear!" is Gosalyn's preferred turn of phrase to express her approval of something, or her fascination with someone's new costume or gadget.
    • Quackerjack's battle cry: "It's playtime!"
    • Whiffleboy has "Whiffle Ho!" and his enemy Weasel Kid has "Get him!"
  • Catchphrase Interruptus: Every other time DW does his "I Am The Terror" schtick, he gets interrupted.
  • Chained to a Railway: Lampshaded. The villainess does just this to Darkwing and Launchpad. DW lectures her for resorting to such and old cliche, but is forced to admit that while not terribly original, tying someone to a railroad track is indeed effective.
  • Characterization Marches On: In some early episodes, Gosalyn was part of a group of four friends with Honker, Tank, and a tall skinny chick (young chicken, not girl) with a black flat top. Tank was redone into Honker's bullying older brother and the tall chick came down with a case of Chuck Cunningham Syndrome.
  • Chick Magnet: Darkwing managed to get kisses from Morgana, Neptunia, and the Princess of Oilrabia, along with charming other female characters so he definitely qualifies for this trope.
  • Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Bombs: Darkwing sometimes wonders if whatever-cereal-Gosalyn-eats is what fuels her occasional bouts of hyperactivity. "That Sinking Feeling" even has Darkwing ask Gosalyn if she put too much sugar on her Frosty-O's.
  • City of Adventure: St. Canard. The main setting of the series, most heroes and villains meet in this city, and have their various plans collide there. Episodes taking place elsewhere are relatively rare.
  • Coat, Hat, Mask: Darkwing considers one of the basics for a superhero to be 'a clean cape'.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: J. Gander Hooter of SHUSH. The actual cops have decidedly mixed opinions.
  • Company Cross References: The statue that Drake Mallard pounds on to activate the chairs and send him and his allies to Darkwing Tower is of Basil from The Great Mouse Detective.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Pretty much the reason why most of the Liquidator's episodes had him relegated to the Fearsome Five. By himself, he's just too powerful and there are precious few ways to defeat him. Putting him in a group of other villains made him more manageable for the writers.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Launchpad mentions he and Fenton used to to "work for the same guy". However it's never explained why Launchpad stopped working for Scrooge and ended up in St. Canard.
    • Launchpad's father Ripcord, who also appeared in one episode of DuckTales, appeared in a flashback during "U.F. Foe".
    • In a rare case of characters referring to previous episodes of the actual show, Herb mentions in "Slaves of Fashion" that he saved Darkwing Duck once (which could be a reference to "You Sweat Your Life" or "The Merchant of Menace").
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive:
    • Bud Fludd, aka the Liquidator, who maintained many CCE traits even after becoming a full time supervillain.
    • And the two identical-looking managers Darkwing has had to deal with when they try to cancel/overuse his show.
  • The Cowl: Darkwing is a parody of this archetype.
  • Covers Always Lie: Happened a couple of times with the VHS release.
    • The cover for the "Birth of Negaduck" VHS prominently features Negaduck II. The episode on the tape is "Negaduck", which actually features Negaduck I.
    • The cover for the "Witcheroo" compilation tape has Darkwing swinging on a rope, with Gosalyn holding on to him, trying to escape the cauldron of Winifred the Witch (from the Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers episode "Good Times, Bat Times"). Gosalyn doesn't appear in "Ghoul of My Dreams", the Darkwing Duck episode on the tape.
  • Crash in Through the Ceiling: In "Darkly Dawns the Duck", Darkwing falls through a hangar ceiling during the opening chase with Bulba. He gets accosted by the owner, Launchpad McQuack, who believes he's a thief after his planes before recognizing him.
  • Crazy-Prepared: He is a parody of Batman, after all.
    Darkwing: Good thing I was wearing my buzzsaw cufflinks.
  • Creator Cameo: Tad Stones provided the voice of Hammerhead during his appearance in "In Like Blunt".
  • Crossover:
  • 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.
    • Darkwing himself qualifies. Despite his ego and eccentricities he was such an effective superhero he had all but eliminated the need for a secret identity, only taking it up again to help give Gosalyn a normal life.
    • Launchpad tends to be presented as fairly incompetent at superhero work, but during "Darkly Dawns the Duck" and "Double Darkwings", he and Darkwing wind up fighting each other. Launchpad curbstomps him both times.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Being fed to giant slugs is this, in Darkwing's opinion, something one villain tries to pull on him an Launchpad. (Fortunately, they manage to escape.)
  • Cute Bruiser: Gosalyn and Neptunia. Gosalyn is a cute, red-haired school girl, but has enough physical skills and weaponry (mainly bows and arrows) to successfuly face adult opponents. Neptunia is an aquatic heroine, very aggressive and combat-ready, but she is pint-sized and relatively feminine in appearance.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Could be said about more than one of DW's villains.
    • Megavolt, with his ability to generate and control electricity, is probably the worst example (but then, he is noted in-universe as being insane).
    • Quackerjack is a justified example since we see that he wants to make money by selling his toys, but the toys are so dangerous that he is the only one who thinks that they are fun. Plus, well, he is also insane.
  • Daddy's Girl: Gosalyn. She and Drake/Darkwing may argue a lot, but she adores him, and he adores her and goes into full Papa Wolf mode if someone even threatens to harm her. Since she has no mother figure, she is also feisty and tomboyish and is eager to join her dad in fighting crime (he's not so keen on the idea as he doesn't like seeing her endanger herself).
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Played for Laughs with Death. He's just doing his job and is upset that people view him as an evil entity.
  • Darker and Edgier:
  • Dating Catwoman: Darkwing and Morgana McCawber. A superhero and the villainous witch which he was trying to stop, start dating each other. Although downplayed, as she goes straight as their relationship gets more serious. Though Morgana still has a rather nasty temper and can dish creative punishments to people who trigger it.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Gosalyn and Darkwing. They engage in Snark-to-Snark Combat regularly.
    • Also, NegaDuck (of course) and, surprisingly, Quackerjack at times.
    • Taurus Bulba also qualifies at certain moments.
    • Death gets a good one in "Dead Duck".
      Darkwing: See ya around, sucker!
      Death: Yes, you will.
  • Deal with the Devil: Bianca Beakley tricks Gosalyn into one which makes her by all rights as much of a devil as the actual Beelzebub who also managed this in another episode, and not just because of the bug motif.
  • Death Course: Two, both ostensibly for training purposes. Darkwing had one of these as how he cooks breakfast in 'Darkly Dawns the Duck', though it is not really supposed to be dangerous (he does keep forgetting to adjust the spring that launches the fridge, though) and it is implied he dismantles it after moving into a home with Gosalyn instead of living in his lair 24/7. 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 are shot with increasingly inordinate ordnance.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: The title character became a superhero because he wanted fame and glory. His entire hero career he remained a glory hound who refused to team up with other heroes unless there was no other choice because he didn't want to share the spotlight and who didn't seem nearly as skilled as he thought he was. On the other hand he was repeatedly put through hell and kept going and when he got serious because someone was in actual danger he quickly and efficiently dealt with the threat.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Lampshaded and mocked in "The Haunting Of Mr. Banana Brain" when Darkwing and Quackerjack have Paddywhack at their mercy after simply laughing off the pranks he plays on them and then playing several pranks on him.
    Mr. Banana Brain (Quackerjack): Say fellas, maybe this is part where we show him love and kindness and he vows to mend his evil ways!
    (Paddywhack nods frantically)
    Quackerjack and Darkwing: Eh... nah! (they electrocute Paddywhack with a pair of joy buzzers)
  • Description Cut: In "Dead Duck", Launchpad's comment about Darkwing being so brave as he marches away with Death is immediately followed by Darkwing breaking down and begging Death to give him another chance.
  • Descriptiveville: St. Canard.
  • Detective Animal: Darkwing does detective work from time to time. Although Darkwing is a flawed detective, seeing and analyzing obscure clues ... and missing some very obvious ones. At one point, while trying to locate the Fearsome Five, Darkwing found a bread crumb that they left behind. He analyzed it and traced its origin to a specific skyscraper, meaning that their headquarters were there. While Darkwing tries to explain his deduction to the villains, Negaduck calmly points out that they had already placed a huge flag with the team's symbol on the skyscraper and were not trying to hide their whereabouts. Darkwing had not noticed the flag.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Setting a building on fire for fun in "Stressed To Kill" seems like a good idea to Quackerjack... until his partner Megavolt notices that the fire is spreading from building to building awfully quickly, and they remember that the fire department won't be coming to put out the fire because the two brainwashed them into being utterly apathetic along with most of the rest of the city.
    • F.O.W.L decides to rebuild Tarus Bulba as a cyborg, and they don't think to take any measures in case he rebels.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Megavolt in "The Frequency Fiends" sings the series' theme song to himself while flying a kite in a thunderstorm in an attempt to clear his sinuses. After a few seconds, he grumbles, "I just can't get that song out of my head!"
  • Digging to China: The episode "Kung Fooled" has Darking, Gosalyn and Launchpad end up in China after the Ratcatcher rides deep into the Earth.
  • 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!
  • Dogfaces: Jambalaya Jake and most of the extras are very standard examples, with flesh-colored skin and humanlike faces with animal ears and noses. Other anthropomorphic dog characters, such as The Liquidator, have heads and faces that are more doglike.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": One of Bushroot's plants was simply called Daisy. It was also referred as "he" making it also a case of Gender-Blender Name.
  • Dogs Love Fire Hydrants: In "Quiverwing Quack", Negaduck gathers a bunch of vicious dogs to use in his plan to outrank Dr. Slug as public enemy number one. When he gets annoyed by the dogs' barking, he throws a fire hydrant in the back of his truck and remarks that it ought to keep them quiet.
  • Doppelgänger Gets Same Sentiment: In the episode "Life, the Negaverse, and Everything", Darkwing finds himself in an alternate universe. He immediately becomes as fiercely protective of Nega-Gosalyn as he is of his own Gosalyn. This girl is apparently Negaduck's adoptive daughter.
  • 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 no ordinary doggy-bone"
  • Dream Sequence: Darkwing has one of these in the episode "Ghoul of My Dreams" in which he imagines Steelbeak, Megavolt, Ammonia Pine, Bushroot, Liquidator, and Quackerjack about to close in on him before a giant Morgana grabs them all to save Darkwing.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Done in "Going Nowhere Fast" after Negaduck aged Darkwing Duck with the accelerator and gave him a rocking chair as an insult:
    Gosalyn: (reading a note Negaduck left with the rocking chair) "To Darkwing Duck, my oldest enemy, and I do mean oldest! Ha ha ha!" That's not funny.
    • Not used word for word but definitely felt by Gosalyn, Launchpad and Honker in "Duck Blind" where Megavolt has one of his worst Kick the Dog moments by indirectly mocking Darkwing's blindness and alerting the gang at the same time that he is aware of it.
    Megavolt: Three blind mice, three blind mice, heheh sorry sort of an in-joke.
    Gosalyn: He knows you are blind!
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: A Running Gag has it that no matter how hard D.W. tries, and no matter how many times he saves St. Canard or the world, he barely has any fans, most people can't even remember what his name is, and those who do think his hat is stupid - the worst thing possible for a hero with a planet sized ego. All attempts to rally the public behind him are doomed to end in failure.
  • Dumb Muscle:
    • Stegmutt is big and strong, especially after being turned into a dinosaur, but he is not the sharpest tool in the shed, remaining unaware that his employer, Dr. Fossil, is Obviously Evil despite mounting evidence for it.
    • When we first meet him, Comet Guy is one of the least effective superheroes on a planet full of superheroes, as he is incredibly dim and has been conditioned to start dancing every time he hears a bell and continue to do so until he hears a whistle. He is, however, very physically strong.

    Tropes E-I 
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • In "That Sinking Feeling" (the original, Disney Channel-aired pilot, as opposed to the syndicated produced "Darkly Dawns the Duck" 1-hour special) Darkwing's Mad Libs Catch Phrase simply... wasn't. It was always stated as "I am the terror that flaps in the night, I am the winged scourge the pecks at your nightmares, I am Darkwing Duck!" The Running Gag of always changing up the second saying in his Badass Boast into something silly wasn't used until later episodes.
    • Another example is Mr. Banana Brain's design. In "Whiffle While You Work", the episode that introduces Quackerjack, he looked more like a full-on parody of Mr. Potato Head and was merely an explosive used by Quackerjack to cover his escape. All his other appearances made him look less like Mr. Potato Head and had him become a ventriloquist dummy used by Quackerjack.
    • There's also the Cute Little Lost Bunnies. In their first appearance in "Negaduck", the two that are seen are cream-colored, quadrupedal rabbits. In "Malice's Restaurant", they look and sound considerably different, being pastel-colored and anthropomorphic, and there's now three of them. Of course, they could all just be different members of the same group.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Morgana, Dr. Sara Bellum, Dr. Rhoda Dendron and Bianca Beakley a.k.a. The Bugmaster.
  • 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.
  • The End... Or Is It?: At the end of "The Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain", Launchpad expresses relief that the case is over...and then they heard Paddywhack's laugh and see a laughing, talking fish in the harbor.
  • 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"). These very often come about because the bad guys' schemes have a way of getting out of their control, particularly when their creations and/or partners in crime start wondering why they have to take orders.
  • 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.
  • Epic Fail: DW once tried to get rid of a fly by using explosives. His house became a mess and the fly survived.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Humorously subverted in "Trading Faces". Long story short, Darkwing and Gosalyn and Launchpad and Honker switched bodies and have to get past some FOWL agents guarding a gate. Darkwing (who is still inside Gosalyn's body) decides 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.
    • In "Clash Reunion", after Darkwing's mask comes off and both Megavolt and the bullies see that Darkwing Duck is actually Drake Mallard, they all laugh at him, making him lose confidence. After Megavolt captures his former tormentors, he tells Drake that he should harm him but doesn't have the heart.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Negaduck -both versions, the first arguably moreso, as he is the the dark half of Darkwing's personality, given form after he is zapped by Megavolt's Tron Splitter device. He resolves to kill his Posiduck counterpart, so as to conquer the underworld undeterred. The second, from a Mirror Universe, is no less evil, as he delights in the thought of murder, and at one point tries to destroy all of St. Canard in one fell swoop.
    • There is another evil counterpart of Darkwing known as Darkwarrior Duck from a Bad Future. Gosalyn disappears when she accidentally hitches a ride with the time travel device that took her to Darkwarrior's time. The loss broke him so much that Darkwing started to take a much more hardline stance towards fighting criminals, running all of them out of town before turning St. Canard into a full-fledged Police State where All Crimes Are Equal. And the punishment for all them seems to be death.
  • Eviler than Thou:
    • When the original Negaduck becomes supercharged as an energy-throwing, telekinetic Person of Mass Destruction, his creator Megavolt is looking forward to all the crimes they will commit together. Negaduck scoffs at him and says that committing crimes is small potatoes, but complete destruction of everything is what he is really into.
    • While Quackerjack himself is a Villainous Harlequin, he is far more comedic and ineffectual than the Monster Clown Paddywhack, who is an intangible demon who feeds on fear. Eventually Paddywhack puts Quackerjack in his place and seals him inside his own magic box.
  • Evil Laugh: Most of the villains.
  • Evil Lawyer Joke: Delivered in "Dead Duck":
    Lucifer: Open up or I'll sue! And I've got the best lawyers around!
  • Evil Puppeteer: Quackerjack is both a Monster Clown and this: he carries a puppet called Mr. Banana Brain around, and often has conversations with himself through it.
  • Evil Redhead:
  • Played straight with Tank Muddlefoot, Honker's redheaded Big Brother Bully. Yes, he's a bully, not a supervillain, but he's never really nice.
  • 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. When you consider who was making Disney's videogames at the time, it kinda makes sense...
    • Darkwing himself briefly became an Expy for Spider-Man when a mutated spider-bite resulted in his growing four extra arms and gaining the ability to climb walls and spit webbing from his beak. Once he learned to control his extra limbs, he temporarily changed his name to Arachno-Duck, resuming the name Darkwing when his spider-powers wore off.
    • E. Thaddeus Rockwell and his assistant bear some resemblance to Gaston and LeFou from Beauty and the Beast.
  • 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.
  • Facepalm: In "Heavy Mental", when it's snowing in the living room due to Launchpad's new powers:
    Herb: Gee, Drake, maybe you oughta have you air conditioner checked.
    (Drake facepalms)
  • Fade Around the Eyes:
    • Negaduck does this in one episode. An interesting example in that he doesn't directly face the screen, but that doesn't prevent the black screen around his eyes from being just as intimidating as the other examples.
    • In the episode "Time and Punishment", after Darkwarrior refuses to let Gosalyn Set Right What Once Went Wrong, the screen fades until all that can be seen are his eyes.
  • Falsely Reformed Villain: Tuskernini has pulled off the scheme of pretending to change his ways to throw off suspicion that he'd commit more crimes a few times, most notably in "Adopt-a-Con".
  • Fascists' Bed Time: Gosalyn is sent to the future, where the Gosalyn-less Darkwing has become a vicious dictator called Darkwarrior who does this. Gosalyn even notes "Only my dad would set a universal curfew at 8 o'clock."
  • Fatal Flaw: Pride. For both Darkwing Duck and Negaduck. While they are actually skilled, they consistently over-estimate their abilities and act as if they are invincible. Right before someone or something reminds them of their limits in painful ways.
  • Fat Bastard: Tuskernini. A relatively fat film director with villainous schemes.
  • 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 is trapped in hell.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Whenever Negaduck acts "nice" to the heroes, for him a big deal, he's just about to do something very bad to them.
  • Fiery Redhead:
    • Gosalyn has red hair and is incredibly feisty. In her first scene in "Darkly Dawns the Duck", she is playing roller hockey and hits the puck through the window onto Hammerhead's nose. She jumps through the window, shouts "Play it where it lands!", and hits the puck so hard it knocks the opposing goaltender back into his net.
    • Also Hotshot, to a literal extent. He is a redhead who got fire powers after an experiment.
    • Launchpad is an aversion. Despite being a redhead, he's actually the person in the house who's least likely to get angry, generally playing the Gentle Giant to the snarky and somewhat bratty Gosalyn and the Hot-Blooded Darkwing.
  • Firefighter Arsonist: In the episode "Stressed to Kill", Quackerjack has a toy fire engine that shoots fire.
    Megavolt: Nice shootin', Quackie! *Chuckles a bit, then gets confused* But isn't the fire engine supposed to spray water?
    Quackerjack: Of course not, then it would be a water engine.
  • Fish People: Neptunia was transformed from an ordinary fish into an anthropomorphic fish by toxic chemicals dumped into the sea off St. Canard.
  • Fluffy the Terrible:
    • Literally; the Disney Adventures comics featured a villainous super-intelligent kitten named Fluffy.
    • In one episode, Darkwing wrestles an African tribesman named "he of Delicate Bone Structure" who is three times Darkwing's size.
  • Flying Brick: Comet Guy! (HO HO!!!) and many others from Comet Guy's superhero planet.
  • Flying Car: Steelbeak has one in the comics.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: When asked to attend a Masquerade Ball, Drake decides to dress up as Darkwing Duck while Launchpad goes as an "air ace." Amusingly, the neighbors criticize Drake's outfit as looking nothing like the real Darkwing but gush about Launchpad's, even though Launchpad didn't so much as change his clothes.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: reversed: Darkwing would prefer his daughter NOT do this. She disagrees.
  • Forgot to Mind Their Head: Gosalyn is looking around a horrific alternate St. Canard when she happens upon Launchpad fixing a taxi. She calls to him, causing him to spring upnote  and strike his head on the undercarriage of the taxi.
  • For the Evulz: Many villains don't have any real motives, but Bushroot is a strange example and the biggest subversion. 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/comradery through mad science. When he's with the Fearsome Five (and sometimes when he's on his own) he's just plain evil. That's because he wants companionship and friends. So when he gets an invitation to join a Rogues Gallery, obviously he's going to try to fit in because he thinks it will make him popular.
    • The biggest one by far in the show and one of the biggest ones in fiction in general has to be Negaduck. He is wantonly sadistic to an absurd degree and he even considers non-violent but profitable crimes such as smuggling as below his level and justifies it by claiming that weapons of mass destruction that he can use at random people such as nuclear warheads are too expensive.
  • Foul Waterfowl:
    • Negaduck, being Darkwing's Evil Counterpart, is an uncaring leader who loves to cause destruction everywhere he goes.
    • Downplayed with Bushroot the duck. He may be a part of the villainous Fearsome Five, but he's mostly Affably Evil.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: In The Fearsome Five, we have sanguine Quackerjack, choleric Megavolt, melancholic Bushroot, and the phlegmatic (II) Liquidator. Negaduck occupies the middle ground between them. The Muddlefoot family has melancholic Honker, choleric Tank, sanguine Herb, and phlegmatic Binkie.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You:
    • In-universe, in "Twitching Channels", Megavolt's new Electrolyzer allows him to travel through electric cables, and he discovers that by adjusting the frequency, he can travel into any television set he wishes. He emerges from the employee TV at the Hamburger Hippo to empty the cash register, leans out of six screens at once in an electronics store to steal six televisions, and finally leans out of Herb Muddlefoot's screen to steal his new remote control.
    • In "Frequency Fiends", Darkwing's new SHUSH weapon hits Gosalyn and creates three clones of her with Personality Powers, who are eventually captured and trapped somewhere. Megavolt, who helps 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.
  • "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.
  • From a Single Cell: Bushroot could come back from from being shredded into leaves and vines. This was, of course, exploited constantly.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Bad Future!Launchpad K.O.s Darkwarrior with a frying pan after he threatens Gosalyn with a missile loaded gun.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Gosalyn gives one to Honker in "Jurassic Jumble":
    "Herbert Muddlefoot Junior, get to the point!
  • 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.
  • Furry Confusion: As typical with Disney Duck media, anthropomorphic and non-anthropomorphic animals of the same species coexist. For example, "Battle of the Brainteasers" features non-anthropomorphic sheep and cow, when Taurus Bulba and his minions Hoof and Mouth are an anthropomorphic bull, donkey and ram respectively.
  • Future Badass: Darkwarrior Duck. Unfortunately, badassery wasn't the only thing he took to a higher level.
  • Gale-Force Sound: Near the beginning of "Life, the Negaverse, and Everything", Drake is napping on the sofa when Gosalyn shouts at him through a megaphone; Drake's retaliation is so loud that it blows Gosalyn's hair back.
    Gosalyn: (through megaphone) Attention Drake Mallard! It is time for Honker's birthday party!
    Drake: (glares at Gosalyn and grabs the megaphone, then yells through it) I'm not going! (Gosalyn's hair is blown back) I hate the Muddlefoots, and I hate their parties! (Gosalyn's hair is blown back again; she grimaces and puts her hands over her ears)
  • Garage Band: Gosalyn, Honker and Tank start one in "A Revolution in Home Appliances".
  • Genius Bruiser: Agent Grizzlikoff is big, strong, and can come up with good ideas if he needs to.
  • Gentle Giant:
    • Launchpad is over a head taller than Darkwing and is quite muscular... and has a big heart to match, always there to help Darkwing out of the many difficult spots he gets into.
    • Though not a full-size Stegosaurus, Stegmutt is still larger than most of the regular cast and can knock people flying with his tail, but he has a childlike innocence that makes it difficult for him to believe even the most Obviously Evil villains (such as Dr. Fossil, who turned him into a dinosaur to begin with) could be malicious.
  • 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: Darkwing does this all the time. He will dismiss his daughter or sidekick's plan. Then he has a great idea that, word for word, repeats the plan he just heard. His daughter Gosalyn will often call him on this. When it's Launchpad's idea, he'll usually get away with it, as Launchpad 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!
  • Glass Smack and Slide:
    • In "Water Way to Go", Darkwing, propelled by a sandstorm, smacks against the windshield of Launchpad's car.
    • Also happens in another episode where Darkwing tries to stop the villains by standing in front of their van.
      Darkwing: I am the terror that flaps in (smack) ...your windshield.
  • Goofy Feathered Dinosaur: In "Jurassic Jumble", Darkwing gets turned into a dinosaur covered in white and green feathers. Despite being large and strong in this form, he is still comically inept as ever. Interestingly, this was before feathered dinosaurs became known to science.
  • Green Means Natural: Most of Bushroot's body (save for his purple hair and brownish-gray lower torso) is green and he can accelerate the growth of plants. He can also turn into plants like a vine or a log.
  • Green Rocks: Canardium, a green radioactive element used as a power source. It also caused a spider to grow large and sentient.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Tia in "U.F.Foe" is a purple-skinned space babe.
  • Grounded Forever:
    • When Honker is held responsible for an art theft in "A Brush With Oblivion" that was actually committed by the villain Splatter Phoenix, his parents ground him in his room. His father makes a list of things Honker isn't allowed to have, including going out, having friends over, watching television, and sunlight, food, and water. His wife points out that those last few items are a bit excessive. Later, Herb grounds Honker for life as soon as he's bailed out of jail, only to change it to ten years when Binkie complains.
    • In the episode "Star Crossed Circuits", Drake is informed by the D-2000 about the mischief his daughter Gosalyn has been up to and tells Gosalyn that she's grounded for 50 years.
    • "Fraudcast News" at one point has Darkwing ask Launchpad what he could've done to Gosalyn to make her side with the Bugmaster, unaware that Gosalyn's merely pretending to be on Bugmaster's side to help bring her down. One of the things Launchpad mentions is that Darkwing once told Gosalyn she was grounded until her senior year at high school.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal:
    • Only Launchpad, Grizzlikov, Binkie, and Dr Bellum wear anything leg-covering, and the latter two rely on skirts. Gosalyn is a somewhat unusual female example here. Gosalyn stands out even more when you realize her bottom half is normally uncovered, but when she wears a bikini, she still has her bottom half covered.
    • Oddly enough, the villains were usually much better dressed. Quackerjack, Megavolt, Morgana, Ammonia Pine, Steelbeak, Jamabalaya Jake, Taurus Bulba and Splatter Phoenix were all fully clothed.
  • Hammerspace: The place around Darkwing's cape where he keeps his gadgets.
  • Handicapped Badass: Darkwing in the episodes "Duck Blind" and "Steerminator".
  • Hand in the Hole: in "The Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain". Darkwing puts his hand in Paddywhack's box. Nothing happens, but he decides to rib Launchpad by pretending something is happening.
    Launchpad: Don't touch it [the jack-in-the-box]! That — that thing ate Quackerjack!
    Darkwing: (hand in box) Fascinating. Then we're dealing with a powerful evil force that could — aah! aaah! Launchpad, get a grip. It's just a toy.
  • Happily Adopted: Gosalyn never has "you're not my real dad!" issues with Darkwing. Which may have had something to do with the fact she was already orphaned at the start of the series and living with her grandfather. Also, she was effectively a young female version of Darkwing/Drake, and he knows it.
  • Happily Married:
    • Herb and Binkie Muddlefoot are married and happy together. It makes sense, given that they're expies of the Cleavers.
    • An interview confirmed that Darkwing and Morgana would have been as well if the show wasn't cancelled.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Dr. Slug, mentioned several times as St. Canard's most wanted criminal, never appears more than one time in the whole series for about five seconds, and we never do find out what he did to snag that public enemy #1 slot.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: In Episode 85, it is revealed that Lauchpad's favourite superhero is a very cute furball called Franky Ferret, known for his Friend Power. Gosalyn and Darkwing scoff at the concept, but later learn that turning an enemy into a friend is in fact quite effective.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Morgana and Neptunia both start out as antagonists but become heroes.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Gosalyn is a redhead and it's hinted that Honker might have a crush on her.
  • Heroic BSoD: Darkwing occasionally suffers from this, such as when he's temporarily blinded and his self guiding equipment fails, or when he's cursed with bad luck (before realizing it was a curse).
  • Heroic Sacrifice: At the end of the episode "Aduckyphobia", Webby the spider attempts this by shutting down the malfunctioning reactor that would have destroyed the city. Thankfully, he doesn't die and is reverted to his regular size as a side effect.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Darkwing counts for this so much it's not even funny, though the reason varies depending on the episode, even when the villains aren't trying to smear him. It makes perfect sense when you realize that Darkwing is an homage to Batman, after all.
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": Surprisingly averted in "Comic Book Capers". Despite DW being the writer of his comic, everyone tends to stay in-character.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: DW and Launchpad. Darkwing called Launchpad his "sidekick", but the dynamic was different. There's even less explanation for his living in DW's civilian house, plus Launchpad didn't even bother with a Secret Identity. Launchpad gets on Darkwing's nerves a lot of the time, but they do fight together and raise Gosalyn together. However, Launchpad keeps his status as a Chick Magnet from DuckTales (1987) (one episode even focuses on him almost marrying an alien queen) and Darkwing has a steady girlfriend, Morgana McCawber, who he was to have married had the series continued.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Morgana, as she chose to spare Darkwing's life, despite that the other (mostly male) members of her organization wanted her to finish him off.
  • Hollywood Cyborg: Taurus Bulba. Initially a Bond-style villain who relied on henchmen for most of the dirty work, Taurus was upgraded into a cyborg super-villain.
  • Hot Witch: Morgana Macawber. The series' resident witch is a tall and attractive woman, typically dressed in a stylish dress. Both Darkwing and Negaduck have been unable to resist her charms.
  • Human Aliens: Comet Guy and the inhabitants of the planet Mertz all have an appearance identical to humans, except that they were not born on Earth.
  • Human Knot: While appearing in a charity wrestling event, Darkwing Duck faced a huge wrestler specializing in molding opponents' bodies like balloon sculptures. Darkwing falls to his grip, and gets reshaped into a show poodle. Launchpad and Goslyn call Darkwing away on a case just in time: The wrestler's next intended sculpture was octopus.
  • Humble Goal: The only reason Stegmutt gets involved in the events of "Just-Us Justice Ducks" is because Darkwing bought a hot dog from him and ran off before Stegmutt could give him his change. He finally manages to give it back to him at the end of the story. Darkwing lets him keep it.
  • Humiliation Conga:
    • NegaDuck generally gets the most humiliating defeats. Just to name a few examples:
      • Perhaps the most spectacular happens at the end of "Just Us Justice Ducks". After literally getting yelled off the top of a skyscraper when he threatens to contract the electric wall around St. Canard, he lands on electricity cables and bounces up again, where Darkwing hits him with a pie, then a flowerpot, then an anvil, then a safe, then a 100-ton weight. As NegaDuck falls to the ground, Darkwing pulls up to catch him in a garbage truck... then reverses out of the way at the last second so that NegaDuck forms an Impact Silhouette in the road. The final insult: the remote control for the electric wall lands on NegaDuck's head and shatters.
      • In the final act of "Jail Bird", after NegaDuck has stolen the superpowers of the rest of the Fearsome Five and become a giant size supervillain who floods St. Canard with boiling water, Darkwing teams up with the other de-powered villains to exploit their weaknesses, which NegaDuck has absorbed. He starts by exploiting Megavolt's weakness to water by baiting NegaDuck into firing electricity at him, then running through his now watery legs, causing him to short circuit. Next, the other villains exploit Liquidator's weakness to dry cement by emptying four bags of it into NegaDuck's path, causing his lower half to turn into solid concrete. Finally, they dance around him mockingly, causing him to break down sobbing at their betrayal as his concrete lower half crumbles and he crashes to the ground, unconscious.
    • Bushroot and E. Thaddeus Rockwell experience one in the final act of "A Star is Scorned" after Darkwing replaces the film in the projector at their screening with Mr. Dizzy with the footage of how he actually defeated Bushroot by subjecting him to the same humiliations to which Darkwing himself has been subjected throughout the episode on, variously, a children's puppet show, a game show, and a talk show, culminating in Bushroot's attempt to lead an army of sentient trees on St. Canard being diluted to having the planned condominium complex built in the trees rather than over them. Mr. Dizzy tells Bushroot not to give up his day job, then invites Rockwell to discuss his expense account charges (the whole reason he was trying to replace Darkwing with Bushroot to begin with) with two literal devils from accounting.
  • Husky Russkie: Agent Grizzlikoff is Russian as well as large and strong.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Used in "Trading Faces" when Gosalyn has switched brains with Darkwing and the two pretend to be one another to avoid suspicion. Gosalyn in Drake Mallard's body scolds Darkwing in Gosalyn's body by telling him that "[he is] grounded for life and [his] allowance is suspended until further notice", then tells her adoptive father it is fun to yell at him like he yells at her. Darkwing in Gosalyn's body claims that he never yells at her like that, but when he sees that his car has been crashed into the stairs, he nearly repeats Gosalyn's scolding word for word before stopping himself at the last minute.
    • In "Apes of Wrath", Darkwing tells Launchpad to remain calm, then yells at the gorilla to tell him where Gosalyn is. He fully admits that he's being hypocritical.
    Darkwing: All right, 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.
    • Morgana in "Monsters R Us" said that she would teach Darkwing Duck and her father the value of resolving a situation peacefully, even if she had to kill them.
  • I Am the Noun: 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, who actually holds a lightbulb near his head when he comes up with an idea.
  • Idiot Houdini: In "Inside Binkie's Brain", Binkie Muddlefoot gets away with causing trouble and hindering Darkwing's efforts to stop Megavolt in her misguided attempts to make St. Canard safer all because she's too dumb to know that her actions are causing problems.
  • If I Wanted X, I Would Y: Used in "Tiff of the Titans" when Drake gives a reason for turning off the TV during a news report on Gizmoduck.
    Drake: If I wanted to listen to a clown, I would've tuned in to a congressional hearing.
  • 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.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: In "Dead Duck", Launchpad cries loudly and messily when returning from Darkwing's funeral.
  • Injured Limb Episode: In the second Taurus Bulba episode, Darkwing had broken both his legs before the episode started and was confined to a wheelchair. Knowing that his daughter is in danger and not being able to properly protect her...
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Herb Muddlefoot is a duck and his wife Binkie Muddlefoot is a canary.
    • Launchpad nearly married an alien queen called Tia.
    • Attempted by Bushroot when he wanted to marry Posey the vampire potato.
  • In Their Own Image: In the episode "Time and Punishment", Gosalyn hitches a ride with a Time Machine into a Bad Future where her disappearance caused Darkwing to become increasingly extreme in his fight against crime, not only destroying all the bad guys but turning all of St. Canard into a totalitarian nightmare where All Crimes Are Equal. When he obtains the time machine, he contemplates going back to the start of history and issuing the death penalty from the get go, or even going to the Paleozoic period to drill respect for the law into the new land-based lifeforms.
  • 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.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One: At the end of "Mutantcy on the Bouncy", the Rubber Chicken chews Darkwing out by calling him a vain, pig-headed, loudmouthed, snooty, egomaniacal waffle-brain. Darkwing only objects to being called vain.
  • I Work Alone: Darkwing. Mostly in "Darkly Dawns the Duck" and "Just Us Justice Ducks", where he actively refuses help so he can defeat Taurus Bulba and the Fearsome Five, respectively, alone. He eventually overcomes this attitude.

    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.
  • 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, sometimes with good reason, and tries to sabotage him whenever possible, but when the chips are down "Grizz" is an intensely loyal SHUSH agent.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: Tank shows a very rare Pet the Dog moment with Honker when his younger brother gets grounded after being falsely accused of a crime and he helps him out to try to expose the real thief. As it turns out, he was just trying to get Honker out of the house so he could tattle on him to their parents and get him punished even further.
  • Killed Off for Real: Quite a few characters, considering this was a Disney show.
    • Major Synapse in the episode "Heavy Mental".
    • Dr. Gary and Dr. Larson in the episode "Beauty And The Beet" were apparently turned into plants by Bushroot. They did not get better.
    • Splatter Phoenix was dissolved in one of her later episodes and never reappeared.
      • The 2016 comic ends up reversing the last two, however.
    • The board of directors from "Fungus Amongus" reverted back to mushrooms.
    • Likewise the alien cabbages were collected to be eaten by the alien cows in "Twin Beaks"
  • 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. 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!"
      Taurus Bulba: Tell me quickly, or she'll make quite an ugly stain on the street... Taurus Bulba works for NO ONE!
    • Dark Warrior Duck, while having a fairly humorous Knight Templar ideal, had a somber backstory, and the episode he was in took itself mostly seriously.
    • Paddywack, while still Laughably Evil, is this due to Rule of Scary.
  • 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.
  • Large Ham: Let's see... Darkwing, NegaDuck, the other NegaDuck, Quackerjack, Megavolt, Gosalyn as Quiverwing Quack, the list of melodramatic scenery-chewers goes on, and on, and on.
  • Latex Perfection: The episode "Merchant of Menace" has Weasel Lowman wear a ridiculously lifelike mask to impersonate Herbert Muddlefoot.
  • 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 Four in the comic how absolutely pathetic they are at being villains.
  • Laughing Gas: Due to his weapon being a gas gun, the titular character usually employs this in his arsenal, though with varying degrees:
    • In "That Sinking Feeling", after Professor Moliarity uses a missile launcher to blast Darkwing, Launchpad, Gosalyn, and Honker into the air. Darkwing then tells Gosalyn to use his gas gun, with her firing this at Moliarity, sending him into a giggle fit and losing control of his launcher. In response, Gosalyn defensively says the cartridge wasn't labelled.
    • In "Quiverwing Quack", after Negaduck causes Darkwing and the others to fall from a building, Darkwing inflates his cape with this to make a landing pad for them. Unfortunately, Honker, wearing an arrowhead mask, ended up bouncing upward and puncturing it, exposing all of them to the gas. Darkwing says through the giggle fit that it was better than teargas.
  • Leitmotif: Very rare: Steelbeak has one, and Negaduck as a tune on the tuba that is usually used with him but also occasionally shows up elsewhere. In addition to characters, there is a theme for when D.W. says "Let's Get Dangerous!," and another one for his "I am the terror who flaps in the night" catchphrase.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: The Trope Namer. Darkwing is actually staggeringly competent as a superhero, it's just that his ego and inability to play well with others hold him back. Once he conquers those (however temporarily), he almost always resolves whatever issue is facing him. Usually within mere moments. In the episode ‘Time and Punishment’ D.W. shows just how dangerous he can get when his mind snaps and he goes into this mode permanently, successfully eliminating all of St. Canards villains in short order and taking over the city himself.
  • 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:
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Lightning hitting a computer can throw electricity that cause a "Freaky Friday" Flip to Darkwing Duck and Gosalyn along with Launchpad and Honker.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Launchpad's apparent lack of another outfit came up in passing more than once.
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: Gosalyn attacks the Bugmaster and her minions by shooting them in the butts with the Bugmaster's gun in "Fraudcast News".
  • 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 Did I Know: One episode that takes place in Medieval times parodies this. Darkwing's public persona is working in the royal castle. After watching the King and Queen acting like fools, he turns to the camera and says, "Little do they know... And I do mean little."
  • 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.
  • One is featured in "Jurassic Jumble".
  • In the first episode, Taurus Bulba's cell is a Luxury Prison Suite and a spaceship disguised as an ordinary cell.
  • Mad Libs Catch Phrase:
    • The second sentence of Darkwing's entrance, after "I am the terror that flaps in the night!"
    • Also, "Let's Get Dangerous" is often changed to fit the situation, usually Played for Laughs. Over the course of the series, we got versions like:
      "Let's get amorous (with Morgana, complete with eyebrow waggle)
      Posi-Duck: "Let's get considerate!"
      "Let's get ridiculous!" (teaming up with Quackerjack against Paddywhack)
      Gosalyn: "Let's get mischievous!"
  • Made of Evil: Darkwing Duck's evil side in "Negaduck" is both this and an Enemy Without, and presumably has both a sort of normal physical structure as well as being made of evil, because it's created when Darkwing is split into his "good and evil elemental particles" that they made up for that episode. Galvanized Negaduck in that episode is even more so, as becoming supercharged immediately turns him into a destructive Omnicidal Maniac and frankly admits how evil he is.
  • Mad Scientist: Bushroot was a botanist who ended up accidentally mutating himself into a plant creature and continues conducting bizarre experiments having to do with plants.
  • Malaproper: Grizzlikof has a tendency to mistake the words he intends to say with similar-sounding ones.
  • Male Gaze: In "Fraudcast News", the first scene of Bianca Beakley as the Bugmaster involves a brief close-up of her rear end.
  • Malicious Misnaming: In "Smarter Than a Speeding Bullet", Steelbeak mockingly addresses Comet Guy as "Comatose Guy".
  • Many Questions Fallacy: Negaduck poses as a reporter and asks a bunch of "Have you stopped doing bad things yet?" questions to tank Darkwing's popularity.
  • Medium Awareness: In addition to talking to the audience every once in a while, the character occasionally use the fact that they're in a TV show to their advantage: for example, D.W. once saved himself and Launchpad from being squished by Dr. Slug by cutting away from the action in order to narrate the episode, which was about something else entirely.
  • Metaphorgotten: Most of the variable phrases in his "I am the terror that flaps in the night" go more than a bit more into detail of the metaphor than is necessary.
  • Mirror Universe: Negaduck's playground the Negaverse, where everyone's personality is inverted, though not quite everyone's morality. (Apparently, Gosalyn can be a good girl whether she's well-behaved or not.) Interestingly, Negaduck, Nega-Honker, and Nega-Gosalyn are all modeled on versions of the regular characters from episodes in which they were a bit out of character ("Negaduck" in which Darkwing's evil half also committed crime and hated cute fluffy little bunnies, "Calm a Chameleon" in which Honker tried to be more assertive as a motorcycle-jacket-wearing biker rebel without a cause, and "Slaves to Fashion" in which Gosalyn had to train to be a properly feminine little lady).
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment:
    • Darkwing overcoming his solo glory greed to join the force of the Justice Ducks to beat the Fearsome Five.
    • Also, Negaduck declaring the Fearsome Five a team to take down St. Canard. It triggers a two-part episode cliffhanger.
      Negaduck: (as he stomps Darkwing repeatedly) This is for BUSHROOT! MEGAVOLT! QUACKER JACK! LIQUIDATOR! And NEGADUCK makes five. The Fearsome Five.
    • Darkwing Duck teams up with the Fearsome Four and the friendly Four to defeat Negaduck in two episodes.
  • Mistaken for Thief: In the pilot, Darkwing is accused of a train robbery that was actually committed by a villain named Taurus Bulba.
  • Monster Mash: In the episode "Monsters R Us", we are introduced to Morgana Macawber's relatives, who include an aunt who is a hunchbacked witch, a cousin who is a green blob monster, and another cousin who is a cyclops. Darkwing gets into a tiff with Morgana's father Moloculo, who then tries to prove that monsters are superior to "normals" by transforming Darkwing into a werewolf, Gosalyn into a Frankenstein's Monster, and Launchpad into a vampire bat.
  • Morphic Resonance: In the episode "Disguise the Limit," Darkwing and NegaDuck keep their beaks whenever they transform.
  • Most Definitely Not Accompanying Us: Every episode, Darkwing tries to get Gosalyn to stay safe at home while he goes after the bad guy... and every episode, he fails.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Darkwing's pride is a major part of his character, source of conflict, and theme of the show.
  • 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. His life in high school is essentially seen as true, however. The "born on another planet" story was quite obviously Darkwing making 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 allusion to Launchpad's past:
    • In "U.F.Foe", Ripcord, Launchpad's father who appeared in an episode of DuckTales, makes a cameo.
    • One episode has Launchpad feeding some doggie treats to a chihuahua. He mentions the brand name as Kanine Krunchies, which are from a commercial shown in 101 Dalmatians.
    • Another episode has Gosalyn offer Launchpad a Coo Coo Cola - a brand of soda from an episode of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers.
  • 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?
    • Darkwing himself, in "Justice Ducks", along with It's All My Fault. Followed by Heroic BSoD.
  • The Napoleon:
  • Also Darkwing to a certain degree, considering that next to Neptunia, he is the shortest member of the Justice Ducks.
  • Narrator: Darkwing, a couple times. He is usually an Interactive Narrator, as well - most prominently "Inside Binkie's Brain" and "The Haunting Of Mr. Banana Brain," which are both centered around narration having just as much going on (to the point of cutting away from the action at several points) as the plot.
  • Negative Continuity: Word of God says that continuity deliberately came second to Rule of Funny, which probably explains why a great many episodes are out of order, why so few reference each other, and why many seemingly contradict each other. Darkwing Duck has two pilot episodes (one of which has everyone together with no explanation, and the other of which explains how Darkwing Duck came to adopt Gosalyn and move into a house next to the Muddlefoots) and the origin stories of some of the heroes and villains aired only after they appeared in the "Just Us Justice Ducks" team-up episodes.
    • Darkwing Duck also has a sort of Multiple-Choice Past for origin stories, though the only two that flatly contradict the others are clearly a bit of his BSing his futuristic listeners.
    • NegaDuck, for his part, has been presented in two different forms (one as a Bizarro version of Darkwing Duck created when Megavolt zapped him with a machine of his, and the other as an immigrant from the Negaverse in which nearly everyone's morality is reversed). They both share a love for committing crimes and an obsessive hatred for cute little fluffy bunnies, and might as well be the same person, but no story indicating them to be the exact same character has ever been written.
    • In "Life, The Negaverse, and Everything", we see Negaduck "sucked into oblivion" and yet he returns safe and sound without explanation later. Of course, he did make the customary threat that he'd return for revenge even as he was being sucked into what he claimed was "oblivion" (and later make good on it, so maybe he was lying or "oblivion" is not so bad after all) and if you look carefully at the Darkwing Duck's return to his own universe near the end, you'll notice the close-up shot is of NegaDuck returning to his universe from the birthday cake portal in his universe while the more distant shot is of Darkwing Duck emerging from the other birthday cake portal into his universe shortly before the portal closes. No explanation is ever given of how NegaDuck managed to find his way back to Darkwing Duck's universe, however.
    • Also, several episodes act as though 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 opposed to having semi-recently adopted her (like "Quiverwing Quack"). (This possibly makes sense, however, if these episodes are chronologically out of order and actually take place a couple years after he adopted her, when she would be a bit more familiar with her adoptive father's ways.)
    • The last season tried to create a somewhat stronger continuity, with minor villains returning and more frequent {{Call-Back Call Backs]] to previous episodes.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted most of the time... and this is a Disney cartoon!
    • In the first episode, seven times. In two seconds.
    • Two episodes ("Stressed to Kill" and "Dead Duck") used death words in the episode title. Not to mention that the topic of murder was brought up in "In Like Blunt" and several characters getting Killed Off for Real.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Gosalyn woke up Paddywhack by playing a practical joke on her father.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Negaduck ruined Darkwing's nice guy image, which made him realize that he can't fight crime while taking care of his new publicity image, bringing the old Darkwing back.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: There are two of these characters. The Liquidator is a villain made out of water. And Dr. Bushroot, a mutant plant/duck, can regenerate after being run over by a running lawn mower.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In "A Star is Scorned", E. Thaddeus Rockwell and his assistant, Crosby, arrange a screening for a planned Darkwing Duck Spinoff starring Bushroot (actually a front for Rockwell to embezzle money through his expense account) with their studio head, Mr. Dizzy. Dizzy is only seen from behind, but his name, facial profile, and voice make it clear that he is the in-universe version of Walt Disney.
  • 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 marmalade, and a pack of wild panthers."
  • Noodle Incident:
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Darkwing sometimes dismisses Launchpad or Gosalyn as they're trying to tell him something important.
    • "All's Fahrenheit in Love and War": Darkwing initially ignores Launchpad as he tries to point out the fire bugs. It takes the beach ball he brought along for atmosphere popping before he realizes something is strange.
    • "Toys Czar Us": Darkwing ignores Gosalyn's attempts to tell him that his attempts at multitasking are causing a mess.
      Gosalyn: Oh, Dad...
      Drake: Not now, honey, Daddy's talking on Mr. Phone!
      Gosalyn: But, Dad...!
  • One of the Boys: Gosalyn is an avid trekker, ice hockey player, and superhero comics reader. She also has next to no girly hobbies.
  • 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.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • In "Battle of the Brain Teasers", Launchpad initially doesn't believe Gosalyn that hats have taken over Drake and Honker's bodies. He spots them, with the hats on their heads and talking in different voices, and doesn't see anything odd... Until Drake transforms into Darkwing. "You're right, DW would never wear a hat that clashes with his outfit."
    • In ‘Time and Punishment’ when D.W. goes into Let's Get Dangerous! mode permanently and becomes Dark Warrior Duck people stop treating him as a goofball and are genuinely scared of him.
  • Operators Are Standing By: The Liquidator's sales pitch-centric dialogue includes phrases like "But Wait, There's More!" and "Operators are standing by!".
  • Origins Episode: While Darkwing Duck was often established as having a Multiple-Choice Past, the season three episode "Clash Reunion" gave him a proper origin story as well as one for his enemy Megavolt. The episode revealed that Drake Mallard and Elmo Sputterspark used to be high school students. An accident gave Elmo electrical powers and drove him insane. When he renamed himself Megavolt and attacked the high school prom in revenge, Drake Mallard donned the guise of Darkwing Duck to bring him to justice.
  • Or My Name Isn't...: In "Darkly Dawns the Duck", Launchpad beats up Darkwing (who he thinks is an intruder), yelling, "Nobody messes with the airplanes in my hangar, or my name isn't Launchpad McQuack!"
  • Out Of Control Popcorn: When Launchpad, Gosalyn, and Honker get trapped in a popping popcorn machine, Honker knocks over another pack of it inside; causing so much popcorn to pop that it breaks the glass of the machine, allowing them to escape.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: In "Dead Duck", Darkwing tells Launchpad that he was the best sidekick he ever had. He then comments that Launchpad was the only sidekick he ever had.
  • 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. This is taken to the extreme when Gosalyn goes missing in ‘Time and Punishment’ and Darkwing goes off the deep-end, becoming the merciless Dark Warrior Duck and turning the city into a police state.
    • While he's less successful at it, Launchpad is also protective of Gosalyn. In "Dead Duck", when Darkwing is in ghost form and can't protect her, Launchpad tries to step up to the plate. (Unfortunately, he gets curb-stomped by Megavolt during the following scene cut.)
  • Parental Love Song: In "Darkly Dawns the Duck", Darkwing takes in Gosalyn to prevent her from being snatched by the crime boss who killed her grandfather. She tells him about a lullaby her grandfather always used to sing her, "Little Girl Blue." Darkwing sings it, foreshadowing the father/daughter relationship that they're going to share for the rest of the series.
  • Photo Doodle Recognition: Once when Drake Mallard was flipping through his high school yearbook, Gosalyn thought the science nerd in his class looked strangely familiar and started drawing on it. Drake was initially irate, until she showed him that he'd actually gone to school with Megavolt.
  • 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 an experiment Gone Horribly Right.
  • Plant Mooks: Bushroot tends to use plants as Mooks.
  • Platonic Co-Parenting: Drake and Launchpad are not romantically involved and Drake even finds him annoying, but both can work together to raise Drake's adopted daughter, Gosalyn.
  • Portrait Painting Peephole: The episode "Fungus Amongus" has Darkwing find a portrait with moving eyes. He remarks how the "portrait with eyes that follow you" gag has happened a million times before he removes the portrait in an attempt to reveal the person spying on him, only to reveal a pair of disembodied eyes with bat wings.
  • 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. A few years and a medium shift later (in the Boom! comics), apparently, he's picked up some new tricks while he was Quackwerks' water supply...
  • Power Degeneration: In "Going Nowhere Fast", Darkwing gain Super-Speed as a result of being hit with a time-accelerating weapon by Negaduck. When he used his newfound power, he did everything at a faster rate, including aging faster.
  • The 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-Asskicking One-Liner: Several of these, as fits the style of the show.
  • Prefer Jail to the Protagonist: In "Time and Punishment", Megavolt and Quackerjack for once don't want to break out of the St. Canard Jail. Given that they're in an alternate future and that future's Darkwing has gone Knight Templar, they have a good reason.
  • Pretty in Mink: In the "Darkwing Doubloon" episode, Herb and Binkie were the king and queen, and Binkie wore a dress with an ermine-trimmed hem.
  • Psycho Electro: Megavolt has electricity-based powers and is more than a little mentally unbalanced, finding electrical appliances much more agreeable companions than carbon-based life forms (although he has bestowed a certain level of sentience onto said appliances). As he himself says, "They called me crazy! They called me insane! They called me LOONY!... and boy, were they right!"
  • Punishment Box: One shows up in "Double Darkwings" when Darkwing is wrongfully imprisoned. It's a literal small box in which he gets stuffed.
  • Punny Name: Drake Mallard, Dr Sarah Bellum (no relation), Bud Flood (water salesman), Elmo Sputterspark (better known as the villain Megavolt), Morgana's family name as MacCawber (macabre and macaw), and Gosalyn (as in gosling).
  • Radiation-Induced Superpowers: A bunch of people got mutant superpowers thanks to their parents being exposed to various radioactive items. Darkwing was envious of all their powers, and supposed he'd just get a rash if he was exposed to something radioactive.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Literally. Drake Mallard's typical outfit is a green sweater vest and pink collared shirt. Also, the inner lining of Darkwing's cape is magenta-pink-ish.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: J. Gander Hooter is a very level-headed and calm leader of the secret crime-fighting organisation SHUSH who listens to everybody's opinion and chooses based on what he believes will help the most in protecting the world from criminals.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Dark Warrior Duck completely embodies this trope. He gradually started having them after he became obsessed with his idea of a new World Order.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • Hot-Blooded Darkwing and easygoing Launchpad are often in the same scene, the better to contrast the two. Some aspects associated with the archtype are played with, however — Launchpad, the Blue Oni, is a redhead who wears a maroon pilot's jacket, and Darkwing, the Red Oni, wears softer, darker colors. (It's also a rare case of the Blue Oni also being The Ditz.)
    • Played straight with Gosalyn and Honker. She is a rowdy Fiery Redhead while he is a shy Child Prodigy. They get along quite well, but needless to say, it's an Odd Friendship.
  • Remember the New Guy?:
    • How Negaduck is introduced in "Just Us Justice Ducks". Everyone already knows who he is, and unlike the Liquidator, who also also first appeared in the episode (if one watches them the way they aired and not chronologically), he's never given an episode explaining his origin.
    • Megavolt also counts, as his first appearance is in the episode "Duck Blind" which establishes him as already being a regular foe of Darkwing Duck. His origin and real name weren't even revealed until the third season.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Jumbalaya Jake's alligator sidekick Gumbo provides for this.
  • Rescue Reversal: Played with in "Water Way to Go". Darkwing runs after Launchpad when his carrier blows away in a sandstorm, only to be blown away himself and have Launchpad chase after him. Neither saved the other; they were just fortunate enough to turn up near the villain's compound.
  • Resurrect the Villain: F.O.W.L. does this to Taurus Bulba in "Steerminator." He's not at all pleased with his new robot body and trashes the place.
  • Retail Riot: In "Steerminator", the reason Darkwing's legs are broken is because a ski shop sale got rough somehow; Launchpad tells him he's lucky only his legs got broken.
  • 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...
  • Right Behind Me: In "Merchant of Menace", Darkwing turns around to see Grizzlikoff glaring at him and turning red with anger after he just referred to him as a buffoon.
  • 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.
  • Rump Roast: A candle sets Darkwing's rear on fire in "Can't Bayou Love".
  • 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.
    • The gas gun almost never working when D.W. tries to use it on someone, usually backfiring in a hilarious way. "Suck gas, evil doer" is pretty much a cue that the gun will backfire and fail to harm anyone.

    Tropes S-Z 
  • Scary Impractical Armor: Gosalyn is transported into a future where Darkwing Duck becomes unquestioned dictator of the world. In order to make her his ultimate sidekick, he gives her gifts, including a very imposing scary suit of battle armor. The only drawback to it was that she wasn't able to move. But she sure looked impressive.
  • The Scottish Trope: An eerie music piece starts playing every time somebody says 'The Library of Forbidden Spells'. It is discussed by Darkwing and Morgana's father.
  • The Scream
  • 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.
  • Self-Deprecation: Two episodes exploring the notion that Darkwing Duck was a cartoon show, the former being a Real-World Episode and the latter being a case of Animated Actors, had the show being created by a greedy and egotistical man named E. Thaddeus Rockwell, whose name was obviously a play on Darkwing Duck creator Tad Stones, who even co-wrote said episodes.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: Discussed in Episode 36 ("Dry Hard"):
    The case is so much easier when the bad guy offs himself like that...
  • Servile Snarker: Gumbo is Jambalaya Jake's lackey, but not above non-verbally expressing his contempt for his boss's quirks.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Ammonia Pine is a neat freak obsessed with cleaning while her sister Ample Grime is a slob who loves dirt.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Tia is interested in Launchpad because he's kind, has a good heart, and taught her how to laugh and have fun.
  • Slave to PR: Darkwing, tired of his Anti-Hero persona, became a nice, public hero. Negaduck, sick of Darkwing's newfound fame, realized Darkwing couldn't effectively fight crime like this and went on a rampage. Darkwing finally gives it up and reverts to his unpopular, but badass self.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Darkwing's massive ego ("the size of a small planet") is usually what he needs to overcome in most episodes in order to save the day. Despite being an actually competent hero (once that particular obstacle is handled), he is largely ignored by the general public, and what notice he DOES garner is typically negative or disapproving (usually for comic effect). Funnily enough, only his Rogues Gallery seems to give him any credit at all.
  • Smart Jerk and Nice Moron: Though Darkwing is the primary protagonist of Saint Canard, he's also a Large Ham, temperamental, and snarky enough to meet Anti-Hero specs. His sidekick Launchpad is less brainy than Darkwing, but makes up for that with a more affable and generous demeanor. Launchpad tends to receive the brunt of Darkwing's irritation with anything, but the other duck does have a semi-concealed soft spot for him. Additionally, sometimes the dynamic gets flipped given that Darkwing can become Too Clever by Half at times, while Launchpad proves himself wiser than his comrade or notices things he misses.
  • 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 and Darkwing are dueling Smug Supers (though Darkwing imagines GizmoDuck is worse than he actually is). 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).
  • Spell My Name with an S:
    • Darkwing or DarkWing?
    • Negaduck, Nega-Duck or NegaDuck?
    • Morgana McCawber or Maccabre?
    • Once again: Gizmoduck, Gizmo Duck or GizmoDuck?
    • Darkwarrior Duck, DarkWarrior Duck or Dark Warrior Duck?
  • 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 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?
  • Stating the Simple Solution: In "Jurassic Jumble", Dr. Fossil bemoans all the stares and fear he gets from the public as a dinosaur person. Honker asks "Why don't you just change back?" Fossil brushes him off, calling him a "wisenheimer."
  • Stock Scream:
    • When Beelzebub pushes a used car salesman into Hell in the episode "Dead Duck", the Howie Long Scream can be heard.
    • The Howie Long Scream is heard again in "Twitching Channels" when Megavolt zaps a scientist in the butt.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: In "Bad Luck Duck", both Gosalyn and Negaduck think that Darkwing's fan club looks more like a fundraiser for the Save the Geeks foundation.
  • Subverted Catchphrase: In "Malice's Restaurant":
    Darkwing: Come on, Launchpad, let's... get... goulash!
  • Superhero: Darkwing Duck, Quiverwing Duck, GizmoDuck, the reformed Morgana and Neptunia, and the reluctant Stegmutt have all been depicted as St. Canard's superheroes. Since this series is superhero fiction, it is not that surprising.
  • Super Hero Origin: Several different mutually-conflicting ones, actually, thanks to the Negative Continuity. Or just Unreliable Narrator.
  • Super Heroes Wear Capes: Darkwing wears a purple cape, which he irons himself. He considers it an important part of his superhero costume.
  • Supernatural-Proof Father: Darkwing in "The Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain". An unusual case in that (given that Darkwing is a single parent) there is no mother to whom to compare him. However, both Launchpad and Gosalyn recognize that the bizarre events surrounding Paddywhack's box are supernatural before Darkwing admits that it isn't just Gosalyn playing pranks and Launchpad freaking out.
  • Super-Speed: "Going Nowhere Fast" has Darkwing gain super speed.
  • 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. Darkwing and Grizzlikoff are operatives of the same organization, but there is mutual dislike between them. In his attempts to stop the "reckless" Darkwing, Grizzlikoff served as an antagonist, though Grizzlikoff mostly tried to save the day in his own way.
  • Take That!:
  • Taking Over the Town:
    • In the two parter "Just Us Justice Ducks", the Fearsome Five take out the police, S.H.U.S.H. and rewired the electric company with a unbreakable force field. This isolates St. Canard from the rest of world while they take over the city unchallenged.
    • In "Time and Punishment" Darkwing goes full Knight Templar as Dark Warrior Duck in a Bad Future and turns St. Canard into a dystopian Police State, over which he has total authority.
  • Techno Babble: Megavolt can delve into this sometimes:
    Megavolt: The magnet will interpolate the hyperstatic matrix to a random configuration.
    (Confused look on Darkwing Duck, Launchpad and Gosalyn.)
    Megavolt: Um... They'll go boom!
    (Understanding look on Darkwing Duck, Launchpad and Gosalyn.)
  • 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 saccharine 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.
  • 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 dares the universe to prove it. It does, of course.
    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)
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Darkwing himself. When the events of an episode caused his self-confidence to erode or drove him to despair, he would proclaim his intentions to quit the case and his hero career. Shortly after, seeing someone he cared about in danger or convinced that his heroism is needed, Darkwing would jump back in action. Most of his "retirements" did not last more than a couple of hours in-universe.
  • Thememobile: Thunderquack, Ratcatcher. Unusual for this trope, it's only their looks. Their names are completely unrelated to Darkwing's motif.
  • There Are No Therapists: At least, none that can be trusted. The only ones that were seen approaching DW were actually Quackerjack's disguises.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Pellican dies in Pellican's Island but it isn't permanent.
  • This Is My Side: The trope of drawing a line to divide an area between two people angry at each other is used in the episode "Bad Tidings" during Darking and Grizzlikoff's tiff.
  • 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: Used in the episode "Paraducks" when Darkwing and Gosalyn inadvertently go back to Drake Mallard's childhood. Some other episodes also had Quackerjack and Megavolt using a time machine.
  • 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. Darkwing's adoptive daughter is a quite tough and athletic tomboy, with skills in archery, hockey, etc. In a surprise to Darkwing, Gosalyn's Negaverse counterpart is a girly-girl.
  • Too Clever by Half: Darkwing in "dangerous" mode is a force to be reckoned with, and as he usually doesn't have superpowers, that comes down to his gadgets, wits, and physical training. However, Darkwing's tendency to do things the hard way (often while gloating about it) can sometimes keep him from noticing something simple that would tell him the same thing. In "Fraudcast News", he nearly ignores the Bugmaster's message in the paper, claiming that "the untrained eye" might fall for that but he plans to use "science", and in one Fearsome Five episode, Negaduck leaves a crumb to lead him to the hideout — and then snidely tells him he knew he'd miss the gigantic flag.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Binkie Muddlefoot when she hits her head and temporarily becomes "The Canardian Guardian, Champion Of Safety".
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Bushroot goes through this in "It's a Wonderful Leaf". While he is usually an Anti-Villain of the highest degree and his motivation for the episode is good as he was having difficulty in his Christmas shopping, his actions in the episode are still rather assholish. For starters, ruining Christmas can't be any less cruel if one of your actions is making a little kid cry by taking her doll.
  • Toon Physics: Hoo, boy. At least ten times an episode, Darkwing survives injuries and falls that would easily kill a real person, which seems to work against the show's aversion of Never Say "Die", though they do play with it, like in the episode "Film Flam", when D.W. 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.
  • Toothy Bird: Quackerjack is the most prominent example, even to the point that his teeth jump out of his bill (leaving it limp) at the threat of a dentist drill. However, other characters have been seen with teeth now and then. Steelbeak has teeth under his metal bill, and one of the shadowy FOWL leaders is sometimes drawn with vampire-like fangs.
  • Toxic Waste Can Do Anything: Neptunia was mutated from a regular fish into a humanoid half-fish by a barrel of radioactive waste.
  • Transplant: Launchpad and Gizmoduck, from DuckTales (1987).
  • Traveling-Pipe Bulge: In "Dry Hard", when The Liquidator is passing through the pipes of the city waterworks. ("Followwwww that piiiiipe!")
  • Trick Arrows: Gosalyn's own superhero identity, Quiverwing Quack, is an archer in the Green Arrow and Hawkeye tradition. Unsurprisingly, she has an arsenal of trick arrows. Since Darkwing has no known archery skills, it was never explained who trained her.
  • Triple Shifter: Darkwing used to have no problems with this — he did his crimefighting thing at night and slept during the day. Now that he has to be a single dad during the day, one has to wonder when he gets to sleep. Although if you have seen Gosalyn in action, it is obvious parental supervision is a sometimes thing.
  • Troperiffic: The show intentionally crams as many superhero tropes as possible into a single episode. And sometimes parodies tropes from other genres, such as pirate fiction and horror fiction.
  • Tsundere: Morgana. Normally the calm, mysterious person you would expect, but she has got a temper that can literally rain down lighting. At one point, Negaduck got on her bad side and she decided not to use magic. She punched him in the jaw and send him flying.
  • Tuxedo and Martini: Derek Blunt is a blatant James Bond stand-in.
  • Undying Loyalty: Launchpad is always loyal to Darkwing, in spite of the duck knight's Hero with Bad Publicity status,Glory Seeker nature, and snarking at his expense. Even on the (extremely rare) occasions when he's angry at him, he'll usually step up to help him again if Darkwing is actually in trouble.
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode:
    • Darkwing Duck may have been much Darker and Edgier by the standards of The Disney Afternoon, but it's a Disney show; even with the characters averting Never Say "Die" and really dark things happening it's still lighthearted and comedic by most shows' standards. Then we get "Time and Punishment", an episode in which Gosalyn visits a Bad Future caused by Darkwing reinventing himself as a Knight Templar after she disappeared. While Darkwarrior had a fairly humorous ideal (based largely on Disproportionate Retribution for crimes like jaywalking) the episode he was in, for the most part, took itself seriously.
    • The episode "Beauty and the Beet" has been called by Wikipedia as the darkest episode of the show and for a good reason. It has elements of a Sci-Fi and a horror story with Bushroot mutating himself into a half plant half duck monstrosity and snapping after being emotionally abused and violently murdering his enemies. And apart from a few puns during an autopsy scene all this is played grimly straight.
  • Unexplained Recovery:
    • Negaduck survives being sent to oblivion.
    • Banana Boy survives having his body ejected from his skin like a banana.
    • The crew on Pellican's Island appear to be fine after being killed off.
  • Unhand Them, Villain!: During the climax of the pilot, Gosalyn is being held high in the air by the villain's condor to force Darkwing to give up the code for a weapon. Once Darkwing caves to the demand, it drops her. Launchpad, who is following the events and reacts appropriately, saves her.
  • Unified Naming System: SHUSH (a name so top secret none know what the acronym stands for) against F.O.W.L. (Fiendish Organization for World Larceny). Yep, F.O.W.L. got a slight name change in the transition from show to show.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Darkwing's self-provided narration is often at least slightly at odds with what he's actually doing as he says it. Then, of course, there's that one origin story of his...
  • The Unreveal: Speaking of his origin, for the first two seasons of the show, it was a complete mystery. The pilot begins with Darkwing already active as a superhero, instead telling the story of how he adopted Gosalyn. The show parodied this with an entire episode devoted to telling conflicting origin stories for D.W., none of which made any sense. Other episodes would occasionally hint at telling his origin, only to change the subject. The trope was averted in season 3, which finally revealed Darkwing's origin.
  • Vain Sorceress: Morgana. The series' resident witch has some moments of vanity.
  • The Vamp: Morgana. Darkwing's main love interest (and Negaduck's occasional love interest), is an attractive witch. She can use her beauty as an additional weapon to her magic, as a proper vamp. Some episodes give her vaguely vampiric traits, so she has been depicted as an actual vampire in some fanfics.
  • Villainous Friendship: While Megavolt, Bushroot, the Liquidator, and Quackerjack could occasionally come to blows whenever they teamed up with Negaduck to form the Fearsome Five, they usually acted buddy-buddy with each other, and didn't like how Negaduck never wanted to hang out with them after completing a caper. Of them, Megavolt and Quackerjack stand out in that they would occasionally team up with each other without the others.
  • Villainous Harlequin: Quackerjack. To quote Darkwing in the episode "Toys Czar Us": "Quackers, babe - you really need to seek some professional help!"
  • Villain Song: The episode "Paraducks" has the King sing a song where he brags about what a skilled thief he is. Darkwing eventually defeats the King while singing a heroic reprise of the song about how no criminal can elude him.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • This was the case between Darkwing and his next door neighbor Herb Muddlefoot. Herb is usually too friendly and Darkwing found it annoying most of the time, although there were a few times when he stuck up for the guy. (Biggest example: an episode where Herb proved himself SO dedicated to his job - selling kitchen storage products - that he stood up to the villain who was trying to ruin the company's good name. You have to admire someone like that.)
    • Darkwing has a similar relationship to his sidekick Launchpad. Launchpad, being a Cloudcuckoolander, gets on Darkwing's nerves a lot, but nobody is going to get away with messing with him. Launchpad rarely minds Darkwing's insults and is fiercely loyal to him.
    • Megavolt and Quackerjack were often featured as best friends and partners. But they spend part of their episodes getting on each other's nerves, voicing their frustrations with each other, and at times even attacking each other. In an episode early in their partnership, Quackerjack pranks Megavolt, and Megavolt retaliates by zapping him with electricity. They stare angrily at each other, then start laughing and walk away together. They are apparently kindred spirits.
  • Water Source Tampering: The Liquidator started out as an unscrupulous bottled water magnate who was contaminating the competitor's water in order to corner the market. He fell in a vat of his own poison and became a liquid being who could control all water.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Taurus Bulba. After being "killed" early in the series, he was rebuilt as a cyborg.
  • Welcome to the Real World: Featured in counterpoint to Trapped in TV Land in the same episode, "Twitching Channels", in which Darkwing and Megavolt are transported into the human world and discover that there, they are seen as characters in a cartoon series thanks to a creatively bankrupt TV writer who accidentally tuned into broadcasts from their world and based his scripts on them.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Neptunia before her Heel–Face Turn. She is a fish mutated by pollution, so she blames the surface world for what happened to the seas of this world. She was initially determined to attack and destroy cities, as retaliation. But the rest of her episodes depict her as a heroine and Darkwing's teammate. Trying to defend the same city which she once attacked.
  • Went to the Great X in the Sky:
    • When trying to kill Darkwing, Gosalyn and Launchpad with her Octobunny monster in "Paint Misbehavin'", Splatter Phoenix states that she's going to send them to the great canvas in the sky.
    • In "Fraudcast News", Gosalyn pretends to be the Bugmaster's new lackey the Grub in order to help her dad defeat the villainess. While in character, Gosalyn claims that she'll send Darkwing to the big beehive in the sky.
  • We Will Meet Again: Professor Moliarty's debut episode "That Sinking Feeling" ends with the villain burrowing underground and promising that he'll return to fight Darkwing another time.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Darkwing is shocked at Tia's interest in Launchpad.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The mutants in Mutantcy on the Bouncy:
    • Banana Boy can turn from a human form (well pig form) to a giant banana. While useless in combat, he says that it breaks the ice at parties.
    • Glue Gal has the ability to make anything stick.
    • Sneezemaster's mutant power is powerful sneezing, but she also get diseased every time she use it.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Darkwing didn't know Bushroot could heal when he shredded him with a tractor in his first episode.
  • Who Would Want to Watch Us?: At the end of "Kung Fooled", Gosalyn replies to Darkwing's idea of releasing his own line of self defense videos by asking who would stand watching him for a half-hour. She, Darkwing and Launchpad then look at the audience.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Subverted. In "That Sinking Feeling", Moliarty specifically instructs his supposed guards to shoot Launchpad and Darkwing if they avoid being eaten by slugs.
  • Wicked Cultured: Tuskernini. A film director-turned into professional criminal, Tuskernini acts as sophisticated but is quite ruthless.
  • Wily Walrus: The walrus Tuskernini is a failed film director turned supervillain. He is also an Expy of the Batman villain The Penguin.
  • World of Funny Animals: The cartoon has nearly every character be an anthropomorphic animal. Unlike DuckTales (1987) and the comics that inspired it, there is a greater diversity of species than just ducks, Dogfaces and Pigfaces.
  • World of Ham: Pretty much every major character is unable to go five seconds without chewing the scenery.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Dark Warrior Duck has no problem throwing Gosalyn in jail and threatening her with a missile loaded gun, although this is actually subverted as he couldn't bring himself to fire the gun, which led to his defeat during this distraction.
    • Taurus Bulba was perfectly fine with having Gosalyn fall to her death in episode 2. Note that Taurus is specifally Gosalyn's enemy and initially could not care less about Darkwing.
    • Megavolt tries to kill Gosalyn in "Dead Duck" as part of a TV program. However, it was All Just a Dream...Or Was It a Dream?
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Splatter Phoenix correctly points out that D.W. could never bring himself to hit a woman — so Darkwing has Quiverwing (aka Gosalyn) do it.
  • X-Ray Sparks: A regularly used gag, especially in Megavolt episodes.
  • Yellow/Purple Contrast: Usually whenever Negaduck is involved; that is, the high pride of D.W., fitting the multiple shades of purple in his outfit, versus the yellow jacket (and red and black accessories) of the power-hungry Negaduck.
  • Your Mom: In "Mutantcy on the Bouncy", Darkwing sets off Cement Head by telling him that his mother wears cement overshoes.


Video Example(s):


Just Us Justice Ducks

Negaduck falls off a building, gets electrocuted and propelled back up by some telephone wires and is hit with a pie held by Darkwing. The process then repeats with a flower pot, an anvil, a safe and a 100-ton weight. Then, Darkwing drives a garbage truck, positions it so that Negaduck can land in the container... and moves away at the last second so that he hits the asphalt instead. Finally, as Negaduck crawls out of the hole he made, the remote control for the electric wall lands on his head and gets broken, deactivating said wall.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / HumiliationConga

Media sources: