The Duck Avenger, also known as Phantom Duck (and named Paperinik in the original Italian version) is Donald Duck's alternate identity.
Biography and descriptionEditAfter finding the secret diary of Fantomallard, a masked gentleman-thief of the 1920s, in an abandoned mansion named the Villa Rosa, Donald Duck decided to use Fantomallard's gadgets and costume to avenge himself from all who treated him badly in his daily life, starting with Scrooge McDuck and Gladstone Gander. Now known as the Duck Avenger (or Phantom Duck the Devilish Avenger), Donald revealed his new identity to Gyro Gearloose, who he asked for new, more modern gizmos to add to Fantomallard's. Gyro, deeply honest at heart, managed after some time to convince Donald to use his Duck Avenger identity to help the citizens of Duckburg catch thieves and face threats, and the Duck Avenger became Duckburg's hero. Occasionally he does go back to using the Duck Avenger role for his own interests.
PKNA and other rebootsEditWhile the Duck Avenger was initially conceived as a normal addition to the Duck comic universe, who could fit seamlessly in the usual pattern, there was in later times an attempt to reboot the Duck Avenger into a more superheroesque, serious action-based style: named PKNA (for "PaperiniK New Adventures), the series had the Duck Avenger discover an artificial intelligence named One in a secret floor in a millionaire inventor's skyscrapper. One asks for the Duck Avenger's help to save the Earth from an alien invasion by a race named the Evronians, and in exchange provides him with new science-fictional weapons. Of those weapons, the most recurrent one was the Extransformer Shield, a robotical gauntlet/shield hybrid worn by the Duck Avenger on his right arm and that could project rays and other projectiles at enemies. Despite its inconsistency in tone with the usual Duck Avenger comics, PKNA had a very good reception, and a sequel series, PK2, was produced.
There was later a new reboot that used the PKNA additions but retconned the Duck Avenger as being part of a galactical team of superheroes, the Guardians of the Galaxy (unrelated to the later Marvel movie), and thus creating a new origin story for the Duck Avenger, cutting all ties to the regular Disney comics Duck Avenger. This new series, PK, was the first to be published in English, under the name Superduck and as a digicomic.
There was yet another attempt at rebooting the Duck Avenger figure, and the first one coming from the U.S.A.: created to be in line with the classic Disney comics spirit but still including elements from PKNA (namely, the Extransformer Shield as the DA's weapon and the Evronians as enemies) , it featured Ludwig von Drake recruiting Donald Duck and Spike the Bee (from the 40's Donald cartoons) to battle the Evronians shortly before himself getting kidnapped by the malevolent aliens. All that remains of this intended reboot is a three-part story entitled The Secret Origin of the Duck Avenger, published in the comic book Disney Adventures. Interestingly, it is where the name of Duck Avenger originated, as it was created so that the hero could have the same initias as the comic book itself (D.A.).
The most recent attempt at rebooting Paperinik is 2014's Paperinik New Era, or PKNE, which picks up from PKNA and PK2 while savvily ignoring Superduck and the Disney Adventures reboot. The series, while written in the PKNA style, acknowledges that the stories are still meant to be in continuity with the earlier Duck Avenger from the normal Disney comics. According to Francesco Artibani's 2016 crossover story "TimeCrime", the series is also in continuity with DoubleDuck (although only Artibani's own DoubleDuck stories support this) and an earlier series of spy stories.
A typical feature of all the modern PK series (PKNA, PK², Pk - Pikappa and PKNE) is that the Duck Avenger is usually referred to as "Pikappa" (as a pronunciation of the letters PK) in the original Italian instead of "Paperinik".