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Reviews: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #5

btmr005To be Disneyfied is often treated as an insult.  It is a term used to denote taking something serious and making it into something whimsical and lighthearted.  While the term is common in popular culture as a slang insult, it should also be noted that Disney is not necessarily stuck in the 1930s and 1950s.  It remains a company that appears somewhat wholesome, but it is also a company that still manages to come up with new ideas all the time, and an appreciation of how far the company has come can be seen in a series like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Whereas at one time the only female role for a Disney character was as princess in distress, the modern company at least seems interested in fitting in with the changes underway in popular culture.  Thus while series protagonist Abigail Bullion fits a broad definition of princess (the daughter of an industrialist), her actions do not.

Thus far in this series she has been identified as an intrepid explorer, horse stuntswoman and even train robber, and this is very much of a departure from the regular in terms of how Disney has historically handled its heroines.  With the threat posed by the Big Thunder Mountain Mine, both in physical terms and economic ones, the character has been forced into situations which are not similar for Disney characters, especially its princesses.  In this final issue as Abbey and Chandler are led back into town by Willikers, they learn of the impending cave-in of the mine, and rush off to help.

What follows is not as much out of the box as might have been hinted at earlier in this series.  The ending is fulfilling but also perhaps too wholesome.  While there were some signs that things would be really different here, it ended up close enough to the Disney script to be recognizable to what has come before.  It still represents a step forward for the company, just not as big a step as it might have accomplished, turning Abbey into something a bit more than what she ended up.  The finale was still fun and worthwhile, but ended up lacking that little bit extra to make it special, a good ending to a series which could have been great.

 Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Tigh Walker and Guillermo Mogorron
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Read