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Uncle Scrooge (IDW) #1

unclescroogeidw001Editor: Sarah Gaydos
Interior Designer: Paul Hornschemeier
Archival Editor: David Gerstein
Cover: Giorgio Cavazzano
Published by: IDW
Cover Date: April 2015
Cover Price: $3.99 (48 pages)

Gigabeagle: King of the Robot Robbers

Writer: Rodolfo Cimino
Artist: Romano Scarpa
Inker: Giorgio Cavazzano
Colorist: Digikore Studios
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Translation and Dialogue: Jonathan H. Gray

This first feature goes with the cover, making it seem like the "core" of the issue. We find Scrooge going a bit crazy with stress and come to find out he’s stressing out over the fact that the Beagle Boys haven’t attacked his famous Money Bin in quite some time…which means they’ve gotta be up to SOMETHING. Turns out that what they’re up to is building a giant robotic Beagle Boy, that can physically TAKE the Money Bin…and take it the thing does, bypassing a ring of mines the ducks have put out to stop intrusion. Unfortunately for the Beagles, the AI malfunctions which leads to a tidy-ish ending of the story for Scrooge.

Given this is a new story I’d never read, it was interesting in itself. It’s been years since I’ve read anything Uncle Scrooge or Disney Ducks, so I was just happy to get a new (to me) story without going outta my way. As a story, though, it seemed rather ludicrous and in many ways far too "simple"…there also seemed to be something a bit "off" to the characters (something I can’t QUITE put my finger on). It’s possible I’ve just had years to build up expectation and for the likes of Don Rosa‘s Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck to settle in my head as an incredibly high standard.

The art is spot-on, though…characters looking perfectly familiar and sound quality.

Pure Viewing Satisfaction

Writer: Alberto Savini
Artist and Inker: Andrea Freccero
Colorist: Disney Italia with David Gorstein
Letterer: Tom B. Long
Translation and Dialogue: David Gerstein

I was surprised at the brevity of this feature. We basically see Scrooge sitting, staring at a new tv…and to summarize beyond that is to give away the "punchline" of the short. It’s amusing enough, fits the generic sense of Scrooge…though it felt odd to see Scrooge and a TV together…somehow I’m more used to (if only due to personal faulty memory) Scrooge and radios or such.

While I appreciate the short as a short, it’s nothing special and kinda seems like filler…yet it still works for me, at least visually. It seems a bit extreme and petty as a story…more like a fleshed-out anecdote than anything else…something a character might comment on in passing about Scrooge than something I’d care to actually see on-panel.

Still…it’s just a single page, a "gag strip," and actual content whose page otherwise could have been some sort of ad, so I’ll take it.

Tinker, Tailor, Scrooge and Sly

Writer: Romano Scarpa, Luca Boschi
Artist: Romano Scarpa
Inker: Sandro Del Conte
Colorist: Disney Italia with Digikore Studios
Letterer: Tom B. LOng
Translation: David Gerstein
Dialogue: Joe Torcivia

This second feature is a welcome element to the issue. When someone steals Scrooge’s jacket, he’s thrust into an adventure unbeknownst 10 years in the making. Seems that 10 years earlier, Scrooge had the thing in to a tailor to be repaired, but the tailor hid a map to a treasure in the lining to smuggle it out from under authorities. After twice rescuing his coat from the would-be thief, he takes it to a tailor in town to repair. Knowing she has a crush on him, he works the angle to get the work done for free…though  he doesn’t get to keep the treasure-find to himself.

The art on this story matches the first (which makes sense stylistically and in being the same artist!). Nothing to gripe about there.

There was something more familiar to this story that worked better for me…perhaps because it "felt" like it could be at home as a DuckTales episode or some such. I might’ve preferred this story as the lead, but its presence in the issue is welcome none the less and definitely worth the read.

Overall

I’d have to go back to revisit the Boom! Studios-published stuff from a few years ago but I don’t remember those issues being quite this thick. Getting two "feature length" stories and a "gag strip"/one-page short as a third thing is quite welcome. The lead is 28 pages, and the second feature is 15 pages…44 pages of content including the single-page piece!

And we get numerous panels per page with plenty of dialogue and such throughout so this is NOT a quick read the way many other comics are with half, full, and double-page splashes and pages of near "silence" to be sped through with no text to slow things down.

Combine those factors and you have one of the most fun comics out there for the $3.99 price point. That’s double (or MORE) the content of MOST $3.99 books.

My core complaint about this tends to be my usual: those doggone VARIANT covers. Given the issue is (as I understand) functionally "just" translated/reprint material previously published outside the U.S….throw a couple full-page images/"pinups" in the issue, use ’em as a watermark on the inside cover(s), put one on the back cover…but…enough with the perpetual variants already!

This issue is technically numbered #1 (405) as IDW is looking inconsistent–wanting to publish its OWN Uncle Scrooge #1, yet appease fans of the "legacy" numbering by doing this dual-numbering (yet, I believe they are simply going with the classic numbering for the forthcoming Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories title…so why they couldn’t simply preserve the "legacy" numbering on this as well is beyond me (and even if they numbered this #405 they could STILL have plastered a big #1 or 1st Issue or such on the thing… or gone with #405 (1) to track their own numbering within the "classic legacy" of the Disney books.

The Duck Books are fun, classic fare. Like Archie comics, they may look like they’re "just for kids" or juvenile, but they hold so much potential and there are some great bits, certainly quite enjoyable for an adult…particularly for the bit of nostalgia.

I’m assuming the pagecount is going to be "standard" for this series, and especially if it holds on that, you really won’t find much out there more fun and more worthy of a $3.99 price point.

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Donald Duck and Friends #347 [Review]

Doubleduck

Written by: Fausto Vitaliano
Art by: Andrea Freccero
Editor: Aaron Sparrow
Assistant Editor: Christopher Burns
Translator: Saida Temofonte
Letterer: Jose Macasocol Jr.
Cover A&B: Andrea Freccero
Designer: Erika Terriquez

I do believe that this is the first-ever “new” issue of a Donald Duck comic I’ve bought. I wasn’t really sure what to expect of this purchase, but after years of having to pass on Gemstone’s Duck comics for pricing, I wanted to pick this up to at least give it a look-see. As usua. I’m not thrilled at the use of variant covers, but at least both ‘regular’ covers were in stock on the lunch hour I used to visit the comic store, so I was afforded a choice between the two (hint: I went with the one you see with this review).

Glancing inside the issue, the interior art is vastly different from the cover art–the cover actually gives Donald an “edgy” sort of look, kinda like what you might expect of a comic called “Donald Duck Extreme.” The interior visuals seem rather soft and simplistic by comparison. However, while the art was really pretty “standard” I liked it. The characters seem to be depicted in what I imagine could be compared to the “house style” for the Archie characters; the “generic” style works well in keeping everyone recognizeable and I could almost visualize character “templates.” One character put me in mind of Herb from Darkwing Duck–I could hear that voice as I read the character’s word balloons.

The story itself is fairly ridiculous: Donald falls asleep at a James Pond movie, so Daisy gets upset and goes off with someone else for the rest of the night. Donald is recognized as “Double Duck,” and eventually comes to find himself with an unlikely situation–and a choice to make.

Though the potential for a lot more violence is there, things are really pretty toned down. This reminds me very much of what I’ve always enjoyed with a lot of the Disney characters, especially the classic “Disney Afternoon” shows: that simple, classic characters can be retooled into other roles that are interesting and yet maintain the essential “character” that draws you to ’em.

That “347” on the cover makes this feel like what it is: a leap into the depths of the lake to see how the water is there. It’s a first issue without all the trappings of a traditional debut issue; it’s simply a story per likely standard fare; the reader is assumed to be able to pick it up and enjoy it without it having to be some fresh start.

The story itself and the visual style with numerous panels on every page made for a much more satisfying read, with more story than many other comics these days hold.

This is the first of at least 2 parts, which is a little unfortunate–picking this issue up, one will need to invest in at least one more to complete the story. At the same time, this issue is enjoyable enough that I fully intend to snag the next issue to see where things go.

Recommended.

Story: 8/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 7/10

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