Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Scott Rockwell’

Uncle Scrooge #360

December 20, 2011 Leave a comment

December 9, 2006

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Being Good For Goodness Sake and other stories

Who has the most Christmas spirit: Scrooge or Donald?

Writers: Carlo Chendi, Carl Barks, S. & U. Printz-Pahlson, Donald D. Markstein, Kirsten DeGraaf, Tony Isabella, Kristian Hojsteen, John Clark
Art: Romano Scarpa, Carl Barks, Vicar, Mau Heymans, Daniel Branca
Colors: Scott Rockwell, Rick Keene, Egmont, Kneon Transitt, Marie Javins, Michael Kraiger
Letters: Todd Klein, Willie Schubert, Susie Lee, Jon Babcock, John Clark
Editor: Leonard (John) Clark
Cover Art: Marco Rota & Susan Daigle-Leach
Publisher: Gemstone Publishing

This year’s Christmas offering from Uncle Scrooge is well worth your money – lots of good stories and not a weak one in the bunch.

“Being Good For Goodness Sake” is first. Carlo Chendi and Romano Scarpa give us this lengthy tale, in which the Mayor of Duckburg offers a $10,000 prize to the citizen who demonstrates the most Christmas spirit. Donald and Scrooge, in an effort to win the money, begin dumping as much cheer as they can on a hapless individual they suspect of being one of the secret judges. Meanwhile, the Beagle Boys take advantage of Scrooge’s distraction to break out of prison and plan their latest heist.

Just when you’ve thought they found every way to twist around the Duck Christmas story, Vhendi and Scarpa have given us something utterly unique. Usually you have one or the other ducks trying to teach the others a lesson, but here the ducks are both squarely in the wrong, and even the nefarious Beagle Boys show more true Christmas spirit than they do. The gags are funny, and the twist put on the end of this story is really original – something I never thought I’d see in a Disney comic, but which nonetheless fits the story perfectly.

Carl Barks’ 1963 Gyro Gearloose story, “Snow Duster,” is the next offering in this issue. Gyro has invented a formula that can rapidly evaporate snow from driveways and sidewalks. When the owners of the local football stadium find out about it, they hire him to take a crop duster and clear out the stadium in time for the big game. Gyro’s power turns out only to be good at short-range, though, and it looks as though the experiment – and Gyro’s reputation – will be ruined, until his Little Helper comes up with a plan. This is a rare story in which Helper actually has dialogue (even if Gyro can’t understand him), and it works pretty well, even if it isn’t something I would want to see on a regular basis.

“Return of the Terror” is a sequel to issue #358’s “The Terror From Outer Space,” in which an alien from a planet of criminals was thwarted in his attempt to pull off the heist of a lifetime – stealing Scrooge’s money bin. This time, the insidious Tachyon Farflung returns, planning to ambush Scrooge as he takes advantage of a major light bulb sale. (Yeah, Scrooge is that cheap.) The ducks wind up doing battle with the alien in the midst of a crowded-to-bursting shopping center, which provides plenty of gags throughout the story.

“Trapdoor Trick” is a great one-pager where the nephews take advantage of Scrooge’s security measures to get the best of him. This is quickly followed by “Operation Vesuvius.” Magica DeSpell interrupts the ducks as they’re in the middle of their Christmas shopping, but she gets snagged. Scrooge knows the authorities won’t be able to hold her for long, so he takes advantage of her temporary incapacity to rush to her workshop on Mount Vesuvius to destroy her magical paraphernalia. The resultant battle royale is pretty good, but not quite a home run. Finally there’s another one-page, “Snow Intention to Pay,” in which Scrooge’s shrewd business acumen comes up with a way to get the path to his Money Bin shoveled for free.

Not a bad little collection, with a really good opening story to propel it along.

Rating: 8/10

Uncle Scrooge #347

August 21, 2011 Leave a comment

November 3, 2005

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Escape From Forbidden Valley and other stories

The ducks are on the run from the monsters of the Forbidden Valley!

Writers: Don Rosa, Pat & Carol McGreal, Frank Jonker, Dwight Decker, Lars Jensen, David Gerstein & Janet Gilbert
Art: Don Rosa, Maria Nunez, Bas Heymans, Jose Maria Manrique & Vicar
Colors: Egmont, Scott Rockwell, Michael Kraiger, T. Letterman, Pamela Rambo & Kneon Transitt
Letters: Jon Babcock, Susie Lee, Marshall Dillon & Willie Schubert
Editor: Arnold T. Blumberg
Cover Art: Don Rosa
Publisher: Gemstone Comics

A great headliner story by Don Rosa combined with a few really solid back-ups makes for one of the best issues of Uncle Scrooge in months.

Rosa starts off with his trademark – a sequel to a classic Carl Barks Uncle Scrooge tale. This time he picks up on threads from not one, but two stories – “Forbidden Valley” and “A Spicy Tale.” When Scrooge and his nephews take a trip to South America to find a new source for the rare nutmegs he so loves (his one indulgence is nutmeg tea), Donald gets abducted by a native tribe the ducks agitated on an earlier visit to the country. Scrooge and the boys set out to rescue him, only to find themselves prisoners of the Forbidden Valley, a mysterious land where dinosaurs still roam the Earth!

This story has everything you want out of Rosa – great artwork and clever dialogue, nods to the works of Carl Barks (in this case even going so far as dropping in flashbacks taken directly from the earlier stories), and a new exploration of certain facets of Scrooge’s personality. This time out, Rosa tackles Scrooge’s relationship with Donald, putting forth a new theory as to why the richest duck in the world may be so hard on his happy-go-lucky nephew.

Rosa also does great work on the dinosaurs – he’s clearly put in a lot of research, and takes advantage of the natural appearance of one of the creatures for a great last-panel gag. This is a sweet, fun story. And let’s face it, who doesn’t love dinosaurs?

Next up, the McGreals and Nunez give us “Legal Beagle.” When the Beagle Boys pick up one of their brothers on the day of his release from prison, they’re dismayed to learn that the prison psychologist has convinced him to go straight. The reformed Beagle starts bungling their schemes, and they’re stuck trying to find a way to get him off the straight and narrow. This was a particularly funny tale, one that uses the Beagles in a creative, uncommon way.

“Don Quiduck De La Mancha,” by Jonker, Decker and Heymans, is a surprise treat in this issue. Donald is studying overtime to beat out Gladstone Gander in Daisy’s production of “Don Quiduck De La Mancha,” but as always, he takes it too far, and a moment of exhaustion convinces him he is the legendary hallucinating knight errant. As Donald sets out on a quest throughout Duckberg, he accidentally puts the combination to Scrooge’s Money Bin in jeopardy, and Scooge and the boys have to snap him back to his senses before it’s too late. I quite enjoyed this story – the writing is solid and fun, but the artwork by Bas Heymans was a revelation. I’m not very familiar with his work, but this story has put him on my radar. He has a great gift – the loose lines of Will Van Horn combined with the incredible layout and storytelling skills of Carl Barks. I was highly impressed with the look of this story and hope to see more work by Heymans in the future.

Jensen and Manrique bring us Gyro Gearloose and Fethry Duck in “Green Thumbs Down.” When Fethry’s fanatical devotion to his garden costs him his job, Gyro tries to help him find new ways to get by with his produce. I quite enjoyed this as a change of pace – it’s nice to see a Gyro story that, for once, doesn’t hinge on one of his inventions going haywire.

Finally we’ve got “The Scrooge Museum” by Janet Gilbert and Vicar. Scrooge is happy to allow mementos of his adventures to be displayed at the Duckberg museum, but is dismayed when he learns that a provision in the contract that allows government officials free admission. He angrily insists that everyone have to pay to get in, but then finds himself stuck when he can’t get in free to view his own possessions. This is a funny story, but seems to fall victim to the trap of one story per issue stretching Scrooge’s character. A lot of the later gags rely on him spending outlandish amounts of money to get out of paying a one dollar admission. Scrooge is a man of principle, yes, but I can’t help but thing his principles would give way to his frugality in this case.

Still, that’s a small misstep, and not enough to damage my appreciation of this issue overall. It’s a very strong issue, and I give it an enthusiastic recommendation.

Rating: 8/10

Uncle Scrooge #345

August 12, 2011 Leave a comment

September 11, 2005

Quick Rating: Good
Title: King Scrooge the First and other stories

A trip to the past sends Scrooge on another treasure hunt.

Writers: Carl Barks, Terry Laban, Pat & Carol McGreal, Gorm Transgaard, Annette Roman, Paul Halas & Tony Isabella
Art: Tony Strobl, Rodriques, Jose Maria Manrique & Jose Colomer Fonts
Colors: Scott Rockwell, Egmont, Barry Grossman, Michael Kraiger & T. Letterman
Letters: Willie Schubert, Susie Lee & Jon Babcock
Editor: Arnold T. Blumberg
Cover Art: Daniel Branca
Publisher: Gemstone Publishing

Another month, another collection of Uncle Scrooge tales, and as seems to be the case lately, it’s been mostly decent, lighthearted fare. There’s nothing wrong with anything in this issue, but I personally prefer my Scrooge when he gets into high adventure.

First up is “King Scrooge the First,” a reprint of a 1967 tale written by Carl Barks with art by Tony Strobl. An underhanded Swami tricks Scrooge and his nephews into drinking a magic potion that sends them thousands of years in the past, where he hopes they’ll lead him to a magnificent treasure. This is the closest story in the issue to what I really look for in a Scrooge tale, and it comes complete with a really good twist ending. Strobl was a solid artist in his own right, but somehow, Barks drawn by someone other than Barks never quite hits that plateau of greatness.

Terry Laban’s “X-Treme Scrooge” is an example of a more modern Scrooge tale. When the world’s richest duck becomes immersed in the information age, he discovers a young dot-com entrepreneur who threatens to unseat his position at the top of the wealth ladder. Scrooge tries to enter into a partnership, rather than a competition, and winds up being coaxed into a series of “extreme” sports to keep up with him. It’s kind of a long set-up to get to the basic gist of the story – seeing Scrooge take part in ski sailing and upside-down snowboarding competitions, but it comes together okay.

“You’re a Boonehead Now” by Pat and Carol McGreal and art by Jose Maria Manrique casts a spotlight on Scrooge’s longtime foes, the Beagle Boys. Trying to escape the police, the Beagles inadvertently wind up volunteering to be camp counselors for a group of rowdy Boonehead Scouts – and the kids may be more trouble than the cops would have been. It’s your standard “bumbling villains in over their heads” story.

Gorm Transgaard writes “Feed For Greed,” with art by Manrique and English dialogue by Annette Roman. This time out, Scrooge invests in an invention that can make anyone greedy for anything, the perfect sales tool. I’ll be honest, I didn’t like this story at all, because it simply doesn’t ring true to the character. Although there is a passing reference to Scrooge needing to find a legal loophole to allow him to use the invention because he makes his money “square,” in-character Scrooge knows that “legal” and “square” aren’t always the same thing. The Barks creation, who always makes his money honestly, would never stoop to such a level.

Finally there’s “Lost and Found” by Paul Halas and Jose Colomer Fonts, with English dialogue by Tony Isabella. Gyro Gearloose unveils his latest creation, a “find anything machine,” which at first seems like an excellent idea, but which soon proves itself to be as buggy and dangerous as most of Gyro’s creations. It’s a cute story.

The Barks tale is good enough to be balanced out by the bad “Greed” story, brining this issue to just an okay average. Uncle Scrooge has had a string of so-so issues since #342’s knockout issue. Hopefully it’ll pick up again next month.

Rating: 7/10

Uncle Scrooge #344

June 24, 2011 Leave a comment

July 30, 2005

Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Fishpond Frenzy and Other Stories

Something is fishy when Magica makes a play for Scrooge’s number-one dime.

Writers: Paul Halas, Marco Rota, Janet Gilbert, Terry Laban & Carl Barks
Art: Marco Rota, Manrique, Romano Scarpa, Tino Santanach & Carl Barks
Colors: Egmont, Scott Rockwell, Pamela Rambo, Marie Javins & Summer Hinton
Letters: Willie Schubert, Jon Babcock & Susie Lee
Editor: Arnold T. Blumberg
Cover Art: Marco Rota & Susan Daigle-Leach
Publisher: Gemstone Comics

This month’s collection of Uncle Scrooge tales is a nice little assortment. There’s nothing mindblowing, but every story is above average and entertaining in its own right.

First up is “Fishpond Frenzy” by Paul Halas and Marco Rota. Scrooge attempts to breed a new species of fish to win a Koi Pond contest with a $10,000 cash prize, but when a ravenous pike makes its way into the pond, Magica sees the perfect distraction to go after his number-one dime. It’s a good story, only upset a little by a last panel that lapses into the cheesy.

Next is “Beagles, Boys and a Bin” by Janet Gilbert and Manrique. The Beagle Boys use a perfume that smells like money to lure Scrooge into a trap and begin a raid on his money bin. Now the only ones who can save his fortune are his great-nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie – with a little help from the Junior Woodchuck Guidebook. This is really a starring vehicle for the nephews, which is fine with me – this is the kind of story where they really shine.

“All You Need is Love” by Terry Laban and the late European superstar artist Romano Scarpa is actually my favorite story this issue. Scrooge’s admirer Brigitta MacBride is dismayed when he begins spending time with a diamond heiress. When she decides to try to become friends with her rival, though, she worries that Scrooge may be in danger. Scarpa is one of the few duck artists (along with William Van Horn, Don Rosa and Carl Barks) that has a really unique style all his own, and it’s a great one that will be missed.

Gilbert and Tino Santanach bring us this issue’s Gyro Gearloose tale, “Big Helper.” Gyro and Little Helper (his light-bulb headed assistant) are dismayed when another inventor and his “Big Helper” steal the show at the Duckburg Invention Convention, leading Gyro to try to improve on his own assistant. But some things, he learns, are perfect just the way they are.

Finally we have a lesser-reprinted Carl Barks story, “The Cattle King” (originally published in Uncle Scrooge #69, May 1967). Scrooge brings his nephews off to his ranch in Longhorn Valley to teach them the cattle business. Things get hairy when one of his old enemies from the McViper clan shows up and tries to rustle his herd, and again, it’s up to the nephews to save the day. It’s a dandy little comedy/western.

Overall, this is a highly satisfying issue, one that would be perfect to sit down and share with your kids.

Rating: 8/10

Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Comics-75 Years of Innovation

June 21, 2011 Leave a comment

July 31, 2006

Quick Rating: Very Good

A collection of rare Disney comics from across 75 years and around the world!

Writers: Floyd Gottfredson, Ted Osborne, Walt Kelly, Carl Buettner, Hubie Karp, Bill Walsh, Carl Barks, Don Christensen, Romano Scarpa, Dwight Decker, Dick Kinney, Vic Lockman, Eirik Ildahl, Freddy Milton, Daan Jippes, Geoffrey Blum, Renato Canini, Marck Meul, Jim Kenner, Byron Erickson, Bruno Sarda, Gary Leach, Don Rosa, Janet Gilbert, Evert Geradts
Art: Floyd Gottfredson, Earl Duvall, Ted Thwaites, Wilfred Haughton, Al Taliaferro, Walt Kelly, Carl Buettner, Paul Murray, Dick Moores, Paul Murry, Bill Wright, Carl Barks, Gil Turner, Frank McSavage, Romano Scarpa, Giorgio Cavazzano, Al Hubbard, Tony Strobl, Freddy Milton, Daan Jippes, Roberto O. Fukue, Daniel Branca, Andrea Ferraris, William Van Horn, Don Rosa, Vicar, Mau Heymans, Cesar Ferioli
Restoration: Daan Jippes & David Gerstein (“Race to the South Seas”), Rick Keene (“Sauce For the Duck”)
Colors: Rick Keene, Kneon Transitt, Marie Javins, Scott Rockwell, Barry Grossman, Susan Daigle-Leach, Michael Kraiger
Letters: Susie Lee, Jon Babcock, Bill Spicer, Willie Schubert, John Clark, Rick Keene
Archival Editor: David Gerstein
Cover Art: Don Rosa
Publisher: Gemstone Comics

Borrowing a page from Disney’s DVD department, which has been putting out a line of Walt Disney Treasures collector’s editions for a few years now, Gemstone Comics has graced us with this new volume, collecting rare comics and imports, some never before reprinted, from the vast history of Disney Comics. Billed as containing “75 years of innovation” (which is technically true, as it collects stories from 1930 through 2004, a total of 75 years), this is a very nice sampler of some of the various comics Disney has graced us with over the decades.

The collection has too many stories (presented, more or less, in chronological order of publication) to give a full review of each one, so let’s just take an overview of what we get here. First, there are several short stories from the various Disney newspaper strips, including a really nice Sunday storyline about Mickey and the gang trying to conquer a mountain. (To give you an idea of how old this story is, Goofy is still referred to here by his original name, “Dippy Dog”.) We get a smattering of various characters from throughout the Disney library, including a Brer Rabbit story, a Lil’ Bad Wolf story, stories with Grandma Duck, Fethry Duck, José Carioca, Arizona Dipp, Bucky Bug and a great Gremlins strip by the immortal Walt Kelly. Goofy stars in two stories, one co-starring with the little-seen Ellsworth and the other featuring his alter-ego, Super Goof. Pluto faces off with Chip and Dale, the Beagle Boys co-star with Magica DeSpell, we have a Ducktales story with Launchpad McQuack and, of course, a healthy sprinkling of stories featuring the Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck families of characters. It’s a testament to how rare these stories are that I’ve only read one of these (the Beagle Boys/Magica story) before I got this volume.

In addition to a nice mix of characters, we get a nice mix of creators as well. There’s the aforementioned Walt Kelly (best known as the creator of Pogo), and we see the work of Floyd Gottfredson (creator of some of the best Disney newspaper strips), William Van Horn on the Ducktales story and popular creators from overseas such as Romano Scarpa, Daniel Branca and Vicar among others. American legends Carl Barks and Don Rosa each contribute a story to this volume as well. With any collection like this, the stories are expected to vary in quality, but with the exception of the Bucky Bug story (I’m just not a Bucky fan) I didn’t think there was a weak story in the bunch. The Goofy/Ellsworth story (reprinted here for the first time since its original Italian publication in 1965) is particularly funny. Barks’s story features Donald and Gladstone in a race to save their lost Uncle Scrooge, each hoping to secure their place as his favorite. Rosa’s story is unusual in that it has no villains other than Scrooge’s thirst for wealth – the ducks attempt to conquer a mountain he’s purchased looking for rare gems or metals, and it’s his zeal or Donald’s ineptitude that cause all of the mayhem. The artwork is beautiful and the writing is hysterical – just what you expect from Rosa. Mickey’s last story, by Byron Erickson and Cesar Ferioli, features his friends suspecting he’s ready to throw Minnie over for a new girl and plotting to confront him. With the possible exception of the Barks story, the volume doesn’t contain any of the high adventure stories that mark my favorite Disney comics, but fans looking to laugh will be highly satisfied.

Gemstone went to great lengths to imitate the DVD style with this book, from using the same cover design (including a wonderful Don Rosa cover) to commentary by Archival Editor David Gerstein, taking the role filled on the DVDs by Leonard Maltin. In addition to an introduction discussing the history of Disney comics, he also takes time to discuss how some of the cultural stereotypes shown in a few of the stories were viewed at the time. Maltin has done similar things on some of the DVDs and, like there, I found it a little frustrating – not so much that the discussion was held, but that if Gerstein hadn’t addressed the issue himself there would inevitably have been some people who complained about the stories without thinking about their context.

Judging from the number of titles this volume has – Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Comics – 75 Years of Innovation – it gives me the impression that future Walt Disney Treasures collections are in the works. I certainly hope that is the case. This was a good read, but aside from their scarcity the stories collected in this volume don’t really have any connective thread or reason to be presented together. It’s like reading a particularly long, particularly good issue of Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories. Here’s hoping Gemstone comes back with more volumes collecting great works by different creators, characters, stories with the same themes or other volumes that feel more complete in the stories collected therein. As far as this book goes, though, it’s a satisfying read for any real fan of Disney comics.

Rating: 8/10

Uncle Scrooge #342

May 12, 2011 Leave a comment

May 27, 2005

Quick Rating: Excellent
Title: The Old Castle’s Other Secret or A Letter From Home and Other Stories

The greatest treasure in the world is waiting for Scrooge McDuck – and he’ll have to go home again to find it.

Writers: Don Rosa, Byron Erikson, Lars Jensen, Jack Sutter & Carl Barks
Art: Don Rosa, Wanda Gattino, Maria Jose Sanchez Nunez & Carl Barks
Colors: Susan Daigle-Leach, Egmont, Scott Rockwell & Marie Javins
Letters: Todd Klein, Jon Babcock & Susie Lee
Editor: Arnold T. Blumberg
Cover Art: Don Rosa
Publisher: Gemstone Comics

Three months ago I reviewed Uncle Scrooge #339, containing Don Rosa’s “The Crown of the Crusader Kings,” and at the time I thought it might well have been the best story Rosa ever told. That was before I read this one.

“The Castle’s Other Secret” is the sequel to that story, in which Scrooge uncovered the ancient Crown of the Knights Templar, only to lose it to the modern incarnation of the Knights. It was only a minor loss, though, as he found another important clue – the crown was crapped in an ancient orange and green tartan – the symbol of the Clan McDuck! It was another clue pointing to the treasure of the Knights Templar – the greatest treasure in the history of the world – and the trail was pointing straight towards his ancestral castle.

In this issue, Scrooge and his nephews return to Castle McDuck on the Misty Moors of Scotland to continue the quest for the treasure, but Scrooge is taken aback by the Castle’s new caretaker – his own estranged sister, Matilda, whom he hasn’t seen in 25 years. When Scrooge returned home from his travels around the world his sisters, Matilda and Hortense (Donald’s mother) abandoned him, disgusted by his greed. (This whole story, by the way, is detailed in Rosa’s The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, which Gemstone is releasing as a trade paperback next month). His sister hasn’t forgiven him in all those years, and now he not only has to deal with a sister who despises him, but a Templar racing him for the treasure.

Every good thing that can be said about a Don Rosa comic book applies to this issue. The art is detailed and beautiful, full of small touches and in-jokes that only the sharpest-eyed readers will notice. The story is rich and heavily researched – every historical fact Rosa uses in his stories is meticulously studied to match it up with actual history. But he managed to take this story one step further. He managed to make a story about the search for the greatest treasure in the world into a personal tale about family, brothers and sisters, fathers and sons. Just the panel of Scrooge visiting his parents’ grave alone is magical, but the way he connects with his long-dead father is uplifting and inspiring. There’s more depth, characterization and genuine emotion in this story than in any year’s worth of your average comic book. This is, simply put, one of the greatest comic book stories I’ve ever read.

We get three other quick tales in this issue as well, all of them pleasant enough. Lars Jensen, Jack Sutter and Maria Jose Sanchez Nunez present “The Door Trap,” in which the nefarious Beagle Boys get their hands on a magical door that transports anyone who steps through it to the middle of the Gobi desert. As always, they try to use it to nab Scrooge’s fortune – with predictably disastrous results.

Speaking of disastrous results, Byron Erickson and Wanda Gattino give us Gyro Gearloose in “The Customer is Always Wrong.” Fed up with Donald’s frequent mishandling of his inventions, Gyro severs his partnership with the duck, only to realize why he may need him after all. The book closes with a Carl Barks classic, “Raven Mad” from Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #265 (Oct. 1962). Scrooge puts his number-one dime on display at the Duckberg Bazaar, only to find himself again defending it from the machinations of Magica DeSpell.

The other three stories are all fine and would make for satisfying reading in any case. But the Rosa tale this issue is simply brilliant. I’ve come to expect a great read every time his name appears in the credits, but this goes far beyond even my expectations. If you’ve been thinking about trying out Uncle Scrooge, this is the issue to start.

Rating: 10/10

Uncle Scrooge #341

May 7, 2011 Leave a comment

April 30, 2005

Quick Rating: Good
Title: The Magic Hourglass and other stories

When Scrooge gives away the Magic Hourglass that brought him his fortune, can he get his luck back?

Writers: Carl Barks, J. Antrobus, B. Bartholomew & Dick Kinney
Art: Carl Barks, William Van Horn, Daniel Branca, R. Scarpa & G. Cavazzano
Colors: Scott Rockwell, G. Leach, Egmont, Pamela Rambo & Susan Daigle-Leach
Letters: Jon Babcock & Travis Seitler
Editor: Arnold T. Blumberg
Cover Art: William Van Horn
Publisher: Gemstone Comics

This issue we’ve got two old Carl Barks tales, and while neither of them are quite classics, they’re still quite entertaining in their own right.

The issue starts off with Barks’s “The Magic Hourglass,” featuring a new framing sequence by William Van Horn. Scrooge, thinking his favorite hourglass’s sand has worn out, gives it to his nephews, only to discover that the hourglass was magic and responsible for his years of prosperity. He winds up in a race with his own nephews to the Sahara desert to refill the glass with magic sand to give it back its power. The story is cute, but somewhat surprising from Barks. Frankly, I can never fully enjoy any story that credits Scrooge’s enormous fortune to any sort of magic or lucky charm as opposed to his own grit, determination and hard work. It cheapens the character somehow, and just because this story is by the creator of the character doesn’t really make it any easier to take.

Next up we have the Beagle Boys in “Metro Raid.” When Duckburg’s predominant crooks find out that Scrooge’s Money Bin is in trouble due to the nearby subway, they hatch a plot to break in through the subway and steal his fortune. Scrooge’s own plans may foul their up, however. It’s a cute story with very nice art by Daniel Branca.

Barks also supplies this issue’s Gyro Gearloose tale. In “The Stubborn Stork,” the inventor is depressed about his inability to sell his flying saucer bikes, even at the bargain price of $4. He finally finds a customer when Scrooge needs a way to get to the roof of his money bin to find why the vent is blocked, only to discover a stork that just just doesn’t want to leave. Again, it’s a cute story.

The prize of this issue is the final story, “Around the World in Eighty Daze” by Kinney, Scarpa and Cavazzano. Scrooge enters a competition with one of his many arch-enemies, John Rockerduck – a race around the world, with the catch that the victor is not only the one who makes the trip faster, but also cheaper. Scrooge and Donald get caught up in a series of misadventures, chasing their less-than honest adversary. This is easily the most entertaining story in this issue, and the most in line of what I think of as being a great Uncle Scrooge story.

Overall, one really good story and three so-so ones. Not a bad mix, but it could have been better.

Rating: 7/10