Review & Spoilers: UNCLE SCROOGE #1

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UNCLE SCROOGE #1 Review

“Gigabeagle: King of the Robot Robbers” (27 pages)

Written by: Rodolfo Cimino
Art by: Romano Scarpa

Inks by: Giorgio Cavazzano

Colors by: Digikore Studios

Letterer: Tom B. Long

Translation and Dialogue: Jonathan H. Gray

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99

 

Duck Tales (woo oo),

Everyday they’re out there making

Duck Tales (woo oo),

Tales of daring do-bad and good

Duck Tales (woo oo)”

 

Are my wires crossed?? Not in the least! To acknowledge IDW’s acquisition of this property, why not throw this earworm into the collective masses? $crooge McDuck is an integral part of the ‘Duck Universe’.

True confession: this is the first time in over 30 years that I have read ANY Walt Disney story. Even at that early age, I wasn’t really a fan. GASP! Lots of research was done. I exaggerate: some quick searches using internet engines answered most of the questions percolating in my mind.

Before I get to the nitty-gritty, I have to bring a few things to light. Firstly, IDW is now the sole publisher of this venerable character. Secondly, Carl Banks, the progenitor of this rich (pun intended!) fictional realm passed away fifteen years ago at the prime number of 99. Talk about longevity!! Thirdly, the creative team hail from Italia. It’s obvious in the names but more so with a ‘translation and dialogue’ credit. Feather-shaking indeed!! Lastly, I’m baffled as to whether the stories are complete reprints or a re-hash with newer content added to reflect the times.

This issue is double-sized! That’s quite the treat for the cover price. The reader gets two full stories plus a one-pager.

Good old miserly Uncle Scrooge is on the verge of a breakdown. He’s fretting over the absence of the Beagle Boys’ chronic attempts at pilfering his loot. It’s highly ironic considering the peace and quiet that he’s had the last few months. Nothing is that simple, of course. More of that in a bit.

One of the boys recommends some away time to ease the tension. The nephews and Donald are going on a camping trip to the Black Forest. Scrooge agrees to tag along for purely economical reasons. R&R turns to WTF when Donald is awakened by cacophonous rumbling. As he steps out of the tent, he gazes at a mecha-version of a Beagle Boy. How ultra-modern/nerdy is that?!? When he awakens the others to tell of his experience, he’s like the duck who cried foul.

Things come to light when the ducklings come across an enormous footprint. The quintet follow the obviously laid-out trail to a cave. It’s the Beagle Boys as they live and breathe!! They’ve cooked up a most brilliant scheme. Their time in prison allowed them to study tech and built the ultimate robot robber with an impressive A.I. to boot. This mechanical marvel is infused with the Boys’ greed as well as fuel for function and the insatiable desire to eat prunes. *chortle* Uncle Scrooge faints at the notion of the amount the Gigabeagle can take in one fell swoop.

When he is revived, the skinflint puts on his thinking skates. Bashing his head a few times to come up with inspiration isn’t the best of ideas. The Boys reactivate their invention as they head off to the Money Bin. Meanwhile, back at the equivalent of Fort Knox, Donald proposes using the reserve landmines to prevent the grand theft. A mild degree of reassurance is established but one questions burns in their heads: what if the GB can jump? Some things are better left unsaid. They jinxed it all when the Boys arrive in their chopper as the gigantic goon jumps over the landmines. With the greatest of ease, he rips the building off its magnetically-held foundation. Bye bye, billions!!

The landmines prove to be detrimental to the ducks’ pursuit even with the police in tow. The Boys discuss whose turn it is to maintain ‘Gigsie’. They decide to put him on auto-pilot as they brace themselves to swim in the unrealistic amount of moolah. This is where things take a dive. Haven’t they learned from enough sci-fi novels and films that artificial intelligence does one-up on humans? Gigsie takes on his own personality and rebels.

The tin-plated titan takes the money and runs (literally!) Acting all too much like his masters, he tears off a smokestack to use it as a stogie. He must have bolts for brains. As soon as he inserts it into his mouth the flames hit the gasoline and KABOOM! He is blown to pieces.

The explosion created the wackiest trajectory for the Bin. It ends up landing perfectly in its original spot thanks to the giant magnets. Scrooge’s elation is short-lived as he becomes enraged at Donald for the hare-brained scheme of using perilous devices. Donald has the unenviable task of detonating every single mine. Scrooge knows it’s only a matter of time before he reverts to ‘crisis mode’. Money really can’t buy everything.

 

As I pointed out earlier, I’m a little unclear as to what makes this a reprint. The concept of the mecha and mention of A.I. indicate the opposite. Plus, the kind-of-obvious allusion to the Red Bull® energy drink (“It’ll give you wings!”) and the mention of “bionic titan” override the anachronisms.

It’s going to be a little tough for me to critique the story and art. Given that these tales have been translated, I’m itching to read them in the original language. How much was radically modified? The modern references make me think that they replace whatever ideas came before.

The main cast look exactly like the original designs by Mr. Carl Barks. They are all dynamic, outrageous, and downright quacky. The Gigabeagle stands apart from the rest.

The dialogue is a hoot. The Boys are quite eloquent and verbose for burglars. Scrooge has his own interjections depicting his age (“Cushlamacree!”) Donald gets his fair share of jabs against his miserable miserly uncle. Huey, Dewey, and Louie parlay appropriately.

Uncle Scrooge has a fascinating publishing history — 404 issues in a 63-year span through seven companies. IDW is now the eighth and honors the legacy numbering, meaning this issue is technically #405.

I give this story eight feathers for its zingers, zaniness, and zippiness.

 

BONUS MATERIAL

“Pure Viewing Satisfaction” (1 page)

Written by: Alberto Savini
Art and Inks by: Andrea Freccero

Colors by: Disney Italia w/ David Gerstein

Letterer: Tom B. Long

Translation and Dialogue: David Gerstein

 

“Tinker, Tailor, Scrooge and Sly” (16 pages)

Written by: Romano Scarpa, Luca Boschi
Art by: Romano Scarpa

Inks by: Sandro del Conte

Colors by: Disney Italia w/ Digikore Studios

Letterer: Tom B. Long

Translation: David Gerstein

Dialogue: Joe Torcivia

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