Uncle Scrooge #384

Unlike Boom's two previous releases, "Walt Disney's Comics and Stories" and "Mickey Mouse and Friends," the relaunch of "Uncle Scrooge" hews much closer to the classic Carl Barks-inspired action/adventure/comedy style. Unfortunately, the two stories in this issue are so bland that it will make you yearn for the crazy Italian cartooning of the aforementioned titles.

The stories from Erik Hedman aren't bad, per se. Everyone is perfectly in character. The formula is intact. There's just little life to the final page. Magica De Spell is after Scrooge's Number One Dime again. Scrooge is off on a mild adventure. The two meet, craziness ensues, and Scrooge wins in the end. We've seen it all before, but done better with more creativity (in either plot or dialogue) by the likes of Don Rosa and William Van Horn.

Artist Wanda Gattino does a strong job in keeping with the classic art style of the series, keeping the characters more on the Carl Barks-inspired model than what we've seen in the other Boom! titles so far. She's particularly strong on the backgrounds, especially in the castle that Scrooge drags his nephews out to for the issue. Her storytelling is solid from panel to panel, with lots of little touches to make long-term readers very comfortable, from the dashed lines of sweat coming out of the surprised Ducks' heads to the little bounce of Donald's car down a narrow street.

Once again, the Boom! story formatting lets readers down. After one complete story, the second one -- guest starring Gyro Gearloose -- is cut off somewhere near the middle at an odd point. I have to think that the original serialization of these stories allowed for better break points.

In the end, this is a book that's completely non-threatening and would be an easy gift for the younger reader in your life. It might not challenge them or capture their imagination the way some of the better "Uncle Scrooge" stories can, but it'll probably hold their attention and give them some affordable reading material to read again and again.

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