Mar 14, 2016

Review: Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck: The Last of the Clan McDuck

The latest in The Don Rosa Library is a weird one for me to review, because I've actually already done so.

The Last of the Clan McDuck contains the first half of Rosa's opus, "The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck," which really started as more of a fan project. He took pretty much every mention of Scrooge's history from the Carl Barks stories and weaved them into a working timeline, infusing it with plot, narrative, emotion, and all the good stuff that makes stories good.

It's the greatest Scrooge McDuck story ever, and it works, really, as a collaboration between Barks and Rosa more than fifty years apart. Again, I've already talked about this story at length, so feel free to read my old column about it (nothing's changed), and keep in mind that Don Rosa's books from Fantagraphics are published in oversized editions (8.8x11.3") and on beautiful paper.

The stories in Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck: The Last of the Clan McDuck first appeared in issues of Denmark's Anders And & Co from August 1992 to July 1993, with the first chapter being published in June 1995. The Don Rosa Library is published chronologically, so the explanation is that the first chapter was actually created prior to the rest of it, even if it didn't see print until later.

The chapters are:

  • Of Ducks and Dimes and Destinies. This is basically a prologue to the actual saga, and features the only appearance of Magica De Spell in the whole thing. It's at this point that I should tell you that "Life and Times" had a main story, which ran continuously as it was coming out, and then enough side stories/flashbacks to fill a new book. But since those didn't run continuously, it won't all be in one volume and will be interspersed throughout the Library. For example, my favorite, "Hearts of the Yukon," is the last story Rosa ever did, and will therefore be the last story in the Library.

    In "Of Ducks and Dimes and Destinies," Magica De Spell goes back to 1867, to when Scrooge gets his first dime. Magica's always after that dime, believing it will give her great wealth. It's a fun time travel story, but it reads even better in conjunction with the next chapter.
  • The Last of the Clan McDuck.  1867-1880. This is the actual story of how Scrooge gets his number one dime, working as a shoeshine boy in Scotland. We meet his parents, Fergus and Downy, and his two little sisters, Matilda (who always has a wilting flower in her hair) and Hortense (who only says "Glxblt," and will eventually be the mother of the other famous Duck). Scrooge has to save Castle McDuck from the Whiskervilles, and decides to go to America to earn his millions.
  • The Master of the Mississippi. 1880-1882. Scrooge goes to America and becomes a deckhand for his Uncle Angus "Pothole" McDuck, and encounters the Beagle Boys for the first time, as well as Gyro Gearloose's grandfather Ratchet. 
  • The Buckaroo of the Badlands.   1882-1883. Scrooge becomes a cowboy, looking for gold in the frontiers of the Wild West and goes up against the McVipers and Jesse James' gang. He also runs into then-future president Theodore Roosevelt.
  • The Raider of the Copper Hill. 1883-1885. By this point, Scrooge's physical prowess is becoming the stuff of legend, and he's able to make a claim for a piece of land with a very rich copper vein. Unfortunately, no sooner does he make his first fortune than he learns he has to use it to save Castle McDuck.
  • The New Laird of Castle McDuck. 1885. Scrooge returns to Scotland to save Castle McDuck from the Whiskervilles, who threaten to take the land as their own. He duels with them and has a vision of his ancestors.
  • The Terror of the Transvaal. 1886-1889. Scrooge goes to Africa and helps out someone who ends up stealing all his stuff. Scrooge gets pissed and is able to fight his way through the wilds of Africa, making his way back to the Afrikaner who stole his stuff. The Afrikaner is someone who's going to factor greatly into his life, but he never knows it from this story.
  • The Dreamtime Duck of the Never Never. 1889-1996. Scrooge goes to Australia and meets Jabiru, an aboriginal shaman who helps predict his future.
    It doesn't have my favorite chapters of this, but it's still my favorite story. So, still highly recommended.

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