We start with "Treasure Menace in Venice." Originally written in 2001, the story follows Donald Duck and his three nephews, Huey, Dewey and Louie, as they are sent by their Uncle Scrooge to investigate a property that he acquired in Venice, Italy. It doesn't take long for them to discover that the estate has a treasure hidden somewhere within it and a ghost haunting its grounds. The story is a clever, little mystery and plays out like an old Donald Duck short. The characters' usual antics translate well to the page, and the plot is simple but fun, especially with the backdrop of Venice adding character to the backgrounds. Perhaps the tiniest of tiny nitpicks is that while I know there's no way to recreate Donald's preposterous way of speaking into a comic book, I would've enjoyed some sort of font or style choice to show that Donald is speaking differently from everyone else. It's strange seeing Donald's text appear beside his nephews with no alterations.
The second story, "The Terrifying World of Tutor," is actually part one of a continuing storyline. Written in 2010, it focuses on Mickey Mouse and a character I was previously unfamiliar with named Eega Beeva. The two investigate the disappearance of bees throughout the world which leads to an encounter with aliens from another world. Overall, I probably enjoyed "Treasure Menace in Venice" a little more than this story, but the story here has more moving parts with Mickey attempting to solve the mystery of the disappearing animals while also dealing with the helpful citizens who seem to trip him up at every point. It’s still an engaging read, especially when it focuses on the relationship between Mickey and his dog, Pluto.
And finally, "Livin' the Dream," written in 2014, has Scrooge's three nephews trying to stay awake to prevent a fortune cookie's warning from coming true. "Livin’ the Dream" is a lot shorter than the others; it’s basically just the set up and pay off to a single joke. It fits in well as a wrap up to the other two stories, ending on the sort of silly note that we expect Disney cartoons to do.
Collectively, the comic is fast paced; the writers really don't waste time getting you from one place to another, and it makes for a very quick read. I didn't feel like the stories dragged at any point.
As for the artwork, it’s the standard for Disney which is to say it's cartoony but strong. I, personally, like the traditional Mickey Mouse in the red shorts. I always thought he looked a bit weird in a polo, but the characters are very expressive and look good. The vibrant colors in particular are great with these characters; something about it just screams comic book to me.
Disney comics like this aren't the most unique; these three could be added into a pile of thousands of similar Disney stories, but, in a way, that's their charm. They function like a Mickey Mouse cartoon, one of the Goofy shorts, or an episode of Ducktales. They're bite-sized stories that'll entertain you and keep you reading. They aren't transcendent or entirely new, but they're packed with everything that makes Mickey and his friends great. So, take that as a recommendation; this is an easy place to start with Disney comics or a nice edition if you've been reading them for years.
Creative Team: Jan Kruse (Writer), Ben Verhagen (Artist), Andrea “Casty” Castellan (Writer and Artist), Janet Gilbert (Writer), Francisco Rodriguez Peinado (Artist), Enriqueta Perea (Inker)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
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