The contrast between Scott Gross' wonderful "Cover A" for this issue and the pedestrian artwork within is almost heartbreaking. The quality of the latest chapter of "Around the World in 80 Bucks" doesn't come close to bridging the gap, though whoever was responsible for the English dialogue -- either translator Stefania Bronzoni or whoever neatened up the translation -- made a patently absurd plot a little more enjoyable with some nice banter. Particularly funny are Donald's constant references to his traditionally bad luck. "There's two kinds of lucky," Don moans, "and I'm used to the kind you don't want this far from home!"
The Gross cover suggests that Scrooge is playing a director's role here, but he isn't, quite. Having fed off the leavings of Gladstone's luck and secured free plane tickets to India, globe-trotting Scrooge and Donald are mistaken upon arrival for a "special effects wizard" and his assistant (the latter of whom originally lost said tickets) and hustled off to Bollywood to help with the new "Montana Joe" epic. Even more unbelievable than the contrived "mistaken i.d." setup is the fact that Scrooge and Donald's ultimate technical savior, Gyro, just happens to be vacationing in India at the time. S&D get out of the scrape without spending a penny and are off to Sri Lanka, where they run into Daisy and Brigitta MacBridge, who... um... are just passing through? Or something? I swear, I would actually have preferred the original Jules Verne setup and had Daisy and Brigitta kidnapped by Duckburgian Brahmins for sacrifice. S&D wouldn't even have had to spend any money to rescue them. Scrooge ends the chapter by rather cold-heartedly conning the ladies out of an expensive dinner at a romantic dining spot. "What could Scrooge possibly gain from this?" the caption reads before we suspend operations to prepare for (whew!) "the final chapter." This story isn't gaining on anything; it's dying right before our eyes. The switchover to DuckTales-themed material can't come soon enough.