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Comic Book / A Little Something Special

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A Little Something Special is a 1997 Disney comic written and drawn by Don Rosa, celebrating the 50th Anniversery of Scrooge McDuck, who first appared in Christmas on Bear Mountain by Carl Barks in 1947. The story was originally published in Anders and Co in 1997, though it would not be published in the U.S until 1998, and was commissioned by Egmont, Disney's European publisher, as an official celebration.

It's a very busy day at the Money Bin, as Scrooge's financial empire is right in the middle of it's annual inspection, during which the entire operation grinds to a halt, costing Scrooge millions every hour that passes. Understandably, Scrooge is in no mood when Donald drops by for a visit, assuming his lazy nephew wants to leech off some soda money, but Donald has a surprise for his uncle - he wants to know what he can give to Scrooge!

As it turns out, this is also the Golden Jubilee, aka 50 years, since Scrooge arrived in Duckburg and effectively turned what was a few farms and a General Store scattered around Fort Duckburg into a proper city. While Scrooge remembers this, he didn't think anyone else would possibly care, but he's wrong, unfortunately, as a contest has been announced - anyone who can offer Scrooge the one thing he desires most as an anniversery gift will win 1 Million $!

Not only does this contest, which Scrooge has not approved nor been informed about at all, make everything screech to a halt at the Money Bin, he finds himself harassed by every random schlub in Duckburg trying to guess what his greatest wish is. Meanwhile, Gyro gets some unwanted customers in form of the Beagle Boys, who claim to have turned over a new leaf. While Gyro is understandably skeptical, the Beagles happily pay him for his work (with bags of money strangely marked with the letters "F.G") to create a huge machine (allegedly) meant for mass harvest of oranges, along with one of Gyro's flying scooters. At the same time, Magica De Spell makes a visit to a magic bazaar, where she purchases several high-end magical items which should be far beyond her means, also paying with money bags marked with the same "F.G" initials. One of these items is a magic powder that allows the user to travel to any part of the world, and in one blast of power and light, Magica vanishes...

...and reappears in an unknown location, meeting up with not just the Beagle Boys, but also Flintheart Glomgold, the bankroller of the plan, revealing that there's been a Villain Team-Up in the works the whole time - Magica wants Scrooge's #1 Dime, the Beagles want the rest of his money, and Glomgold just want to see his rival penniless and ruined. However, the mastermind behind the plot isn't present, hinting that there is one more player in the game yet to reveal himself...

The day of the Golden Jubilee arrives, and Scrooge is having a rough time - his workers are so distracted by the contest that nothing is getting done, and he loses money every minute that passes. When the Mayor of Duckburg asks Scrooge to attend a celebration in his honor, Scrooge tries to throw him out, until Donald points out that the sooner the festivities are over, the sooner things will get back to normal, and Scrooge reluctantly agrees, leaving Donald and Miss Quackfaster in charge while he's away. Everything seems fine, and the rest of Scrooge's family even show up at the bin for the celebration, including Huey, Dewey, Louie, Grandma Duck, Glandstone, and even Daisy. Except... something isn't quite right.

Meanwhile, down at the celebration, the real Huey notices something unsettling about the host, which he points out to Scrooge; while physically, he looks like a tall pigface, he casts the shadow of Flintheart Glomgold, which Scrooge quickly realizes means Magica is almost certainly involved and bolts for the Bin, leaving the disguised Glomgold desperatly begging the chief of police to shoot the guest of honor in the back. Back at the Money Bin, Magica's new items didn't hold up long, but they did their job - the defences are off, Donald and Quackfaster are out cold, and Scrooge's money is up for grabs. Scrooge and the nephews are too late to stop them, Scrooge hitches a ride with the machine used to drain the Bin, while the villains make their escape. A short time later, Scrooge wakes up and finds himself in the ruins of Old Duckburg, the original town that still exist beneath the modern city, pretty much the same as the day he arrived 50 years earlier. Further ahead, he hears the villains celebrating their success, and bursts in on the festivities, finding not just Magica, the Beagle Boys and Glomgold, but also the real mastermind behind the plot - Blackheart Beagle, his oldest Arch-Enemy.

Unable to take on his whole Rogues Gallery by himself, Scrooge is captured, and Blackheart takes the time to reveal the full extent of his plan, using the old train tracks of Old Duckburg to transport Scrooge's money out of the city before destroying the foundations to cover their tracks, effectively wiping out the city above. While held captive, Scrooge manages to use the old phone lines, still connected to the modern city, to send a morse code message to Donald and the nephews, while also pointing out to Magica, who's been left to guard him, that with his fortune gone, his #1 Dime will be useless to her. Instead, he offers an alternate idea...

Back above ground, the crowd is starting to disperse, disappointed that the whole contest was just a scam, only for Donald to rally the citizens by pointing out just how much Scrooge has meant to all of them. When Huey tries to call the police, he gets only static on the line, only to realize that he's hearing morse code - Scrooge's message got through after all! Being the prepared Woodchucks that they are, the nephews quickly decipher the code, which reveals that Scrooge is being held Coots Emporium, the store and ice cream parlor that had belonged to Granda Duck's father, who luckily remembers where it was located, and the Ducks are off to save Scrooge. In the ruins of Old Duckburg, the Beagles have just about finished loading up their loot, and Blackheart takes a moment to gloat, reminiscing with a captive Scrooge about those early days of the town when the parlor was still open, and Coot stood behind the counter, serving up ice cream, just like... like that shadowy figure is doing right now..?

"One scoop, or two?"

However, despite Blackheart's shock, it's not the ghost of Coot, just the nephews in disguise, giving Scrooge a chance to break lose while Donald grapples with the older villain. Unfortunately, Blackheart still has the detonator for the dynamite, forcing Scrooge to let the other villains leave on the train or he'll blow up the foundations. But even as Blackheart rubs his victory in Scrooge's face, there's one little detail he didn't know about - the reason for why the railroad was taken out of service in the first place. As it turns out, the rails couldn't support a fully-loaded train, especially not one filled with the contents of the Money Bin, and the villain's scheme ends up crashing into the sewers. Blackheart quickly makes his escape while his "allies" are left crawling out through a sewer pipe, thouroughly fed up with the entire team-up. Magica decides to go with her back-up plan as Scrooge suggested, transporting herself and the Beagle Boys to the valley of Limpopo in South Africa using the last of her magic powder. While at first happy to be rid of them, Glomgold suddenly realises that Limpopo is the location of his own Money Bin, and urgently radios his escape jet for pickup.

Blackheart escapes the sewers with Gyro's flying scooter, with Scrooge hitching a ride just in time, while Donald is left behind to try and disarm the explosives underneath Duckburg. The scooter takes the two above the city, and in their struggle, ends up crashing into the giant statue of Cornelius Coot, which Blackheart decides makes a perfect scenic view to watch Duckburg go up in a mushroom cloud. Despite Scrooge's efforts, he presses the detonator...

...just a half second too late, as Donald manages to disarm the receptor in one hell of a photo finish. It seems Duckburg has more defenders than one over-aged shoe-shine boy from Glasgow after all.

With his plans foiled, Blackheart tries to flee on his scooter, only for Gladstone Gander to step in with some uncharacteristic strategic thinking. Asking the chief of police to offer a reward for Blackheart's capture, Gladstone's luck quickly kicks in, with a sudden gust of wind knocking Blackheart unconscious against the statue and depositing him at Gladstones feet, putting an end to his criminal career, and allowing things to turn back to normal. Meanwhile, Flintheart Glomgold has problems of his own to deal with, as he's arrived back in South Africa in time to watch Magica run off with his first Rand, while the Beagle Boys empty his Bin.

"What did I do to deserve this?! Don't answer that."

The next day, with the whole "Golden Jubilee" fiasco over with, Scrooge has finally been able to resume his inspection, but much to his shock, his family had their own idea of what Scrooge's greatest wish was, long before Blackheart and Glomgold's scheme came into play - as the surprise arrival of his old flame Glittering Goldie reveals.

A Little Something Special provides examples of:

  • Acting Unnatural:
    • One of the Beagle Boy disguised as one of Donald's nephews (thanks to a spell by Magica) attempts to make Donald buy his disguise by talking "how cute lil' ducks talk".
    Beagle Boy!Dewey: [with doe eyes and feminine body language] We sowwy we talk naughty, unca ducky! Oo give-um big hug?
    Donald: Saaay... did somebody slip these kids some silly-pills down at that party?
    • Really, all of the Beagle Boys. One of them is disguised as Grandma Duck, and acts like a gangster in front of Donald, even rolling up her sleeves to fight him.
  • And This Is for...: Scrooge to Blackheart Beagle: "Take that for 1880! And 1882! And 1902! And for Christmas 1947!"
  • Big Damn Kiss: While one-sided as Scrooge is too petrified to respond, Goldie gives him this upon her surprise visit at the end.
  • Big Damn Reunion: A heartwarming and hilarious scene between Scrooge and Goldie at the end.
  • Born Lucky: Gladstone Gander actually weaponizes his lucky streak when the main villain is about to escape by asking the police captain to put a bounty on his head, causing a sudden wind to dispatch the villain and landing in front of Gladstone's feet so that he can collect the reward.
  • The Cameo: Ludwig von Drake (whom Rosa's editor Byron Erikson forbade him from using in his stories) is seen in one group shot attending the ceremony.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Magica fails to realize that, with Scrooge's fortune being stolen from him, his number one dime won't be useful.
    • Blackheart Beagle and the Beagle Boys fail to keep Scrooge's money because Blackheart, who came up with the whole plan in the first place, didn't learn that the train tracks he planned to use to take the money from Duckburg were condemned for not being able to support a loaded train. The loot ends up falling into the town's sewer system.
  • Hidden Villain: The team-up between the Beagle Boys, Flintheart Glomgold, and Magica DeSpell on Scrooge's 50th anniversary in Duckburg is orchestrated from afar by Duckburg's first citizen: Grandpa Blackheart Beagle.
  • I Own This Town: It's said in this story that Scrooge owns 99.9% of all lands and businesses in Duckburg but never tries to tell the Mayor how to run the town.
  • Insistent Terminology: Magica corrects those who call her a "witch" by saying she's a "sorceress".
  • I Will Wait for You: As Scrooge insists with his Hidden Heart of Gold that Goldie should leave, she comments with a smile that she'll wait for him.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Flintheart Glomgold, who financed the plan, ends up being robbed of his Number One Rand and as much money as the Beagle Boys can carry. When he asks what he did to deserve this, he adds a "don't answer that".
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Scrooge is puzzled to learn that the town is celebrating his fiftieth year in Duckburg. The book actually marks the fiftieth anniversary of his appearance in comics.
  • Meaningful Look: Scrooge pretends to be bothered by Goldie coming to see him and angrily tells her to leave after she kisses him, but once she's left, his expression becomes starstruck and he sheds a happy tear, having received the "most desired gift" he secretly wanted.
  • Meaningless Villain Victory: Thanks to teaming up with Scrooge's other enemies, Magica DeSpell actually obtains her goal of stealing Scrooge's #1 Dime, which she needs to melt down for a special amulet. However, Scrooge points out that the spell specified the first dime of the world's richest man, making it worthless when the rest of Scrooge's fortune has been stolen by the Beagle Boys.
  • Rebus Bubble: There's a more elaborate than usual application of this trope as Scrooge puts together the facts to realize that Glomgold and Magica have teamed up. The image at the trope's page features this example.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: After the villains' scheme is foiled, Magica and the Beagle Boys decide to make the best of it and rob Flintheart blind instead. Flintheart laments, "What did I ever do to deserve this?", before hastily adding, "Don't answer that!".
  • Shout-Out: Scrooge and Blackheart's confrontation on top of the statue of Cornelius Coot at the climax is based on the chase on top of the Statue of Liberty at the end of Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: One that goes horribly wrong. The Beagle Boys show up in the Money Bin when Scrooge is away, disguised as the Duck's friends and relatives thanks to a transmutation wand belonging to Magica DeSpell. Donald gets wary when he sees "Daisy" consorting with "Gladstone", his romantic rival. He decides to plant a kiss on "her" just when damage to Magica's wand causes them to (partially) transform back to their real forms. Poor Donald has to reach for the Brain Bleach afterwards.
  • The Shadow Knows: When Flintheart Glomgold has assumed another form thanks to Magica's transmutation wand, Scrooge is able to figure out his real identity because Glomgold's shadow is unchanged.
  • Title Drop: The one who tells Scrooge that she has "a little something special" for him in the end is Goldie.
  • Villain Team-Up: Scrooge's three main foes—The Beagle Boys, Magica DeSpell, and Flintheart Glomgold—all join forces, and are led by Blackheart Beagle. This collaboration is made possible because their interests do not actually overlap: Magica only wants Scrooge's Number One Dime, the Beagle Boys want the rest of Scrooge's fortune and don't care about the Dime, and Glomgold doesn't want anything from Scrooge per se, just to see his business rival ruined. As a result, the three do not betray one another, but all live up to the deal they made at the start of the team-up. Of course, once the team-up is over, nothing prevents the Beagle Boys and Magica from joining forces to plunder Glomgold...