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Comic Book / The Black Knight

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The Black Knight is a Disney comic written and drawn by Don Rosa.

Duckburg is visited by Arpin Lusène, a distinguished French gentleman who is unofficially known to be Le Chevalier Noir, a notorious master thief. As his final theft before retirement, he vows to steal Scrooge McDuck's fortune as the crowning achievement of his career. After a successful heist in the Money Bin that apparently yields little of value, Lusène accidentally comes in the possession of the dangerous Universal Solvent, a substance invented by Gyro Gearloose capable of destroying anything it touches (except diamond). Together with a stolen suit of armor and a bag of diamond dust, Lusène uses the Solvent to become an unstoppable Black Knight.

In The Black Knight GLORPS Again!, Lusène returns to retrieve his black suit of armor and correct the mistakes he made last time, but Scrooge himself has some new tricks up his sleeve as well.

Tropes used in The Black Knight and The Black Knight GLORPS Again!

  • Achilles' Heel: The only material that isn't vulnerable to the Omnisolve is diamond. This is utilized several times by the Ducks against the Black Knight, such as Donald loading a cannon with a massive diamond (it might have worked if Lusene didn't damage the cannon first) and Scrooge trapping Lusene in an air-sealed room entirely lined with diamond dust.
  • Advance Notice Crime: Arpin Luséne is a master thief who is so certain of his success that he tends to announce his crimes up front, sending his victims a postcard signed by his "Black Knight" alter ego, in addition to the usual Calling Card he does after he finishes the job. When he gains the indestructible suit of armor, he doesn't feel the need to even bother with subterfuge anymore, announcing to the citizens of Duckburg that he will steal all of Scrooge's money in broad daylight.
  • Black Knight: The Black Knight was a master thief named Arpin Lusene (better known by his criminal alias, Le Chevalier Noir), modeled after the Gentleman Thief trope. He gets even worse when he actually gets a black suit of armour covered with a substance that destroys anything it touches. (He's very careful when putting it on.) After becoming impervious to harm, he walks right through every one of Scrooge's defenses to steal his money.
  • Briar Patching: In "The Black Knight GLORPS Again", Gentleman Thief Arpin Lusene, having made himself into The Juggernaut by using an invention by Gyro Gearloose that can annihilate anything except diamonds, decides to frame a career-crowning impossible theft by annihilating (and pretending he stole) Scrooge McDuck's collection of memorabilia. Scrooge begs him to at least spare the giant gold nugget that made him rich, but that only prompts him to go for it first. Which was, of course, the intention, since it's really a fake nugget in a room whose insides are covered with diamond dust, the only substance Lusene can't cut through, so he is trapped inside as surely as if he had no special equipment. However, this only partially works, since Lusene realizes that something is wrong before he actually sets foot inside the room, and has to be forced in by Donald, who is then at his mercy.
  • Call-Back: The Universal Solvent was actually the focus of an earlier Don Rosa story of the same name.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In "The Black Knight Glorps Again", early on in the story Gyro Gearloose carefully makes a small opening in the block of concrete that the dissolving black knight armor was kept in because it continued to destroy the air molecules around it, creating a near vacuum that they would otherwise have been sucked inside of. Later on Donald and Lusene (who's wearing the armor again) are both locked inside a containment room with Lusene threatening to dissolve Donald unless Scrooge lets him out. Donald remembers what Gyro had told him earlier and keeps the black knight distracted long enough for the oxygen in the room to run out and knock them both unconscious so Scrooge and his nephews can safely remove Lusene's armor.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: Donald tries to stop the Black Knight by loading the largest diamond in the world into a cannon. It does stop him momentarily as he assumed that he could just simply walk through the cannon in his dissolving armor, but he sabotages Donald's attempt by swinging his sword to stop the ignition. Donald thinks he actually missed the fuse, but he was really aiming for the back of the cannon to redirect the blast.
  • Exact Words: At the end of his first appearance, Scrooge makes Arpin Lusène (who's a Gentleman Thief above all else) promise that he won't pick Donald's pockets to steal the key to escape his restraints. As soon as he's offscreen, he steals Donald's whole outfit instead.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Lusène effortlessly breaks into the Money Bin during his first caper. Besides a suit of armor, Scrooge is unsure what exactly Lusène stole that night, since nothing in his vault nor his trophy room appears to be missing. He doesn't consider the safe containing the Universal Solvent, since Scrooge doesn't believe it has any value to the Black Knight (in fact, as the name suggests, it is literally the most dangerous substance on Earth) until Louie points out that a combination safe would be irresistible to a master thief like Lusène. When Scrooge realizes this, he rushes to open it. All he finds is Lusène's Calling Card, confirming the Ducks' worries.
  • Funny Foreigner: Arpin Lusene, together with Funetik Aksent.
    Arpin Lusene: Ah am truly ze master thif!
    Donald: "Thif"?
    Arpin Lusene: Not "thif", you iddy-ott! Thif!
  • Gentleman Thief: The Black Knight, who is a rather obvious Captain Ersatz of Arsene Lupin.
  • Graceful Loser: Arpin Lusène is very graceful about accepting defeat when Scrooge beats him fair and square and professes to relish their encounters. The second time, he even gifts Scrooge a rare painting to complete his collection of that artist's works. Not that it stops him from escaping every time.
  • I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You!: Done by the title Gentleman Thief in The Black Knight Glorps Again, not out of stupidity, but sheer ballsiness. In his civilian persona of playboy millionaire Arpin Lusene he gives the following statement to the press:
    Lusene: Zat would be ze greatest crime in histoire, non? But... Ah 'ave no idea what ze Black Knight plans to do... tomorrow morning at 10AM! Here! Pass zese out!
    (passes a written program of the caper's details)
  • Hypocrite: In "The Black Knight GLORPS Again", Scrooge stops Lusene from destroying his money by threatening to use his influence to prevent the raid from ever being published and Lusene, whose plan consisted on destroying that money to trick people into thinking he stole it, expresses anger at Scrooge's "dishonor".
  • Impact Silhouette: Done a number of times in "The Black Knight" and "The Black Knight Glorps Again", thanks to Arpin Lusene's suit of universal-solvent-coated armor. At one point Donald is blasted through a wall in a similar way by a sabotaged cannon, and Lusène notes that this trick is much easier with his suit.
  • Impossible Theft: Arpin Lusene, the Black Knight, does this all the time. No wonder, since he's an Affectionate Parody of Monsieur Lupin below (as well as Gentleman Thieves in general). He casually steals a man's socks while he's wearing them, the bullets from a museum guard's gun and a viking ship. While naked. He also stole the filament from camera's flash bulb. While the camera was in the cameraman's hands. In the same story, exactly same time, he stole another reporter's underwear. For context, the reporters were inquiring about Lusene's Black Knight persona, when a cameraman tries to take a picture of Lusene. The very next panel, Lusene is holding the filament and the other guy's underpants while denying being the Magnificent Black Knight, the world-famous master thief.
  • It Only Works Once: After the first time the heroes stop Lusene by Pulling the Rug Out, he adds a hook to the back of the armor and it prevents the rug trick from working a second time.
  • The Juggernaut: The Gentleman Thief Arpin Lusene, also known as the "Black Knight", acquires a substance invented by Gyro Gearloose called Omnisolve that instantly annihilates anything it comes in contact with other than diamonds. (In the story where it originally appeared, it was poured on the ground and ate a shaft down to the centre of the Earth.) Wanting to end his career with the ultimate impossible theft, stealing all of Scrooge's money — or at least making it disappear so people will think he did — he coats a knight's armour and sword with diamond dust and then Omnisolve. With these, he's almost completely unstoppable, able to walk through any obstacle and absorb any attack, from cannonballs to gasses.
  • Karma Houdini: Since Le Chevalier Noir can escape from any restraints, no prison can hold him, and his true identity as a master thief has never been proven, he escapes any sort of consequences for his actions in both his appearances. However, the bitterness of this is lessened because he's such a good sport about losing.
  • Knight's Armor Hideout: Gentleman Thief Arpin Lusene hides in a suit of armor when Scrooge and Donald burst into the room Lusene is currently in looking for him. He then keeps moving around when they're not paying attention and eventually escapes with the armor. This becomes plot-relevant later, since he uses the stolen armor to create the Black Knight by coating it with the Omnisolve.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: One of the reporters in the first story is a dog-faced Jimmy Olsen.
  • Monumental Theft: Le Chevalier Noir (The Black Knight) is a Gentleman Thief who might pull one off, now and then. At one point, he steals a whole viking ship, whilst completely naked. Even he recognized the impossibility of swiping Scrooge's whole fortune, though, so he planned to disintegrate it instead. Scrooge doesn't find him as honorable as he claims to be, however, because he pulls off such heists to boost his ego, even calling the press beforehand and telling them where to be to cover the story.
  • Never Recycle Your Schemes: Defied. In his first raid on Scrooge's Money Bin in the Black Knight armor, Lusène just walks right up to the main entrance until Scrooge disposes of him by pulling on a red carpet, causing Lusène to fall through the floor in his dissolving armor until a vault filled with diamonds breaks his fall. He recycles the scheme in his second appearance, but takes preparations to stop Scrooge's trick from working a second time by installing a hook on the back of the suit that will stop his fall.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Arpin Lusène, aka Le Chevalier Noir, was the most dangerous foe Scrooge ever faced. Already a master thief, he inadvertently stole Gyro Gearloose's Universal Solvent before using it to cover a black suit of armor coated in diamond paint (the one material impervious to the solvent), making him invulnerable. He could walk through walls, shrug of having buildings thrown on top of him, and even take a bath in an acid pool by soaking it up like a sponge.
  • Open Secret: Lusene being the Black Knight seems to be somewhat common knowledge, even though there's no actual proof they're the same person, likely because of Lusene's …But He Sounds Handsome attitude towards his alternate identity, he doesn't even try to hide it.
  • Police Are Useless: At the start of the Black Knight's rampage through Duckburg, a police officer shows up to take the Black Knight in. The indestructible suit just dissolves the cuffs, and he mocks the officer by dissolving his police cruiser.
  • Power of the Void: The Black Knight is always drawn pitch-black without any shading, making the impression that he's less a 3d object, but rather a silhouette, a knight-shaped emptiness in reality. Given the effects of anything that touches the armor, it fits this trope just fine.
  • Pulling the Rug Out: The Ducks lay out a red carpet in front of Scrooge's money vault to celebrate an occasion. This becomes a Chekhov's Gun later on when the indestructible Black Knight Arpin Lusene breaks into Scrooge's money bin with the intent to dissolve his entire fortune. While looking down Scrooge gets the idea to pull the carpet out from under Lusene and send him falling straight through the floor inside his dissolving suit until a pile of diamonds (the one mineral unaffected by it) breaks his fall.
  • Running Gag: In his two stories, people not understanding everything French Jerk Arpin Lusene says, particularly "mooney bean" (money bin).
  • Sequel Hook:
    • At the end of The Black Knight, the nephews find Lusène's calling card in Scrooge's trophy room promising his return.
    • At the end of The Black Knight Glorps Again!, Lusène is last seen observing his suit of armor traveling in orbit around the Earth through a telescope.
  • Shout-Out: In "The Black Knight Glorps Again!", Scrooge has pictures of himself from his Yukon days drawn by his "favorite artist". The pictures are none other than Carl Barks'. Though in some editions of the comic, the paintings are not Barks illustrations, but money-themed Salvador Dalí-style paintings.
  • Trophy Room: Besides Scrooge's trophy room, Lusène himself is shown to have a sizable collection of stolen art and treasures in his French villa during the news item on him.
  • Victory Is Boring: Implied in the first story, and outright stated in the second; there's absolutely no challenge left for Lusene, who can dodge any guard, alarm, trap and lock as easy as breathing, leaving him bored with his career. However, he feels he can't retire without successfully robbing Scrooge blind and cementing his place as the greatest thief of all time.
  • Worthy Opponent: Scrooge McDuck and Arpin Lusene have a Rich Victim - Gentleman Thief type of mutual respect. Lusene is a very good sport about losing, and Scrooge admits that the Frenchman is the greatest threat his fortune has (which says a lot, coming from him).
  • Wrecked Weapon: Lusene destroys Big Bertha, Scrooge's personal cannon that he bought as a leftover from the Second Boer War.