|Series||Little Golden Book|
|⇦ Index ⇨|
|Clean Money||Darkwing Duck and the Robot Plants|
The Silly Canine Caper is a Little Golden Book published in 1992. It is one of four Darkwing Duck books published by Western Publishing and the only one released in the Little Golden Book series.
Darkwing Duck and Launchpad are called to SHUSH Central for a briefing on a worrisome case. J. Gander Hooter isn't present yet, so the two heroes wait for him. Launchpad's enjoying the music on his walkman, dancing around the office despite Darkwing's orders to keep still and knocking over a stack of papers and a fishbowl. The water falls down on Hooter as he enters his office. Furious, Darkwing fires Launchpad on the spot and sends him out of the office, though Launchpad stays outside the door to listen in on the case. Hooter shows Darkwing photographs taken in the past days of various SHUSH agents acting in silly manners. For instance, one is rollerskating while dressed in a tutu, another is using a pencil sharpener on a carrot, and a third is playing banjo while hanging upside-down from a tree branch. The only lead SHUSH has yet acquired is the presence of robot puppies at each crime scene, which have been found to be the source of the silly signal that makes the agents act as they do. The organization wants Darkwing to find who's behind the robot puppies and the signal and to help him forward they provide him with a new tracking gadget: a radar-utilizing map & silly signal-protection device camouflaged as one of Darkwing's capes.
Darkwing has barely gone to the HQ labs and donned the radar cape when it reports a robot puppy to make its way to Hooter's office. The SHUSH scientist who created the radar cape tries to warn him he hasn't had time to explain all the switches yet, but Darkwing rushes back to Hooter without stopping. He is too late, however. Hooter has become the latest victim of the silly signal, sitting on the floor as he giddily cuts out duck-shaped paper chains. The robot puppy who did this to him is still present, which gives Darkwing Duck the opportunity to follow him back to whoever sent him out. He uses the Ratcatcher to chase after the critter, unaware Launchpad is following him in the Thunderquack.
The robot puppy makes its way to an abandoned dog chow factory, which Darkwing stealthily enters through the back door. He hides behind a pile of boxes and spots the criminal mastermind as she treats the robot puppy to a battery yummy. It is Madam Anna Matronic, a computer and technological genius. As Darkwing takes another look around, he realizes there are robot puppies everywhere in the factory. Not wanting to be caught off-guard by any of them and turned silly, he fiddles around with his cape to find a switch that will provide any sort of protection. This way, he accidently turns on the cape's radio, which starts playing rock music, and he is discovered. At first, the puppies happily dance to the beat, but when Matronic yells at them to attack, a dozen steel jaws clamp down on Darkwing's cape. Having lost his gas gun in the struggle and now defenseless, Darkwing is tied to a table and finds himself on the receiving end of a silly signal ray gun. Trying to stall, Darkwing requests Matronic to explain her actions. As she puts it, she was working on a way to make her robot puppies smarter, but instead she created a device that did the opposite. Turning SHUSH agents into mindless fools was an agreeable consolation plan of action.
Her plan explained, Matronic takes aim at Darkwing, but just as she fires, Launchpad, wearing the headphones that got him fired in the first place, comes out of hiding and throws himself between Darkwing and the ray gun. To everyone's surprise and Darkwing's relief, the silly signal appears to have no effect on him. Matronic is more than a little confused, but dismisses Darkwing's suggestion that Launchpad already was silly to begin with. She examines her ray gun, only to accidently hit herself with the silly signal. As she gigglingly feeds battery yummies to her robot puppies and plays with them, Darkwing gets untied and inquires how Launchpad managed to avoid becoming silly. It turns out that the headphones and music from the walkman nullified the signal's effect. As he dances around again, once more he bumps into furniture, this time a table of glass beakers that gets knocked over. Darkwing can only laugh as he welcomes Launchpad back as his sidekick.
At SHUSH Central, the scientists have discovered a way to undo the silly signal and have already begun curing those afflicted. Hooter welcomes them back, happy with the results of both teams. Now all left to do for him is clean up the paper chains strewn around his office.
- "Purple—my favorite color!"
- - Darkwing is happy with his new hi-tech cape.
- This book marks the first appearance of the radar cape scientist, the radar cape, the robot puppies, and the silly signal.
- If the robot puppies have a silly signal beam of their own, why must Anna Matronic tie up Darkwing and aim at him with her own ray gun if she already had him surrounded by the puppies?
- If there's supposed to be switches on Darkwing's cape, they aren't drawn in the artwork.
- It's possible "The Silly Canine Caper" represents the cancelled episode at one point planned for Anna Matronic. Matronic's and the robot puppy's cameos are in season 1, her plot against SHUSH and Darkwing learning to appreciate Launchpad fit as season 1 material, the way the story starts with the fate of SHUSH agents prior to Darkwing's involvement mimics "Water Way to Go" and "In Like Blunt", and the same company also adapted "Dirty Money" into a booklet.