Spidey Super Stories #4 (Story 2)

Background

Possibly the greatest piece of American fiction since Ernest Hemingway, "The Beastly Banana!" will change you forever. I guarantee you'll never look at monkeys or scientists the same way again, having read this. It also happens to be one of the few Spidey Super Stories that causes me to laugh so hard every time I read it that I actually slap my knee uncontrollably with laughter, even if no chicks are around to impress. In short, it's da bomb.

Story Details

This story features the amazing return of Jennifer of the Jungle and her gorilla Paul. What's really amazing about it is that no one has hit Jennifer with a bus yet. God knows I've been hoping. In case you don't remember them, she's a brain-damaged jungle-girl wannabe, and he's an almost-but-not-really intelligent monkey. This story also features the grand debut of the villain known only as "Mad Scientist". I'll make fun of his name later, but guess what his evil powers are?   EVIL BRAIN!   EVIL BRAIN!   Yes, he's a mad scientist. Bet you didn't see that one coming.

The story opens somewhere in some "jungle" with Paul the Gorilla and Mad Scientist.
Mr. Caption: Our hero gorilla, Paul is in trouble.
*Mad Scientist gives Paul a banana to eat*
Mad Scientist: Come to Poppa, furry friend!
Mr. Caption: Paul is drawn close to his doom by that monster, the Mad Scientist.

Doom? Monster? Hey Mr. Caption, it's just some guy in a white-lab coat brandishing a banana. Since when does banana   =   DOOM? Why don't you try saving the big words for actual threatening situations, like Girl Scout retreats. "And that monster Camper Caroline burned the marshmallow to its DEATH and DOOM!!!!"

So Paul takes the banana, eats it, and follows Mad Scientist. Yeah, he's a real super-smart monkey, that Paul. Jennifer, in another part of the jungle, realizes Paul is in trouble and goes looking for him. And guess who she runs into, reading comic books in a web hammock in the middle of the jungle? Well, it ain't Mary Lou Reton, that's for damn sure.

No, it's Spider-Man! "Spider-Man is on vacation. He needs a rest." A vacation in the middle of the jungle with no luggage and no food and no hotels and no bedsheets. Great idea there, Spidey. But at least you brought a comic to read and your costume with you to the sweltering bug-infested rainforest. I'll bet sleeping on the ground, fending off mosquitoes the size of cats and eating twigs for breakfast is just what the doctor ordered!

So Jennifer randomly meets up with the vacationing Spider-Man somewhere in this "jungle". Uh-huh. Spidey's not happy she's interrupting his 'holiday', either. "It's not fair!" he laments. Hey Spidey, aren't you the one who helps people across New York City find their lost cats? She lost a whole bloody ape here!
Jennifer: Spider-Man! Please help me find Paul!
*Spider-Man leaps out of hammock and grabs vine. Jennifer jumps and grabs a vine, too*
Spider-Man: You think I'd waste webs when these jungle vines are free?

Well, gee, since the vines don't actually swing more than five feet away from the tree, I think at some point you may have to use your precious webs. Or just walk, though Jennifer always has trouble with things like that. Also, all of the trees we can see in this jungle are palm trees. I don't know of any giant-vine-producing palm trees, do you? And what kind of "jungle" is composed entirely out of palm trees anyway?

Mr. Caption: Spidey and Jennifer follow the trail of banana peels...

Now this is not your ordinary trail of banana peels. No, like everything else in Spidey Super Stories, they just have to take it to that next level that completely makes no frickin' sense at all. This banana trail features a banana every two feet, stretching back into the distance. So, assuming Mad Scientist's lair is at least a mile away from where he found Paul, Paul ate approximately 3000 bananas and left the peels lying around. C'mon, not even little kids would fall for this one. I've known hamsters that, communicating through a series of low hisses and woodchip piles, could tell me that this banana thing is pretty messed up.

Now Paul has followed Mad Scientist back to his "dark, damp laboratory." Which is a strange way to describe it, because it's a furnished room above ground with a set of open bay windows, letting in plenty of sunshine and a nice jungle breeze. As dark, damp labs for mad scientists go, this one's pretty much a complete bust. I've lived in places that make this lab look like the Taj Mahal. Of course, the cockroaches in those places would make his cockroaches look like, well, cockroaches. I mean, like whatever cockroaches think of when they think of something like cockroaches to them. But not something like actual cockroaches, rather something small and disgusting like a metaphorical cockroach. Damn it. I'm totally lost. Moving on...

Now comes the moment you've all been waiting for. When this story, already not exactly in tune with reality, takes a fifty foot nose-dive into a pool of gooey weirdness.

Mad Scientist injects a banana with some radioactive mind-control formula.
Mad Scientist: This will make Paul do anything I say! ...
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Wait for it...
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It's so worth it, I thought I'd build up the suspense a little.
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"He'll even wash my socks!"

So Mad Scientist finally unleashes his fearsome plan upon the world, and tells us why he has gone through all this trouble to feed a mind-control banana to a monkey. SO THE MONKEY CAN WASH HIS SOCKS! Do monkeys know how to operate washing machines? Are there washing machines in the jungle? Can't you wash your own socks? Didn't your mom or a college roommate ever teach you to do laundry? How bad do these socks smell that you need a monkey to wash them? Why don't you hire a maid to wash your socks, and then go feed the mind-control banana to Bill Gates or someone? Is the monkey going to have to fold them and pair up the socks? Can monkeys really differentiate between crew-cut sports socks with a half-inch fold and light grey seam and crew-cut sports socks with an inch fold and a light blue seam? Can the monkey...

Basically, I could rant about this forever. But instead I'll just tell you a few of the near-infinite better uses for a radioactive mind-control banana.

Top Eleven Things I Would Do With a Radioactive Mind-Control Banana:
11) Make mind-control banana pudding for the U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team.
10) Use it for a comical slipping effect. Hey, that's still better than the monkey.
9) Start amassing "honorary" college degrees like Pez dispensers.
8) Become King of Mongolia. Hey! Hey! Shut up, Mongolia does not "suck like a 1-nostril bison".
7) Give it out to some kid in a Chewbacca outfit on Halloween. Order them to never take it off. Laugh.
6) Use it to sneak onto set of Spider-Man movie; force them to hire me as script supervisor.
5) Something involving Gillian Anderson and whipped cream.
4) Probably some nasty kind of revenge on my X-girlfriends; possibly force them to talk like the people in Spidey Super Stories for the rest of their lives.
3) Feed it to members of Congress; get law passed that Eric is official "stud-king" of America.
2) Some proper super-villain thing, like creating an army of radioactive mutants under my control.
1) Pretty much anything but feed it to the stupid monkey so he can do my laundry.

And if that didn't leave you thanking whatever higher power you believe in for the existence of Spidey Super Stories, there's still two pages left.

After Mad Scientist reveals his "plan" (and I use "plan" in the loosest possible context, kind of like when you were four years old and "planned" to run a unicorn farm), he tries to get Paul to eat the radioactive mind-control banana. You know, I forgot to mention this radioactive banana gives off an eerie pink glow. Really.
Mad Scientist: Come on, pal, eat it for Daddy!
*Paul doesn't take the banana*
Mad Scientist *becomes extremely agitated*: What's this! TOO FULL! No room for my surprise!

I'm really starting to be creeped out by the fact that he keeps referring to himself as "Poppa", and "Daddy" when talking to the ape. It's just a little too odd... *shiver* And I don't get it either, Paul just ate enough bananas to feed four Ethiopian villages for six months, yet he doesn't have room for one more? If you were trying to rationalize this (don't) maybe you'd say he sensed it was an evil glowing banana, and didn't want to eat that particular one. Yeah, that might make sense, except on the very next page he does try to eat it. So I guess he just had absolutely no room for that three-thousand and first banana.

Spider-Man and Jennifer peer through the giant open windows into the not-dark-and-dank lab.
Mad Scientist: I'll make you eat it, you picky pet!
*Menacingly waves his radioactive fruit. And that is not a euphemism for anything else*
Spider-Man: How unkind!

So Spidey, almost bored with the whole thing, says "Time for the web bit!" as he throws webs at Mad Scientist, who drops his radioactive fruit missile of love, er, I mean banana. Spider-Man comes in, rips him out of the web-net covering his whole body, and then ties him up with some ordinary rope. And don't ask, no I don't why either.

Meanwhile, Paul has picked up the radioactive banana of mind-control, and Jennifer yells at him to stop. So why does he want to eat it now? Has his stomach digested enough in the last twenty-five seconds that suddenly he has room for it? Does it taste better off the floor? The world will (hopefully) never know.

So Spider-Man leaps over to Paul, knocks the banana out of his hand, and stomps it flat. They leave Mad Scientist bound on the floor of his lab, probably for the fire ants to devour. Then Spidey heads back to his hammock, merrily swinging there on palm tree vines, waving good-bye to Jennifer and Paul, and wiping radioactive mind-control fruit goop off his heels.

General Comments

"Mad Scientist". What kind of half-assed attempt at a villainous name at that? How lazy does the writer have to get before they just start calling people by their function, rather than giving them an actual name? Let's see how the world would be if everyone behaved like this.

A normal sentence -- Spider-Man: "Hey Dr. Doom, don't give that banana to Paul, or Jennifer and I will wipe the floor with you!"

A sentence in Mad Scientist lingual land -- Wisecracking Super-Hero with Secret Tragic Guilt: "Hey Mad Scientist, don't give that Edible-Tropical-Nutrition-Source to Every-Unfunny-Gorilla-Cliche-Ever-Imagined, or Only-Girl-To-Not-Look-Sexy-In-Leopard-Skin-Bra and I will wipe the Gravity-Stoppage-Device with you!"

And here's four Evil Doctor names that it took me exactly twelve seconds to think of, and most of that time was spent backspacing:
Professor Dead
Dr. Scare
T.A. Killjoy
Science-Death-Man
None of these are taken, and they're a heck of a lot more creative than, "Mad Scientist".

Overall Rating

5 webs. I'm getting it framed on my wall. WASH HIS SOCKS! Hahahhahahahahahahahahahahhaha. *sniff* *deep breath* Okay, okay, I'm better now...   .... OHH, MONKEY AT THE LAUNDROMAT!   HAHAHAHAAHAHAhahahahahahahahahahahahahah... etc...