Ah yes, the story where the Short Circus attempts to be environmentally relevant. And if you think that's going to be a colossally hilarious failure, you'd be right. Not to mention we have ourselves a special Marvel Universe guest star, whom you could even say makes this story into a "HULKING" failure. OK, you can slap me for that one...
Easy Reader, Rita the Director, some Short Circus freaks, and Pedro and Maurice the Googly-Eyed Cannibal Plant are taking a walk in New York's shiny happy Central Park. In this story, every path is lined with beautiful red roses in full bloom and no one else is around. Of course in reality, every path in Central Park is lined with hobos who would shiv you as soon as look at you, and whatever flowers they have try and mug you for fertilizer money. I wouldn't take a casual stroll through Central Park with anything less than the French Foreign Legion backing me up. I mean, we all know the Punisher's origin, right? I swear, I've heard Central Park is like your one-stop gangland execution mega-center, and I just don't need the hassle of being on a mob hit-list again.
Mr. Caption: It's lunch time and our Electric Company friends take a walk.
Well, I wouldn't describe what Easy Reader is doing as walking. Naw, this jive turkey don't walk like the squares, he's gotta shake and groove everywhere he goes. Except it's just one panel in a comic, so it rather looks like particularly clumsy hyenas are trying to run his body by remote control.
Rita: *looking at Pedro and Maurice* I've heard of walking a dog, but walking your plant is just too much.
I'd just like to remind you that this is the woman who once hired a half-ton of Cherry Jello to star in her monster movie. Yeah, who's certifiable here, Rita?
Pedro: Plants come out in the spring... and the Earth turns Green!
So Pedro busts out with some nonsensical-back-of-the-gum-wrapper-philosophy. At least, that's what I think it is. He could be quoting a 2nd grade science textbook, I suppose.
Then three of the Short Circus members all simultaneously snap their fingers, indicating that the hive mind they are connected to has implanted them with an idea.
Short Circus Idiot 1: What a great idea for a party!
Short Circus Idiot 2: We'll have a "Green" party...
Short Circus Idiot 3: ...for the coming of Spring!
You know, the hive mind theory also explains how they're able to consistently finish one another's sentences. It's disturbing how often they do that if you look for it.
Pedro: *snap!* Let's have it in my greenhouse, and invite T.V. and newspaper stars!
Hey, why don't you invite the Dali Lama and the Icelandic Parliament while you're at it, because they also have nothing to do with the environment, the color green, or the Electric Company!
So they write up some invitations that day on "Green" paper and mail them out to random people.
Mr. Caption: Later, in a TV newsroom.
Mr. Note: Come to a "Green" party today at Pedro's Plant Place
TV Anchorman: The Electric Company's having a party.
TV Cameragirl: Let's go.
So despite the fact that the "On The Air" sign is on, the TV Anchorman leaves in the middle of his broadcast to go to the party. His 'Camerawoman' (bet that's not all she is) stops filming immediately and leaves with him. Now, there are some parties that I too would walk away from a hundred thousand dollar anchorman job to attend. The legendary Markey-Kessler Party of '94 springs to mind. But somehow I don't think a "Green" party put on by rambunctious children who have barely mastered the concept of "zippers" is going to be one of those parties. I don't know what kind of party the anchorman is expecting, but I just can't see anyone doing lines of coke off hookers' chests (or anything that he would think is fun) at this little shindig.
So Peter Parker gets an invitation to the party as he's working at the Daily Bugle.
Peter: Want to go to the Green party, Harry?
Harry: Sure! Green is my favorite color!
I don't know why Harry's lounging around the Daily Bugle offices. He's certainly not working there, he's probably waiting for some idiot underage girls to find Peter like they always do so he can hit on them. Also, he's holding that morning's Daily Bugle that has the headline, "GREEN PARTY TODAY". It's nice to know that the paper is now hiring clairvoyants who can see things the night before they happen so they can make the morning edition. The Short Circus decided to hold the party that morning, Peter is holding the invitation he has just received, but it's been in the paper all day, apparently.
Despite this, J. Jonah Jameson, newspaper publisher extraordinaire, walks out of his office and says:
JJJ: Party? Did someone say party?
Um... do you read your own headlines, JJJ? It's sorta right there on page 1... hard to miss.
Peter: Here comes the Party Pooper!
I love the fact that Peter calls JJJ a "pooper" to his face and he doesn't say a single word about it. The JJJ we all know and love is not quite so forgiving as this.
Meanwhile, someone else finds the card and reads about the "Green" party and decides he has to be there. And if you guessed Ralph Nader, you'd be wrong. Close, but wrong. It's actually the Incredible Hulk! What will a man-monster of child-like intelligence do in a world populated by children of balsa-wood-like intelligence? Well, you know what they say about the one-eyed man being king in the country of the kind. Er, I mean blind. (Sorry, it's late.) Anyway, let's find out what wackiness they've dreamed up for us.
*Hulk finds the party invitation*
Hulk: Hulk is Big and Green. Hulk will go to Big Green Party!
Hulk: *looks right at audience with a terrible sadness in his eyes* NEVER have a Green party without Hulk! It isn't easy being green!
Thank you, Jim Henson! And thank you Spidey Super Stories writers, for mercilessly stealing his line to add some fakey-fakey emotional turmoil to a 6 page Hulk story. I mean, the LEAST you could've done was to change it to sound like something the Hulk would actually say, like "It not easy being green!" Or maybe "Green not so easy, being made of". Or "Viridian is a deceitfully strenuous shade to have existed as." (Banner-Mode Only)
So then we check-in on the swinging party going on over at Pedro's Plant Place. The guests have arrived, the non-biodegradable "hors d' oeuvres" are on the table, the conversation is flowing like a bubbly mountain stream full of spawning salmon.
Peter: It's a Groovy Green Party. Isn't it, Mr. Jameson?
JJJ: It was - until now! *points at the wall*
Of course, now is the moment that the Hulk chooses to crash through the glass greenhouse wall. (Mr. Sound Effect: CRASH!) Then comes a wonderfully queer scene where we get to see a side of Pedro never hinted at before. Pedro grabs his 'friend' Andy's jacket as Andy grabs for Pedro in a kind of half-hearted embrace. Suddenly, Pedro pushes Andy out in front of him and towards the Hulk.
Pedro:(shouting) Andy, PUNCH him!
Now, do you really think having your extremely well-groomed companion go up and punch the Incredible Hulk is a wise idea? This isn't like punching the guy ahead of you in the bank line, or even like punching Spider-Man. This is the Incredible freakin' Hulk here. He can kill you by breathing on you hard, and nothing short of Wolverine's claws or atomic weaponry can hurt him anyway. So, unless you're getting tired of your 'friend' Andy being in the not-dead category, I don't think this is such a good idea.
But apparently Pedro and Andy have some kind of master/slave domination relationship going on that I don't want to think about any further, because Andy immediately does whatever Pedro tells him to do.
Andy: Anything you say, Pedro!
*Andy runs and grabs the punch bowl, and runs right up to the Hulk and dumps it on his head. Hulk looks pissed.*
At this point, if that was me, I would kill Andy, and I don't even have gamma-irradiated strength. Not only would I kill him for dumping punch all over me, but I would kill him again for making a lame visual pun involving the word "punch". I was really hoping that the Hulk would grab Andy and twist his head right off his body and shout, "Hulk twist top off of Punch-Boy. How you like Hulk's pun?" That would rock most excellently.
By now Peter has snuck away in the five seconds of "confusion" or something, and changed into his Spidey outfit, like always. I remember a few parties (one was thrown by a Green Party supporter friend of mine, strangely enough) where I was hoping desperately that some super-villain would crash in through the wall so I could sneak away in the "confusion", because it was a small party and there was no way I could just leave abruptly. It was either super-villain attack, or sit there for three hours talking about environmental policy, or if I was really lucky maybe a nuclear war.
So Spidey swings back in and webs up the Hulk. Which of course will work for about three seconds because the Hulk is going to bust out of your webs in the next panel, so you'd better come up with a new plan real fast, Spidey.
JJJ:(shouts) SPIDER-MAN! I'd rather have the Hulk!
Yeah, I agree. At least the Hulk is SUPPOSED to be dumb, it isn't quite so embarrassing for us to read about then.
So Spidey thinks to himself, "Hmmm... could I calm him with candy?" To which I would respond with an unqualified, "No. You can't." But that's all the plan Spidey can come up with, so he goes with it. He says, "Here Hulk, this should sweeten you up!" And Spidey decides the best way to implement this plan is to shoot a web at a big tray of candies and then shoot his web into the Hulk's open mouth. Yeah Spidey, great idea, fill his mouth with webbing so he can't breathe, much less swallow the damn candy (which is stuck to a mass of webbing anyway). Hulk is just gonna love this plan, he'll tell you how much right after he rips all your limbs off. And it's just so very sad to see Spidey mess up his already-idiotic candy plan in such a spectacular fashion.
But right before the Hulk is going to pound Spidey, and then Andy into a creamy liquefied paste, Sylvia of the Electric Company shows up with some drinks.
Sylvia: Well, look who's here - a Great Green Guest! Hello Hulk! Have a cool, green drink.
I'm sure there's some kind of important moral lesson here about Green Kool-Aid taming the savage beast or something. But really, the Hulk just gets distracted by food really easily. Always has. So he chews through all the webs in his mouth or something, and grabs the pitcher of green Kool-Aid and chugs it all at once.
Suddenly, everyone at the party decides that instead of running for their lives like they were just doing a moment ago, the Hulk is now some kind of tame Circus curiosity, and everyone there crowds around the Hulk and starts pelting him with questions. Maybe they don't realize that if he accidentally elbows them they may not have any chest cavity left. I just don't know.
White-Afro-And-Moustache-Man: Have you read, "The Greening of Our Country"?
Look buddy, the Hulk may not be breaking your spine or on some kind of city-wide rampage at this very moment, but the Hulk's not about to join any Earth-First reading circles or anything. So just shut the heck up.
Black-Afro-No-Moustache-Woman: Are you related to the Green Goblin?
Yeah, his first mention in Spidey Super Stories! We finally get to meet him next issue. It'll be worth the wait, too. Though I'm not quite sure what it all has to do with the Hulk, she may as well have asked, "Are you related to the Green Snapping Tortoise? Or Kiwi fruit? Or Grass?" The answer is still "No, Duh".
But from out of nowhere comes the following gem of weird random Spidey Super Stories madness. People at the party decide that it's so darn entertaining to watch the mass-murderer Hulk stand around and act docile and dumb, that they want him for all their parties! Yeah, that's the ticket, the Short Circus should get in the business of renting out the Hulk for cocktail parties. I'm sure their insurance would cover that...
Semi-Normal Woman:(to Hulk) Do you have plans for today?
And swear to God, then this creepy old guy with a very peculiar smile on his face looks at the Hulk and says:
Creepy Old Guy: Or tonight?
Hahahahaha. Man, I have no idea what he wants the Hulk for later that night, and I am trying really hard not to think about it. Geez, I think between this guy and Pedro's 'friend' Andy I've had enough of "alternative" lifestyles for a whole year worth of Spidey Super Stories. How do they keep sneaking this stuff into children's comics? Do they think we wouldn't notice?
And then Spidey finishes off the whole mess in his own unique fashion.
Spidey:*looks over at Hulk surrounded by drunken Pro-Earthers* Well, how about that? A happy Hulk!
Right, until Hulk gets bored of being pestered with inane questions about which members of the legume family he may be related to, and sick of being treated like some kind of cute midget and decides it'd be more fun to throw some people through the glass greenhouse walls. God knows I'd be at that point already.
But it sure would rock if you could rent the Hulk for a day or two. You would never have to worry about bullies again, after the Hulk throws them through six classroom walls. And I wonder if he'd be cheaper than a moving van...
I love how the Hulk orders us to "Never have a Green Party without Hulk!" Man, I bet this is just gonna ruin the governments of like 16 European Union nations, when the controlling Green Party has to invite the Hulk to sit on all of their legislation. Won't THAT be productive.
You know, you can't even tell that the Hulk is supposed to be dumb in this story. Other than his lack of personal pronouns, his dialogue is at exactly the same grade level as everyone else in this book. And his logic (I'm big and green, I should go to this big green party) is better than anyone else in this story. I mean, what was Spidey thinking when he webbed up a piece of candy and shot it into the Hulk's mouth? How could that possibly work? How could you not think of this plan and not have your brain immediately dismiss it as cerebellum fodder, much, much less actually go through with it? You know something's wrong with your head when the HULK can outthink you...
3.5 webs. Hulk like story! Now Hulk find creepy old man and SMASH him!