Back in grade school, I had a friend who once watched Disney's The Little Mermaid six times in one day. He had Little Mermaid posters all over his room. He bought every Happy Meal like five times so he could get three complete sets of the McDonald's Little Mermaid toys. But as lame as that is, the villain in this story makes my friend look cooler than the Fonz. Keep that in mind.
So in the first panel, April Fool, our villain du jour, runs up and shouts, "Hey! Look at me! I'm a retarded Leprechaun with male pattern baldness, and I make up for my lack of a sex life by playing childish pranks on people more stupid than me! Also, I'm 33 years old and my Mom has to dress me every morning! Please web me up right now, Spider-Man!"
Well, ok, he doesn't say that, but I thought it'd be a good introduction to this lame-o. And it sure would make this story end a lot faster if he did that and Spidey obliged. Like a bad hangover, you don't care how it gets over with, just please God make my head not throb anymore to the sound of the road-repair crew in my apartment that only I can see. There's been mornings when I was about a half-margarita away from calling up Guillotine Rentals for their daily rate. That's how much I wanted it to be over with. That's how much I wish we could just skip right now to the end of this story.
*sigh* So the story really opens with J. Arthur Crank, who is some kind of construction worker with some vague relationship to the Electric Company (probably a 'customer' of Easy's Escort Service, but that's just a guess) out taking a walk on the first day of April. All you need to know about him is that his hard hat has a higher IQ than he does. Also, he seems to have lost the instruction manual for his pants.
So he sees a giant bag of money just lying on the sidewalk, labeled with that conveinient large "$" that all money bags are required to have, ever since Hollywood decided to buy the U.S. Congress. Hollywood wanted to make moneybags in crime movies "both easy to identify, yet still realistic and true-to-life" so they passed a law requiring banks to only have "$" bags for bank-robber conveinience. Hollywood also wanted cars to explode more often when you shoot them with bullets, so all gas tanks on new model cars are now made of tinfoil and hang from the side-view mirrors. Damn Hollywood.
Now, this bag of money very clearly has a string tied to it that leads to a neighboring abandoned lot. Despite this, J. Arthur Crank starts running towards the bag and then leaps at it head-first from eight feet away. This is a money bag lying flat on the sidewalk. The April Fool, from his abandoned lot, gives a little tug on this bag filled with coins and dollars, and it comes shooting over towards him, in violation of everything I've ever learned about the concept of "momentum". Crank crashes elbow first into the pavement. April Fool laughs. It's all just so sad.
April Fool screams "Tee Hee!" as J. Arthur Crank slams into the pavement, reaching for the money. If I was Crank, I would have started by walking over to the money instead of doing a flying tackle, then tracing the string on the money bag to the fence, strangling April Fool with his own bow-tie, collecting my money and going on my way. No muss, no fuss, and I'm sure even his Mom would send me a fruitcake out of gratitude for offing him. I bet even the most conservative, humanist courts would agree with me that killing this guy and using his body to fertilize a Kansas wheat field would really contribute more to the advancement of human society than he ever could alive.
If only J. Arthur wasn't a complete dimple-wad and he could end this now like I would, no, he had to try for some kind of Olympic long jump record instead and we're stuck with this idiot for another four pages. (Editor's Note: No, I don't know what a 'dimple-wad' is either.)
Mr. Caption: Yes, it's the April Fool, that joke-playing pest who appears once a year!
Some days, I just wanna pimpslap Mr. Caption. I can't be the only one.
So, in case you're wondering, April Fool is a four-foot guy wearing a green bowler hat with a maroon pinstriped jacket and matching socks, complemented with lavender slacks and what look to be repainted bowling shoes. But by far his most notable feature is his three foot wide green bow-tie. This guy is walking around wearing a bow-tie that is actually wider than his shoulders. It's like he took a pup tent and pinned it to his neck. This thing could house three Albanian families. His bow-tie could hold a civilization of lice that have advanced to nuclear technology without him knowing. He could be hiding a second head under there, who knows?
So we return to J. Arthur, sitting on the pavement.
J. Arthur Crank: *rubbing his shattered elbows*: Rats! I needed that money to buy a hot dog!
So up comes April Fool, pushing a plot-conveinient hot dog cart, and gives J. Arthur a free hot dog. In J. Arthur Crank's defense, he didn't actually see April Fool when he fooled him before because he was too busy jumping face-first into the concrete. On the other hand, he accepts a free hot dog from a creepy midget in a bowler hat, so whatever happens next is his own damn fault.
So J. Arthur Crank bites into this hot dog. Turns out, it's a rubber hot dog filled with seltzer water. And like many people who eat hot dogs on the planet Mongo-Prime, he always holds the far end of the hot dog directly in front in his left eyeball when eating. So he gets a spray of seltzer water in his eyeball from the end of the hot dog. (Mr. Sound Effect: SQUIRT!) So J. Arthur has just put a rubber hot dog in his mouth that squirted him in his eye (INSERT DIRTY JOKE HERE), and then he goes and asks the demented dwarf that sold it to him if he can please have a handkerchief. I can't decide if he's a complete moron or if maybe... eh... mmmm..., no he's just a complete moron.
So to make a short story as short as humanly possible, the handkerchief that April Fool gives him is filled with sneezing powder, J. Arthur starts sneezing. April Fool doesn't even laugh. Even he realizes how pathetic this all is. So between sneezing fits, Arthur cries out, "I've been fooled again!" Gee, you think so, Sherlock? What was your first frickin' clue?
So Spidey is swinging by and hears "Crank's cry for help." He swings over and sees Crank stomping violently on a handkerchief and a pinstriped Irish midget wandering around.
Spidey: April Fool! Your days are numbered!
Hey Spidey, thanks for the reminder about the inevitability of death and that everyone, young or middle-aged, Irish or Swedish, midget or not, has a limited time on Earth to make an impact or effect any kind of lasting change... God, now I'm depressed. I'm going to have to go call my therapist before I finish this review. Note for the ladies: When Eric says he's going to go 'call his therapist' what he really meant to say was 'go down to the gym and lift some weights'. Sorry for the confusion.
So Spider-Man swings right above April Fool, then lands next to him, then Spidey runs away from him, and then Spidey tries running back towards him to capture him. Whatever. So April Fool grabs a small oil-can from somewhere, I'm assuming from under the bow-tie, and squirts some oil in front of Spidey, who slips and gets knocked onto his ass like a camel trying to ice skate. It's also a little strange that this handheld oil-can makes a giant puddle of oil thirty feet across. There are oil tankers still in service that don't carry this much oil all at once.
April Fool: I'm going to give you the slip!
Spidey: Oh, don't be fuel-ish!
Then there are the times where I just want to pimpslap Spidey because of his puns. Very, very frequent are those times.
J. Arthur Crank: Some hero you are, Spidey! You even got your fancy suit dirty!
And you put a hot dog in your eye, it squirted you, and then you begged your halfling tormentor for a handkerchief. Not to mention you're wearing suspenders that were out of style back in the 1890s. So shut the hell up.
So April Fool runs into the Library. *groan* This is the third super-villain Library attack in the past three issues. By this point, Valerie the Librarian has beaten nearly as many lame villains as Spidey has. So you'd think when a runt wearing clashing colors and a bow-tie large enough to qualify for its own street address walks in, Valerie would know some super-villainy is afoot. No no, she asks April Fool if she can smell his clearly plastic flower, which he has pulled out from somewhere (I'm assuming the bow-tie). So she leans in to smell it, and the flower squirts her directly in the eyeball with a spray of seltzer water. I wonder if April Fool has some S&M fetish about squirting seltzer water directly into people's eyeballs. That's about the least disturbing explanation I can come up for this strange obsession.
So Spidey finally is able to stand up without slipping, and he runs into the library. April Fool runs deep into the section with bookshelves.
Spidey: The April Fool is back there somewhere. We'll never find him now!
Spidey, I can't believe you just said that. There's only three frickin' rows of shelves in this entire library. This isn't the Library of Congress, this is a one-room library smaller than my apartment. How hard can it be to find this guy? Besides, doesn't your Spider-Sense let you know where he is at all times anyway? What is up with you once again letting Valerie come up with some half-deformed bastard child of a plan to capture some Library villain? Is she paying you to make herself look good? What?
Anyway, here's the plan: Valerie says, "Say, April Fool! Check out those old joke books!" April Fool, who is within easy earshot in this enormous, unsearchable library, finds the shelves marked 'Old Joke Books' (which is right above the shelf marked 'New Joke Books', duh). He pulls out a random joke book, which he opens and out pops a Spider-Man jack-in-the-box. Then he's surprised and crashes into a shelf, knocking all the books right onto his head. Then Spidey and the others hear the noise and come running.
So let's examine what amazing coincidences have to come together for Valerie's plan to work.
1) After last library attack, she has to decide that the best way to defend against future assaults of Super-Villainy is to cut the insides out of a joke book and replace it with a scary Spider-Man puppet on a spring.
2) After doing this, for months no one else can check this book out or even touch it, especially Aunts with weak hearts.
3) Some super-villain has to attack the library and then run away and become 'hopelessly hidden' in your three rows of bookshelves to even use this plan.
4) He has to be some kind of joke/prank based villain, or he won't have any reason to go to the Old Joke Book section. Also, he has to be freakishly dumb to go there when you tell him to do so.
5) He has to pick the correct book with the scary jack-in-the-box the first time, out of the 27 Old Joke Books we can see, or he'll just get distracted reading an actual joke book and you'll never find him.
6) (And this is my favorite) This Irish jokester midget must be so surprised by the tiny stuffed Spider-Man popping out of the book that he hurls himself backward into the nearest bookshelf (three times his height) with sufficient force to knock all the books off it and onto his head, knocking him out and making enough noise to alert you to where he is. Otherwise, if he faints or jumps in a different direction or doesn't jump hard enough into a bookshelf, this plan is dogfood.
So Spidey, Val, and Crank rush over to where they hear the big crash, two whole rows away.
J. Arthur Crank: You sure fooled the April Fool!
Valerie: Well - he who laughs last, laughs best!
Then they all laugh at the poor dead midget, who died when Woody Allen's 950-page Big Book of Jewish Stereotype Humor fell onto his head, killing him instantly.
'April Fool'. *shudder* Yet another horribly inane villain based on a holiday. I can hardly wait til they run out of American holidays and have to start going global. "Hey look, it's the Ramadanian and the Kwanzanite, teaming up to beat the crap out of Spidey!" That would have to be way better than this.
The only (and I do mean only) thing I am thankful for with this villain is that they didn't have him going around screaming, "Top 'O the Mornin', te ye! Shamrock! Shillelagh!" or some crap like that. I guess they thought he was stupid enough already without the cultural stereotypes.
For some inexplicable reason, I keep thinking that April Fool is missing one of his front teeth, but whenever I check, he has all of them. Maybe this just means I want to punch his teeth in. Maybe it's evil Alternate-Earth Eric up to his old tricks. Or maybe when you start hallucinating dental problems for characters in children's comics written before you were born, it's time to get some sleep.
0.5 webs. Hey, I bet there's a commercial for Telephone Psychics on channel 9 at this hour. Think I'm gonna go watch that.