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"The Art of the Prank": A man walks into a joke shop, to see "his uncle". Noticing an obvious trapdoor, he takes a large step back - and promptly falls through a hole that wasn't there five seconds ago. This, as the Prankster points out, is the quinessential prank - set-up, expectation, twist.
Appearing in "The Art of the Prank"
- The Prankster's entourage
- Nitro G
- The "Sticky Squad"
Synopsis for "The Art of the Prank"
A man walks into a joke shop, to see "his uncle". Noticing an obvious trapdoor, he takes a large step back - and promptly falls through a hole that wasn't there five seconds ago. This, as the Prankster points out, is the quinessential prank - set-up, expectation, twist.
The hapless victim, it turns out, is a messenger for a new player on the Metropolis crime scene, a metahuman gangster named Nitro G, who planned to buy Intergang weaponry but is being jerked around by his supplier. In the meantime, he needs money, so he wants to hire the Prankster to provide a distraction. When the Prankster points out that this will draw in Superman, h mentions that, for this, the job will come with a 10% discount.
As he plans the distraction, the Prankster considers his past as an entertainer, but decides that his current sitution is better - he has the freedom to perform any prank he can think up, anywhere, on anyone.
The prank he pulls is centred around the Metropolis Marathon. He covers the street in banana peels, drawing attention. When the police arrive, he sumons a set of giant flowers and drenches them in liquid. And when Superman inevitably arrives, he shocks him with a jolt of electricity - a "joy bozzer". Superman prepares to fight back, but the liquid he used on the police is revealed as glue, and as Superman rushes to free them, the Prankster escapes.
That night, as the prankster watches the news, he is mildly appalled when he hears that Nitro G was swearing at the hostages. However, everything went off well, and he considers the matter ended. However, in the middle of the night, Nitro G's messenger comes back to arrange a new meeting. Nitro G explains that he plans to pull a new job, and needs another distraction from the Prankster... Only this time, he also wants to use the Prankster's glue-guns to outfit his gang. The Prankster is initially dismissive, but when Nitro G threatens him, the Prankster acquiesces.
However, the Prankster is already planning revenge. From a set of fingerprints, he learns that Nitro G is the son of an orthodontist from Peoria, and not an inner city gang leader as he would have people believe. But he is a professional, so he proceeds with what the client asked for.
On the day, a cloud of false money rains down over the Daily Planet building. Each bill is marked with a note telling Superman of a situation in Mount Royal. Meanwhile, all the crullers delivered to the police that day were spiked with laxatives. At the Bakerline branch of Metrobank, Nitro G and his gang beg8in their crime.
However, the two men posted on the door get punched out by floating cuckoo clocks. A giant penny lands in front of the door soon afterwards, hemming the criminals in (or "penning" them, as one crook points out). From a secret compartment in the ceiling, the Prankster emerges, like a pantomime villain, explaining that Nitro G's atrocious manners have earned him this betrayal. Nitro G's goons try to fight back with the glue-guns, but the Prankster anticipated this, and the guns instead spell out the message "YOU'VE BEEN PRANKED". When Nitro G tries to use his own abilities, he activates the bank's sprinkler system, which has been "adapted" by the Prankster to shoot a mixture of diatomaceous earth, sodium carbonate and a few other chemicals, which, when exposed to nitroglycerin, creates a claylike dynamite mixture. The Prankster places a fuse in the mix and stands back. As if on cue, Superman arrives and removes the fuse - activating the actual ignition reaction. With no time to waste, Superman carries Nitro G over the city and begins throwing out globs of the goop before it explodes. Nitro G is humiliated, Superman is victorious... and the Prankster escapes in a holographic disguise, to prank another day.
Soon, the Prankster is back at his headquarters, watching Superman on the news vowing to capture him. Before the newscast is done, two offers of work have come in - one to cover the invasion of a federal armory in Keystone City, and the other in Metropolis. As he begins again, the Prankster admits the real reason he offers a discount on a job that involves Superman - because every showman knows the power of free advertising.
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