Tuesday, July 12, 2011

CBR Ambush Bug: Year None


You think ya can put a good bug down, well you know what? You can't!!

After a decade of silence...and cameos throughout group shots...and hidden references in Wonder Girl bedroom in Young Justice...the Ambush Bug is back in the DCUniverse!

Meaner, greener...it is a whole new world out there!
DC Comics are now grittier...there's more deaths awaiting our heroes at every corner...and also strange editorial decisions that put good characters out of commission.
Will the Bug strike out against this injustice? Will Cheeky accompany our hero just like in good ol' times? What's up with the new DC logo since the last time the Bug had a mini-series for him?

And more important, did I forget to buy some flapjacks yesterday??

Irwin Schwab will return in...

Comic title: Ambush Bug: Year None
Art by Keith Giffen, Al Milgrom & Art Baltazar (issue #7)
Story by Keith Giffen & Robert Loren Fleming

Published by DC Comics
From 2008-09
Lineup Ambush Bug
Format: Collects the six issues Ambush Bug: Year None mini-series.

Irwin Schwab is back! In an all-new series set in the (then) modern DCU!
Brought back to the mainstream attention thanks to a noticed cameo appearance in the middle of the epic blockbuster one year long storyline "52" (which layouts and breakdowns were done by Keith Giffen), it was only a matter of time until Irwin was given a proper new new mini-series.

After a brief hiatus in the 90s (when the similarly crazy and 4th breaker Heckler took his slot), The Bug is back to make fun of all things comics, all in good fun of course, reference and make nods at clichés, tropes and the oh-so serious fanbase of funny books.

What's all this about this time? Is it any good?
You will traverse the entire Multiverse to be able to answer this question...

Female characters and "ethnic" heroes drop down like flies... It's a grittier and more edgy DC Universe..

Ambush Bug is like he's always been. Lazy. Grumpy.
He just wants to have fun and "enjoy life" in his lil' apartment with his faithful sidekick Cheeks, the Toy Wonder.
But the whole DCU has changed this last decade.

Things are a whole lotta more serious around, these days.

Characters die...women end up in refrigerators... All of this to boost sales!
And then some characters are brought back...only to die again! Again, for the sake of sales!
What changed since last time?
Well, Dan Didio's in charge now...

The Ambush Bug-family is all back and all get there time to shine!

This 6 mini-series ran from September 2008 to January 2009 where it "ended" on a cliffhanger (to boost sales???) on issue 5...only to be brought back a year later (One Year Later, for real!) directly with issue 7.

The series is like a best of the Ambush Bug and gets to showcase doing what the Bug does best, poking fun at various corners of the DCU.
All of his trademarks gimmicks make an appearance at some point or another.
Giffen and Fleming mock (gently) all the aspects of comic book publishing and DC (in-story actually!).
The Bug notices all the changes there's been in the DCU lately, mostly with events running all the time (and he tries joining the crossover...only to be left too late behind the JLA, the Titans, etc..). Some issues take place around specific events, the Bug ends up resulting in some tragic deaths (Identity Crisis/Jean Loring going after Sue Dibny, Blue Beetle getting shot by Max Lord while he's distracted by Irwin, his fan number one!) or getting beat down by retconned characters like the Silver Age Batgirl, finding the Golden Age Earth-1 Superman (living "outside" the DCU with the Super-turtle amongst others), the 52 new characters (Batwoman, Montaya!The Question..) guest-star in an issue, the world is invaded by OMACS in another, etc..

It's a very fun book for the ones that keep up with DC Comics....and easily a good way to introduce, while having a good laugh, the various bizarre concepts of the DC Universe!

All the other elements from Ambush Bug comics make a comeback, like splashpages/parodies, Giffen's traditional 6-panels grid, ..
Ambush Bug ends up accidentally killing Dan Didio (or did he?) and disappears for a whole issue leaving the spotlight for other characters such as the evil sock Argh!yle and Mitsu Bishi, the Bug's japanese counterpart.

DC's Editor-in-chief about to retcon-punch Ambush Bug out of his own pages!

It's a great series that doesn't take itself too seriously and has fun with comics.
The Bug gets to make sarcastic comments on the stats of modern comics.

"He's just lines on paper."
The industry, like rival company Marvel Comics gets lampooned as well.
In one issue, the Bug ends up married to The Inferior Five's Dumb Bunny (who already got to appear in past Ambush Bug comics) so he tries divorcing her by any means he can, like asking the devil himself to divorce them both.

Amber Butane of the Amber Butane Corps makes a comeback, now more of actuality than ever, trying to rid on Geoff Johns' current success.

The final issue #7 (and therefore, 6th issue), the main plotline has a detective trying to find out what happened to issue 6 (in a quite special finale issue guest-drawn by Art Baltazar).

One other issue starts out with the missing dialogue from a previous issue's page.

As you can guess, it's all in good fun.
Like comics should always be, heck, it's called entertainment for a reason! Am I right or am I right??

Overall, it's an amazing series, that makes a lot more sense now than ever!
I do miss the ol' Julius Schwartz-era Ambush Bug parodies... but it's a different book for a different time!

Dan Didio is seen as the reason behind everything that goes wrong at DC nowadays... The Bug doesn't hesitate to make fun of that and fanboys and nerds reactions. They're also integral part of what passes for a  "plot" here.

It's a great book making fun of the genre and having a kick, having fun while at it.
Easily enjoyable even by non-fans and huge collectors.
Perfect, featuring some of the best moments the Bug have been through his carreer, Keith Giffen art at its best and cartooniest.

A must for any DC or comics lover!
Get it!
But don't lose your hair trying to find issue #6, okay? It. Doesn't. Exist!!!

I give it:

  3 / 3 Plastic-trophies!

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