Archive for Ambush Bug

Triple-A Ratings

I still have a ton of comics to review, so let’s spend today looking at all my comics that started with the letter “A.”


Abe Sapien: The Haunted Boy

We get a flashback as Abe Sapien, Hellboy’s amphibious buddy, goes on one of his first assignments, traveling to a small town in Vermont to investigate a routine haunting. Two boys fell through the ice on a frozen pond during the winter — one died, but the other was rescued. After the spring thaw, the glowing spirit of a boy was seen floating above the pond. Abe’s investigation isn’t turning up much — the mother of the dead boy is still bereaved, and the boy who survived the accident is suffering some kind of survivor’s guilt and can’t offer any helpful information. But when Abe goes for a swim in the pond, Abe learns something very, very bad.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Another great story from Mike Mignola and some more wonderful artwork from John Arcudi. The plot is nicely low-key, but still spooky and fun.


Ambush Bug: Year None #7

Okay, this one was supposed to have just six issues, but instead we get #7 this past week. A bonus? No, not really. Issue #6 has never been published, and no one seems to know why. This final issue has been delayed for about a year.

So in this issue, no one professes to know what happened to Issue #6. Dan DiDio acts evil and megalomaniacal, which is kinda like the real world, except without even that much entertainment. Some private eye investigates, um, something. And there’s not much more to it. About half the issue is drawn by Art Baltazar and Franco, from “Tiny Titans,” and that’s nice. But it’s not nearly enough.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Sooooo bad. Baltazar and Franco’s artwork is the only saving grace, and that still doesn’t change the fact that it’s soooooo bad.

Astro City Special: Astra #2

Astra Furst, recent college graduate and famous member of the superheroic First Family, has taken her boyfriend to the Gordian Knot, a twisted maze of stars, planets, and celestial bodies that Astra herself created a few years ago when she saved the universe — all these worlds are basically stuck together, meshing their cultures together, right at the edge of collapsing into nothingness. The planets can be rescued, but if it’s not done carefully, they could be destroyed, and the rest of the universe — maybe all universes — with them. But tonight is about Astra showing Matt the sights in the Knot, from a flight playground, to Astra’s multiversal pals, to the Caldera, the deadly center of the Knot. And Astra has two little pieces of news for Matt, neither of which he’s likely to enjoy very much.

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a great story about Astra, and a great study on celebrity media culture, both in the comic-book world and the real one, too. Definitely worth picking up if you’re an “Astro City” fan.

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Friday Night Fights: Pow!

If I haven’t mentioned it before, this has been a heck of a week. So let’s just get straight to what we all came here for: FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

From March 1985, here’s Action Comics #565 by Keith Giffen, Robert Loren Fleming, and Bob Oksner, in which Superman ejects Ambush Bug from the Fortress of Solitude:


And that’s that. This week’s been so busy, I’m gonna go grab a little early shut-eye, for once. Y’all don’t forget the Lubbock Comic Book Expo, tomorrow at the Civic Center!

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Ambush Buggin’

DC Showcase Presents Ambush Bug

I broke my personal rule designed to limit my comics spending when I saw this one in the store, partly because I was amazed that DC would put out a Showcase focusing on Ambush Bug, partly because Ambush Bug’s pseudo-adventures are very funny, and partly just because I’d always wanted my own copy of 1983’s DC Comics Presents #39, starring Superman, Ambush Bug, and the Legion of Substitute Heroes.

So what do we get here? We get Ambush Bug’s early appearances, when he was just a lunatic teleporter tormenting Superman, but these quickly give way to Keith Giffen’s wonderful and continuity-free Ambush Bug miniseries, specials, and stocking stuffers, with guest-starring roles for Cheeks the Toy Wonder, Jonni DC Continuity Cop, Argh!yle, Quantis the Koala Who Walks like a Man, Scabbard, Mitsu Bishi, the Ambush Bug from Japan, DC editor Julius Schwartz, and of course… DARKSEID.

There aren’t a whole lot of actual plotlines going on here — most of it is just an excuse for Giffen and his co-conspirators to write a bunch of funny gags about comics. They may not be in color, but this is gonna be the only place you’ll find all these old comics for so little dough.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I count 478 pages of classic Ambush Bug comics for less than 20 bucks. Go pick it up, dawg.

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War! On! Christmas!

DC Universe Holiday Special

This is DC’s annual holiday anthology, with lots of short stories about Superman, Aquaman, Commissioner Gordon, Blue Beetle, the Justice League, Dr. Light, Nightwing, Robin, Huntress, the Teen Titans, and more.

Verdict: Are the stories bad? No. Are the stories good. No, not really. Is it all worth the price on the cover? Well, the price on the cover is six bucks, and I gotta say, these stories are definitely not worth six bucks. Thumbs down.

Aww, but I don’t want to leave you with just that one bad review. Let’s review a couple of good comics real quick.

Ambush Bug: Year None #5

Ambush Bug works as a henchman for a low-rent supervillain called the Yellow Snow (Don’t eat him!) and discovers that all 52 of the Monitors are after him. Not that the Bug cares too much — he’s too busy traveling to the many alternate earths, including the sex-change world, the mirror universe, and Frank Miller World, where black bars cover up almost all of the dialogue. He learns that, though he managed to kill DC head honcho Dan DiDio last issue (Huzzah!), he’s alive again (Booo!) and controlling the multiverse to make everything dark and edgy and grim (Booo! Nonfiction!). Things are so bad that arch-villain Go-Go Chex tries to enlist Ambush Bug’s aid in putting down the menace of DiDio once and for all. But can anything stop the interstellar evil of Dan DiDio?

Verdict: Thumbs up. More silly jokes and visual gags. How great is it that this lengthy tribute to the evil of Dan DiDio is being published by DiDio’s comics company? Oh, and Keith Giffen better stay out of any small planes.

Booster Gold #15

We start off with Booster and Skeets preventing Goldstar, Booster’s sister, from posing for a certain famous painting of an enigmatically smiling woman by Leonardo da Vinci. After leaving 16th-century Italy, the time-jumping heroes discover that time has gotten all screwed up again. This time, they trace the disturbance back to the Gotham museum robbery from a few issues ago. Apparently, one particular knife was missing from the museum after the robbery — and when they return to the museum, Booster and Skeets are ambushed by the Elongated Man! Yay, Ralph Dibny! They have a nice team-up and almost catch the knife thief, but he escapes, and Booster ends up stranded on a ruined, muddy battlefield…

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s great to see Ralph in action again, and the rest of the story is good fun. Any story that can combine the Mona Lisa, the Elongated Man, and what appears to be a battlefield from World War I, is something that I’m pretty certain to enjoy.

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Red Hot Super-Powered Cheesecake!

Terra #2

It turns out that the new Terra is an exact genetic match for the old Terra — namely, the crazy one who had underaged sex with Deathstroke and tried to kill the Teen Titans. Power Girl and Dr. Mid-Nite try to calm her down while she runs around Mid-Nite’s lab in her birthday suit. When she and Power Girl finally leave, they have to deal with an attack on a subway by Silver Banshee. She’s after a guy who’s stolen a mystical artifact, and when he accidentally steps on the third rail, his death allows the ancient Sumerian god who was inside the artifact to take over his body, grow to giant size, and try to take over the planet. Meanwhile, Richard Whozits, the wealthy geologist guy who got turned into living rock in the first issue, hangs out with his nekkid girlfriend and tries to decide what he’s going to do with his life. And finally, zombies invade Markovia, and Terra shows up to help Geo-Force fight them all off.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The story’s pretty good, and the dialogue is fun and funny, but the best part of this is Amanda Conner’s wonderful artwork. Yes, she has a near-perfect eye for classic good-girl art (you did notice that cover up there, right?), but she’s also stellar at action, facial expressions, body language, and everything else she decides to draw. She’s one of my favorite artists out there, and I hope she gets lots more comics work.

Kull #1

Dark Horse continues their recent trend of making awesome comics out of old Robert E. Howard stories with this new series about Howard’s barbarian king. We get a story about siege warfare, political intrigue, and a really ugly monster. Can Kull, Atlantean exile and new king of Valusia destroy the monster and unite his kingdom?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Excellent story, excellent action, excellent monster. Hope they keep making this one, ’cause it’s fun.

Ambush Bug: Year None #4

Dan DiDio is dead, Jann Jones is the ultimate romantic manga heroine, Argh!yle is running around bothering people in the “52” mega-series, and Ambush Bug gets kicked in the jollies by Batwoman.

Verdict: Dan DiDio is dead? Thumbs up!

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Ambush Bug: Year None #2

Plot? Please, there is no plot. Ambush Bug goes to see Rama Kushna, but she’s decided to become Groucho Marx. Cheeks has become an OMAC. Heck, almost everyone has become an OMAC. Bug meets some horsey friends of the Flash, a Mauve Lantern named Don Gaye Apparel, and a Galactusized interior decorator. Ambush Bug becomes a bear to fight Go-Go Chex. DC editor Jann Jones goes anime. And a whole page accidentally gets printed without dialogue balloons or captions.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nothing big happens, just some nicely goofy stuff.


Ambush Bug: Year None #3

Ambush Bug went to Vegas, got drunk, had a blackout, and wakes up to learn that he’s gotten married to the Inferior Five’s Dumb Bunny. He desperately tries to get un-married, even traveling to Hell to bargain with the devil to erase his marriage. Hi, Spider-Man! He also meets Earth-2 Superman, Earth-2 Lois Lane, Earth-3 Alexander Luthor, and Superboy-Prime (played by Super-Turtle), who goes on a rampage and kills Pantha. Darkseid does karaoke. Go-Go Chex tries to eat all the mer-people in Atlantis. Next issue: The Return of Argh!yle!

Verdict: Thumbs up. I think this is the best issue of this series so far, at least partly because I’ve always liked Dumb Bunny and the rest of the Inferior Five.

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Friday Night Fights: Bat Boots Bug!

Okay, folks, it’s Friday night, and I’m in the mood for a big thick steamin’ bowl of Wolf Brand Whupass!

In other words, it’s way past time for FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

For tonight, I dug out my recent copy of Ambush Bug: Year None #1 by Keith Giffen, Robert Loren Fleming, and Al Milgrom, in which the Golden Age Batgirl gives poor Ambush Bug a moderately undeserved kick to the face:



Good gravy train, she kicked him so hard his head exploded!

Blondes in short skirts and masks kicking you so hard your head explodes is what Friday Night Fights is all about…

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Funny Ha-Ha


Ambush Bug: Year None #1

The return of Ambush Bug! HUZZAH!

The world’s greatest comedic, fourth-wall-breaking, teleporting, deelybop-wearing superhero is investigating the murder of Jonni DC, Continuity Cop, accompanied by his ever-loyal buddy, Cheeks the Toy Wonder. We get appearances by Argh!Yle!!, the evil Dr. Doomesque sock, and a new hipster villain called Go-Go Chex, as well as cameos by Yankee Poodle, Egg Fu, Ace the Bathound, ‘Mazing Man, Jean Loring, the Source Wall, the Golden-Age Batgirl, Jack Kirby’s Sandman, and bunch of gratuitous Women in Refrigerators. The entire thing is almost entirely plotless — the only real purpose is to dump an obscene number of jokes on the readers.

Verdict: Thumbs up! This is complete and total brilliance. A six-issue series? Surely this could be padded to a dozen or two? Pretty please?


Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #1

A new Marvel all-ages book! HUZZAH!

Looks like this will be a team-up book, and the first issue features Spider-Man, Iron Man, and the Hulk. Hercules shows up and asks the trio of heroes to dog-sit his pets for him for a few weeks. No problem, right? Oh, wait, they’re Cerberus and Orthus, giant multi-headed guard dogs of the Underworld. They decide to try to train the dogs, mainly to keep them from using Iron Man as a squeaky chew toy.

Verdict: Another thumbs up. This is another extremely funny book, what with Spider-Man sticking to the Hulk, Iron Man constantly being chewed on by giant dogs, the spectacle of Cerberus being entered into a dog show, and frankly, almost everything the Hulk says and does.


Hoverboy #1

A comic subtitled “The Republican Super-Hero!” Umm, huzzah?

This is set up as a revival of an old character from the Golden and Silver Age. Hoverboy is a guy with a bucket on his head who undertakes a mission to spy on Iran and start a little trouble over there. Unfortunately, George W. Bush is not the greatest mapmaker around, and Hoverboy ends up running around Iraq killing Iraqi police officers and generally starting needless trouble for American troops. Who’s going to get the blame for this? Hoverboy? President Georgie? Or some random stooge in the Bush cabinet? Once the main story is over, we’re treated to a bunch of “historical covers and reprints” from old “Hoverboy” comics.

Verdict: Ehh, bit of a mixed bag. The main story is okay, but not particularly any grand shakes. I actually graded them down a little for dropping this so close to the end of Bush’s term; publish it in 2003-2005, when everyone was in “All Must Love Bush” mode, and I’d give ’em marks for courage, but now, when he’s got approval ratings around 20%? That’s jumping onto the dogpile after the ref’s already blown the whistle. I’m not even sure the usual Limbaughian extremists will even bother issuing the standard denunciations and fatwas at this point…

Anyway, the cover gallery is actually funnier, what with the ad for the “Hoverboy Flying Belt” from the ’40s that tells kids that they’ll really be able to fly, a Hoverboy PSA that warns kids about the dangers of Canadians, and a reprint of a story that features Hoverboy killing every animal in a zoo while searching for a Japanese detainee. The cover gallery is mostly the work of Marcus Moore, who really does a great job of re-creating the look of various old comics.

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