Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Ambush Bug Year None #7 of 6 review

The '7 of 6' business is the funniest thing about this issue. Followers of this mini have waited nearly a year since issue #5, with DC Executive Editor Dan DiDio refusing to tell the fan press why the delays with #6. That's his right - DC may owe the fans an explanation but we've no right to one.

What we do have a right to is a great comic once a next issue finally appears. Well, here's #6, renumbered #7, and to call it a dog's dinner is an insult to Pedigree Chum. What we have are several pages by regular artist and plotter Keith Giffen - some reused a couple of times with a different script - and many linking pages by Tiny Titans creative team Art Baltazer and Franco. Robert Loren Fleming scripts, as ever, and sounds suitably, and self-consciously, embarrassed. The ongoing plot has been thrown out for a self-indulgent stinker entitled 'Whatever Happened to Ambush Bug Year None #6'?

'Whatever happened to standards?' is the question. Again, we can't know, but the reasonable assumption is that Dan DiDio objected to the proposed content and threw out the issue as was. Whatever was in there, it has to have been better than this boring, flat, insulting excuse for a comic book.

For one thing, good as Baltazar and Franco may be - and they've won an Eisner for their Tiny Titans work, as this 'story' keeps telling us - they're not Giffen. And if you don't have the Giffen artistic sensibility, you don't have Ambush Bug. Mind, it's not as though the pinch-hitters get to draw the continuity-hopping teleporter . . . they're stuck with some detective guy fannying around asking the like of former DC copy boys what happened to issue #6. We don't get an answer, just page after page of inane, unintelligible inconsequentialities before Ambush Bug wanders off into one of those all-white Comics Limbo panels that show up with every DC Crisis. His sign-off lines are the bitter, but not sweet, 'Oh well, what goes on in the DCU isn't my concern anymore. What am I supposed to do, get myself killed for a universe that's always treated me like a second-class citizen? I won't even be missed. They can all massacre each other, for all I care!'

Talk about leaving 'em laughing.

I work in publishing. I get that no matter how many editorial checks and balances are in place, sometime a project goes wrong and can't be rescued in a way which retains integrity and honours the original intent. In which case, the kindest thing to do to the creative team, and your customers, is to pull the plug. Cancel the solicited issue, leave us with the decent work we've had, mumble a 'sorry' and move on. Don't exacerbate a problem by bringing out a seriously inferior project, leaving the reader feeling robbed.

Dan DiDio appears as a character for several pages here and, on this shameful showing, should consign himself to Comics Limbo.

3 comments:

  1. Ooh, harsh! I've never read this one but I enjoyed your stern taking to task.

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  2. Harsh? Gosh no, I was positively mealy mouthed, considering!

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  3. Postmodern stuff only works very occasionally and if it's in the fabric of the story, eg the Grant Morrison run on Animal Man.

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