Showcase Presents: Ambush Bug TPB Review


It’s safe to say “Ambush Bug” is unlike almost any other comic out there, especially those from DC or Marvel. Since the early 1980s, “Ambush Bug” has unapologetically skewered the DC Universe, mercilessly mocking continuity, crossovers, deaths, resurrections, and everything else in between.

This Showcase Presents volume collects almost every appearance of the insane bug-man since his first appearance in “DC Comics Presents” in 1982 (his newest miniseries and appearances in “52” notwithstanding). Ambush Bug was originally created to be a Joker-like counterpart to Superman, but almost instantly was turned into a more mischievous, comic-relief character. After a few appearances teaming up with Superman, Supergirl, and the Legion of Substitute Heroes, the bug graduated to his own miniseries, where he truly began his eviscerating, fourth-wall-shattering examination of the comic book world.

Ambush Bug is a man named Irwin Schwab who found the Ambush Bug suit amid the wreckage of a crashed spaceship (which is where his archenemy, the talking sock Argh!Yle first came to Earth, too. Don’t ask. That’s hardly the weirdest thing to appear in this book). The suit has the power of teleportation, so it allows Ambush Bug – who, unlike any other character in the DCU, knows he’s a comic book character – to hop throughout the DCU and spread his special brand of mayhem. That includes, but is hardly limited to, avenging the death of his sidekick/adopted ward, a stuffed doll named “Cheeks;” fighting a giant koala alongside former DC mascot Jonni DC; investigating the disappearances of old DC characters who no longer fit neatly into continuity; being killed and resurrected three times in one issue; trying to take Julie Schwartz’ job after being fired as a comic book character; and facing off against Darkseid.

Keith Giffen and Robert Loren Fleming are the creators best associated with Ambush Bug, with Giffen plotting and penciling his solo adventures and Fleming scripting them. Although other creators have worked on the Bug over the years, Giffen has been with the character since his inception, and it’s he and Fleming who capture the essence of the bug best.

The one problem some people might have with this book is the same problem people might have with any Showcase book: in order to reprint it cheaply, the book is in black-and-white. It’s not a huge deal to me, but I can understand why some people would like their comics in color and would dislike the black and white.

Overall, this is a great book for anyone who likes comedy comic books and doesn’t mind laughing at some of the elements of this business that are oftentimes taken way too seriously.

Number of stars out of five: four

Number of dry slaps: zero

Posted by Luke

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