Ambush Bug Year None 1

DC’s greatest character is back after nearly 20 years.

Yes, ‘Mazing Man is in this comic. OK, it’s not a very flattering portrayal of the little guy, but it’s good to see him. It’s also good to see Ambush Bug back, breaking comics’ fourth wall and pointing out the industry’s cliches, silliness and general foibles. And he does this not by laughing at them, but by living them, here caught up in a mystery that goes to the heart of the Women in Refrigerators debate.

Someone is killing women in the DC Universe, and the latest victim is an old rival, Jonni DC – the continuity cop finally caught the DC bullet. That doesn’t sound a barrel of laughs, but there are giggles aplenty here, at least for this old fanguy. Seeing the true secret origin of the original Batgirl (possibly) and learning the final fate of (Sugar and) Spike (I doubt it) was worth the price of admission. The trend away from thought bubbles and the darkening of minor characters are just two of the targets for humour. There are also plenty of speedy sight gags and a plethora of puns.

In his first DC work for years, Robert Loren Fleming does a sterling job scripting Keith Giffen’s plot, even continuing an old gag about his demise. Giffen’s pencils are a delight, being somewhere between his Legion of Super-Heroes Great Darkness Saga style, and the less popular Five Year Gap work. And inker Al Milgrom makes the art look nice and sharp – mind, his name has been omitted from the credits box – could that be a clue to the murderer’s identity? Is Milgrom taking some sick revenge for being overlooked? Probably not. Anyway, big Too Dangerous For A Girl hugs to editor Jann Jones for championing this project and bringing smart stupidity back to the DCU.

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