Yes, and introduce the modern Suicide Squad, too.

§ September 10th, 2021 § Filed under ambush bug, this week's comics § 12 Comments


What this reminded me of, when all was said and done, was the Legends series DC published back in the mid-1980s, where the ultimate result of the series was to introduce the new Justice League (to some measure of success), or even DC’s Millennium, published a little later that decade, where the endgame was to introduce the New Guardians (to slightly lesser success).

Which, you know, is fine. That’s the goal of every comic book crossover…to get you to buy more comic books. They do it either by trying to turn you on to characters you didn’t normally read but were exposed to in the event, or they spin off new titles from the event that they hope you’ll be intrigued enough to sample. In this case it’s Justice League Incarnate, a team comprised of superheroes from across the multiverse, attempting to prevent Darkseid from breaking into the Omniverse and bothering Mark Gruenwald, presumably. And a handy footnote in Infinite Frontier directs you to said series, Coming Soon to a Newsdealer Near You.

Again, this is all fine. It’s just how comics are. And I like the idea of Justice League Incarnate and think the idea of jumping around the multiverse sounds like fun. But…DC’s spent the better part of three decades trying to roll back Crisis on Infinite Earths after realizing that maybe putting a whole bunch of restrictions on a world of imaginative fantasy was perhaps not a great publishing strategy. I enjoyed at the time the weird frisson of Crisis, where for perhaps the one time in superhero comics history you really did have the feeling that perhaps nothing and nobody was safe. But the price we paid was DC putting out an event series every once in a while that tried to get those worms all back in the tin, or at least get those worms to line up neatly and consistently so they could say “this is how things work now, for sure this time.”

The result is a pastiche of a memory of a time that the creators responsible are likely not even old enough to have experienced firsthand. All the terms and ideas are there, the Earths with numerial designations, all that jazz, but it doesn’t feel quite the same. This is a Me Problem, not perhaps a Those of You Who Are Younger Than Me Problem, as I did experience the old DC Multiverse firsthand in the funnybooks I got off the newsstands and I compare my memories of what was to whatever attempts are going on now to recreate it, and…I’m just gonna have to tear down that nostalgia wall in my brain and get used to what’s happening now, because unless Marv Wolfman steps in and knocks the entirely of DC continuity back to the 1980s, “nothing will ever be the same,” to borrow a phrase.

Anyway, Infinite Frontier #6 also promises the return of an old friend in 2022, so okay, they got me on the hook with that. Jerks.

The return of Ambush Bug to whatever passes as mainline DC continuity, in what I presume is a small attempt at Deadpool-izing him by having a fourth-wall aware hero interacting with what would generally be considered a straightforward superhero adventure book. Of course, my awareness of Deadpool comes mostly from the movies and his appearances in one of the Marvel Lego video games, having only read one actual Deadpool comic in my lifetime, so I could be misunderstanding something here. Also, I though Harley Quinn and DC’s Deadpool, a character not necessarily bound by whatever demands are put upon stories by current continuity.

Anyway, Ambush Bug beat ’em all to the punch, being set aside from the regular DCU to do his own metacommentary thing (despite being introduced in regular continuity as, well, a murderer, and making the occasional appearance there, like this oddball thing). He retains his awareness that he’s a comic book character for Suicide Squad, which is treated by the other characters as being a sign that his bean is off-kilter…except he repeatedly demonstrates (at least for the reader) that he is correctly aware of his comic book existence. We’re in late 1980s Animal Man territory here, my friends…maybe he can team up with Grant Morrison.

12 Responses to “Yes, and introduce the modern Suicide Squad, too.”

  • DavidG says:

    Man did I love the Bug back in the day, even in lesser stories like that Supergirl one. At his best he was hysterically funny. But I think that ship has sailed.

  • Daniel says:

    I got into comics about a year before Crisis on Infinite Earths. I believed then when I was a kid and I believe now as an adult that the multiverse is a crutch for lazy, unimaginative writers. The multiverse only works as a novelty. You can only do Flash of Two Worlds once. Beyond that, the concept becomes redundant, repetitive, predictable. And my experience as a reader is that lazy writers rely on it in lieu of having to come up with something genuinely creative.

  • But Suicide Squad already drafted a self-aware character into their team. Grant Morrison himself, no less. (and that was basically how Ostrander wrote the Squad’s reaction to Morrison – that he was just the latest babbling maniac)

  • Daniel says:

    To amend and clarify my previous comment, my general dislike of the multiverse concept does not mean that I think that every story DC publishes has to align to its central continuity like Marvel (one of the main reasons that I never really got into Marvel as much was because everything aligned to the ongoing, multi-decade soap opera). But I think that narrative variety can be better achieved via out of continuity stories that stand alone and do not cross over with any other universes. Whether they’re officially labeled as Elseworlds or What Ifs or not, I think stories like DC: The New Frontier, Ronin, Watchmen, Kingdom Come, and The Dark Knight Returns should be encouraged (for me, these are the best stories that DC has ever published, so more please), just so long as they don’t cross over. The crossover with other universes is where the creative laziness always manifests itself.

    To further amend my previous comments, it is possible to do multiverse stories. Back to the Future Part II, His Dark Materials, and Black Science are all terrific multiverse stories. But they have a level of intellectual rigor and narrative risk taking that no multiverse story from DC or Marvel has ever come close to. Multiverse “narrative risk” for the big two is usually something banal like Doomsday Clock or the tedious annual JSA-JLA team-ups. Yawn.

  • Thom H. says:

    There’s a rule in software design that users should be allowed to do something either zero times, one time, or infinite times. (I know that’s not exactly

  • Thom H. says:

    And that’s what I get for cleaning off my screen in the middle of a comment. Anyway…

    There’s a rule in software design that users should be allowed to do something either zero times, one time, or infinite times. (I know that’s not exactly how the rule is worded, but you get the idea.)

    I think the same should be true of universes in the multiverse. Tying the multiverse to arbitrary numbers like “52” or whatever places unnecessary restrictions on storytelling.

    Infinite universes, on the other hand, allow for infinite possibilities. Every new version of our established characters can exist without suddenly being forced to number and catalogue the world where the Justice League members are all different types of cruciferous vegetable (for example). Writers and readers are inevitably going to ask why Cruciferous League can’t exist on Earth-53, after all.

    But if there aren’t going to be infinite universes, then there should be one as Wolfman and Perez intended with CoIE. That’s also restrictive, of course, but anything that’s non-Earth-1 can be labeled Elseworlds and just exist outside normal continuity.

    Either way, writers can develop new ideas without having to restructure the entire DC universe.

    In-between solutions are just inherently unstable, which is probably one of the reasons DC keeps re-Crisis-ing so often.

  • Chris V says:

    Infinite Crisis #6 promising something for 2022 and DC actually paying it off is simply amazing planning on the part of any publishing company.

    I am pretty sure you meant Infinite Frontier #6, but I am going to pretend you really were referring to Infinite Crisis #6.
    Now I am going to pull out my Infinite Crisis TPB and look in to where it was foretold that a character would be brought back during 2022.

  • Chris V says:

    Was Grant Morrison brought back to life in one of these DC crossovers?
    Because John Ostrander killed Grant Morrison.
    (Yes, I’m going to leave that statement in those terms.)

  • Mikester says:

    Chris V – I knew juggling all these titles was gonna mess me up. Fixed now.

  • Robcat says:

    First Justice League comic I ever read was part 2 of an Earth-1/Earth-2 crossover. I understood it perfectly and knew for a fact that (pre-crisis) Earth-2 Justice Society was the coolest thing ever! Dr. Fate, Power Girl, Huntress, Wildcat, magic Green Lantern, dead Batman, old Superman, biker shorts Wonder Woman, grown up Robin… coolest thing ever. I will die on that hill.

  • JohnJ says:

    Ambush Bug coming back almost makes up for DC’s corruption of Wild Dog.
    Now all they have to do is find the right people to bring back ‘Mazing Man.

  • Snark Shark says:

    ” introduce the new Justice League”

    I read that for a long time!

    “New Guardians”

    They just sucked.

    “The return of Ambush Bug”

    I LOVE AMBUSH BUG!!! And I’m already reading the current Squad title.
    Him NOT being written by Giffen is kind of iffy, though.