End of Summer
 
DCU
101
Tales Calculated
To Drive You Buggy

by Simon Brown

The insane brainchild of Keith Giffen, Ambush Bug was primarily an opponent of Superman. However, rather than challenge Truth, Justice and The American Way like Luthor did, the Bug appeared to challenge sanity. The battleground was originally the pages of DC's Superman team-up book, DC Comics Presents, and eventually led to the Bug's own mini-series', where he defeated Darkseid of all people. In the middle though, he managed to land himself a headlining role in Action…. Much to Superman's annoyance.

Action Comics 560, cover dated October 1984 had the title "Ambush Bug starring in Action Comics". Bug himself was doing the renovations on the sign, and Superman was standing beside him, looking singularly unamused. The story involved the just-released-from-the-nuthouse Bug starting his own detective agency, and the first person to walk through his door is Clark Kent. Clark is settled down to interview Ambush Bug, but the Bug seems to recognise Clark's profile. He then sets about removing Clark's outer layer of clothing to reveal Superman. Impressive that a character who had to date only had a handful of appearances could do in seconds what Lois, Jimmy and Perry couldn't do in 50 years.

At discovering Clark's secret, Ambush Bug laughs himself into a fit over the stupidity of the disguise. Superman turns tail and runs, but is constantly plagued by dreams (and news clippings) of the Bug. Bug meanwhile decides that he should do the super-hero thing and arrest a Buick parked illegally. Said Buick ends up at the police station.

The story finishes with Bug promising Clark Kent that he will commit suicide after his sixth appearance. Clark tries to convince him to change it to his first, but Bug refuses, and AB's first Action appearance wraps up.


Three months later (Action Comics #563), Bug was back in the lead story. The front page shows a still unbalanced Clark Kent reporting on Yasir Ambush Bug, a perplexed Jack Ryder slamming the Bug's antics, and Bethany Snow from Teen Titans appearing to appeal to Titans fans (she's also drawn either by Perez, or imitating Perez VERY closely)

Ambush Bug is working on the electronic bugs he uses for teleporting when a short-circuit kills all of his little bugs, and changes his costume to red, then black. To make himself presentable, he puts on a pantomime horse costume. Luckily, the fusing of the bugs has caused him to be able to teleport anywhere without them. To get back to normal, Horse/Bug seeks out Superman, who has just arrested a crook with a horse phobia. To help Superman undestend better, Bug relates his origin story, whereby on the distant planet Schwab a scientist Brum-El disregards a chain letter, and brings about his planets destruction. His last act however is to construct a rocketship, and save … his clothes. The rocket was bitten by a giant radioactive spider in deep space (I kid you not), and crash landed on earth, where young vidiot Irwin Schwab found a green suit, which he adopte, and became Ambush Bug.
By this time Superman has left, annoyed by the idiocy of the tale. That is, until he realises that it's HIS origin story. Kinda..


Back Issue Box

DC Comics Presents
Issues 52, 59 and 81

New Adventures of Supergirl
Issue 11 Action Comics
Issues 560, 563 and 565

Ambush Bug
Issues 1-4

Ambush Bug Stocking Stuffer

Son of Ambush Bug
Issues 1-6

Ambush Bug Nothing Special

Secret Origins
Issue #48

Action #565 finds a non-black Bug in search of guest stars to help promote his upcoming mini-series. First up is Superman, who agrees to appear if Bug promises not to ridicule him. Bug agrees, and says he'll make it a tribute : The time Superman turned into a caveman, the time he grew a big third eye in the back of his head, the time he fell in love with a statue, the time Supergirl fell in love with a horse….. Needless to say, Superman is not amused, and boots Bug out of the fortress.

Next is a gratuitous Kirby-style splash of The Inarticulate Bug, a rather good Hulk rip off.

The next gust star is Batman. Bug teleports into the Batcave and lands on the big penny, which rolls away and crashes somewhere off-panel. Batman never actuall talks to the Bug, prefering instead to leave him in the trash.

Another splash with the cover for Uh-Oh Squad #3½, leaves the squad in limbo until Bug's mini-series.

The final solicitation is Wonder Woman who clobbers AB after he calls her Sweet Cakes. Well, you would, wouldn't you!

With no guest stars for his upcoming mini-series, Ambush Bug is sitting dejected on a park bench, when his Guardian Angel in the shape of an old bum appears to remind him that team books sell.

The Titans said no.

If this all seems slightly disjointed, it's probably because it is. But Ambush Bug is one of the funniest things to come out of DC ever. While The Nothing Special that came out a few years ago wasn't very good, the rest of Bug's appearances have been excellent, especially the Stocking Stuffer.
Wanna laugh? Get Bug.

Nuff said.

Article © Simon Brown 1998
Layout and text © Fanzing 1998
 
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