We may never learn what happened to “Ambush Bug: Year None” #6, we may never learn what caused the massive delay before this series finale, and we may never learn why Keith Giffen didn’t draw this issue by himself.
But I hope we do, because this final issue is a mess, and it seems likely that the real story behind the story is more interesting than what we find inside these pages.
Issue #7 addresses the delay and provides an in-story reason for “Whatever Happened to ‘Ambush Bug Year None’ #6?” It actually provides a two-part answer to that question. In part one, Art Baltazar and Franco (“Tiny Titans” maestros), disguised as humble, Eisner-award winning comic book broadcasters, stare at the reader until finally revealing, “We got nuthin’!” Then, in part two, a fedora-sporting P. I. tries to get to the bottom of the mystery, interviewing the Blackest Night Jonni DC, Dan DiDio, and everyone in between.
Baltazar and Franco draw the framing sequences (which amount to about 1/3rd of the comic), and the rest of the issue seems to be cut and pasted from unused panels from the missing issue #6.
Now it’s possible that issue #7 is a commentary on the DiDio-helmed DC Comics, and there never was an issue #6. Maybe this issue’s delay and fill-in art pages satirizes the release pattern of plenty of DC comic books in recent years. Maybe its fragmented, seemingly editorial-interfered story is the point.
But it makes for an unsatisfying conclusion, no matter the real intention here.
The main problem is that the Baltazar and Franco bits mean less page time for Ambush Bug, and less page time for Giffen’s art. Giffen and Ambush Bug are the draw here — the entire reason for the existence of this series is to see Giffen use Ambush Bug to playfully mock the DCU. With the character and creator absent from one-third of the pages, the story falls apart. And it’s not like Giffen Ambush Bug stories have that much internal logic to begin with. But when we get scattered panels of what seem to be repurposed “Final Crisis” parody pages and Dan DiDio drawn as if he’s in “Matrix Reloaded,” well, it’s not a comic book story anymore. It’s just a collection of panels that don’t add up to much of anything of value.
And worst of all, it’s not even funny.