Simpsons Super Spectacular #16
Bongo Comics (2012?)
INKER: Andrew Pepoy
COVER ART: Jason Ho, Mike Rote, and Nathan Hamill
LETTERER: Karen Bates
EDITOR: Nathan Kane
“Bartmanga!” featuring Robartman!
WRITER: Ian Boothby
PENCILER: Nina Matsumoto
COLORIST: Nathan Hamill
THE SUPERIOR SQUAD:” Crisis of Discontinuous Continuities!”
WRITER: Chuck Dixon
PENCILER: Tone Rodrigues
COLORIST: Art Villanueva
The Original Review: Bartman stops Snake from robbing the comic store and comes across a manga where the hero, Robartman, resembles Bartman, but is closer to Astro Boy. What follows is a fun parody of manga tropes and characters, with the Simpsons characters standing in for the Japanese characters. I didn’t laugh but I was amused.
In the second story, the Superior Squad takes down General Motors (basically a mix between Voltron and a nasty car pile-up), and from there the story goes down fast. Bug Boy is killed, and Plasmo decides to bring in another one from another dimension. Then he continues to do so as every other member–Radioactive Man, Super Squid, Lure Lass, Weasel Woman, and Brave Heart–is also killed in “hilarious” (or stupid if you’re me) ways. Nothing about this story worked, and Dixon is capable of better.
Updated thoughts: Conceptually I do still like the “Robartman” tale but the reread doesn’t hold up as well. It may have been neat originally to see all the gags but reading it now that’s all I saw, just a bunch of random manga and anime references. They probably could do something cool with the idea but they didn’t. The Superior Squad story comes off even worse now that I know this is the final issue, and if Dixon knew that I guess he figured just wiping out the entire superhero universe was a good idea. I don’t know if Radioactive Man and friends still show up on The Simpsons but this could give Groening a chance to have the series rebooted in his new comic company since Bongo folded. Plasmo is the only one to escape…by chickening out and jumping into a parallel world to the old Archie comics, while counterparts of numerous continuities all die. This was not a good way to end the series.
Recommendation: Buy this comic for the Bartman/Robartman story, but only for the references and concept since the story itself is a bit weak. If you’re getting it for Radioactive Man and friends, you may want to skip this one entirely.