Scribblenauts Unmasked: A Crisis of Imagination #8: “The Game of Everything/The Magical Multiverse Tour”
Written by Josh Elder
Illustrated by Adam Archer
Colors by Ian Herring
Letters by Saida Temofonte
I don’t even know how to start this review off, so I’ll just dive right in.
Previously, we saw Maxwell and Lily as the sole survivors of the Anti-Monitor’s scourge, spirited away to Limbo by Madame Xanadu. With the Justice League incapacitated as shadow monster… things, our protagonists need to build an army to save the heroes and take down the Anti-Monitor.
To be frank, not an awful lot happens this issue. While I usually fault books for that, weirdly enough, that actually made this issue more fun to read than others in the run. It’s by no means perfect, with the same problems and annoyances that were present before, but the lack of focus allowed for some great visuals and really interesting storytelling mechanics.
By far the best part of the issue is when Madame Xanadu explains the history of the Anti-Monitor to Maxwell and Lily. Laid out like a board game, there are nods to Pre-New-52 DC events woven throughout Xanadu’s monologue. It’s a great visual, and a perfect example of one of this book’s strengths. It’s utilized even better here, though, because while Easter eggs and cameos in previous issues were nice little gags, it serves the story well and actually moves the plot along. I really commend Elder and Archer for it, as it’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a DC book this month.
That said, the scripting still isn’t phenomenal. Some of the jokes are forced, some are cliches, and some are just annoying, and the plot is paper thin. Also, Maxwell and Lily are still incredibly aggravating as protagonists, but they have some nice interaction with their dopplegangers.
I said earlier that the fact that little happens is actually to the book’s benefit and I stand by it, but I had to go back and skim through some earlier issues to figure out who was who and what was being set up. I hardly blame Elder, though. It’s a tie-in book with what are no doubt very strict plot guidelines and he’s just writing what’s needed.
There are a few moments when it seems like Elder and Archer were given more creative breathing room, and they pull things off really well: the aforementioned board game conceit is the biggest and best example, but there’s a section in the second half involving a “movie within the comic” scene that is out and out absurd and a pure joy to read. If nothing else, those moments make me want to check out Elder’s work on The Batman Strikes!, the tie-in comic to the underrated The Batman cartoon.
Overall: A better, easier read than last month with a few strokes of genius, but it still won’t win anybody over if you aren’t already in love with the book. It is the penultimate chapter, but it still doesn’t feel like anything big is happening.
- You want a simple, quick read.
- You’ve played and love the Scribblenauts games.
- Weird narrative and illustrative devices intrigue you.