Scribblenauts Unmasked: A Crisis of Imagination #9 review

Scribblenauts Unmasked: A Crisis of Imagination #9: “The Ultimate Battle of Ultimate Finality”/”The End… And The Beginning”
Written by Josh Elder
Illustrated by Adam Archer
Colors by Ian Herring
Letters by Saida Temofonte

Question: do you find this scene funny?

Of course you do. Airplane! is a comedy classic and Leslie Nielsen’s deadpan delivery was genius. Better question: do you still think it’s funny when people quote that line, completely stripped of context?

Your appreciation for the humor in this comic is largely contingent upon that answer. As before, it’s corny, cliche, and almost lazy at times.

But it’s also over, so there’s that. This is, indeed, the final Scribblenauts chapter, and it ends on a note of finality, which I’m thankful for on two levels: the obvious, that it doesn’t leave any threads open for an obvious follow-up, but that’s also refreshing considering even the best events and crossovers seem to just lead into the Next Big Thing anymore. It may not have been good, but at least it told a complete story.

Maxwell, Lily, and their dopplegangers have teamed up to fight the Anti-Monitor and prevent the destruction of all time, space, and multiverses therein. I’ll hazard a guess that saying they succeed isn’t really a spoiler, but there were a few issues I had along the way that that I’ll discuss in tags:

Really, I had one big issue, but it takes some setting up. As I’ve said before, I’ve never played these games so I don’t know how the mechanics fully work, though I’ve been able to piece it together as the story’s gone on. To restore the universe after the Anti-Monitor destroys it, Maxwell gets enough Starites to simply scribble “everything” and have it all reappear.

That’s a deus ex machina if I’ve ever heard one, but that’s not my issue. The problem I had was the inconsistency of it: everything is brought back, and everyone as well. That includes the Phantom Stranger and… that velociraptor whose name I can’t remember. They were wiped from existence, but now they’re back. Again, this in itself wouldn’t have bugged me, as I’m sure Maxwell would have intended to bring them back… but the restored Metropolis was still damaged from the battle. Why did he restore everything and even bring characters back into existence but leave a major city in shambles? It was probably to show the healing process from the damage of the Anti-Monitor, but if he can recreate entire universes I’d think restoring a city to its former glory wouldn’t be a big deal.

Plot holes aside, even if I’m not a fan of the writing Josh Elder has been doing here, I commend him for containing this miniseries to itself. As a side note, if anyone knows of any other work Elder has done that you’d recommend let me know in the comments. I’m more than willing to give this guy a chance and see what he can do.

The art, as in months past, is still the same old same old: nothing amazing, but serviceable. Nothing here gets close to meeting the creativity of the board game storytelling device from last month, but there was still some fun to be had.

First off, I genuinely like that cover. It has a nice, soft, water-color quality to it that’s pleasing to look at.

Inside the book, there’s the usual Easter eggs and gags that have at least given me a nice chuckle. Some of the cameos were outright obscure (for those playing Zoo Crew Cameo Bingo, you can pencil in Fastback right next to Captain Carrot) and some expected but welcome inclusions (some pretty obscure members of the Green Lantern Corp, but no sign of Rot Lop Fan? For shame). The old Composite Superman look was even worked in pretty cleverly, and I’ll never not love the weirdness of that design.

It’s no secret that this was not my favorite thing to read for many reasons, but it was harmless. There are much better written books for all-ages out there, and the tie-in quality limits any sort of creativity; this is here to make people want to play the games, pure and simple. I’ve read worse cross-media works before, and I almost gave this a score of six simply because I applaud them for ending it on its own terms… but then they said “totes” again and I knocked it down a digit.

Recommended if:

  • You’ve played these games
  • You’ve read it this far.
  • Easter eggs and cameos appeal to you.

Overall: A definitive ending to what amounts to nothing more than a cash-in retread of Crisis on Infinite Earths. At least it was shorter? I guess?

Score: 5/10