Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries Vol. 1 | Review
The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries Vol. 1
Writers: Ivan Cohen and Sholly Fisch
Artists: Dario Brizuela, Randy Elliott and Scott Jeralds
DC Comics; $12.99
Despite how incompatible the worlds of the comic book superhero and the cartoon canine might seem, Batman and Scooby-Doo team-ups are now an almost 50-year tradition, going back to Batman and Robin’s guest-starring in two episodes of 1972’s The New Scooby-Doo Movies. The pairing reached its fullest blossoming in The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries, a new comic book series in which each issue is a team-up between the Dark Knight and the Scooby gang.
Unlike most modern comics, the series might actually read better serially than it does in its final collected form, as reading The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries Vol. 1, which collects the first six issues of the series, only reinforces the fact that it was created on an issue by issue and story by story basis, rather than conceived with some sort of overarching storyline, or even a continuity.
For example, Dick Grayson is Robin in the first issue, and then is replaced by the Tim Drake version in the second issue. Dick later appears as Nightwing, explaining how he outgrew the Robin role in one issue, and is back to being Robin in the very next issue.
Part of that inconsistency no doubt comes from the way the comic is made, with writers Ivan Cohen and Sholly Fisch alternating scripting duties with each issue, but it no doubt has as much to do with the fact that this is not that kind of comic, even if the trade paperback collection might make certain readers expect a more cohesive milieu. Each issue is its own discrete story, with nothing really tying it to the others.
Robin’s shifting roles aside, the comic book is otherwise consistent with the characters as they have been long established in previous comics and cartoons, with the stories generally focusing on mystery-solving, crime-fighting and detective work, the one real overlap between the two franchises.
The most interesting of the stories is probably the final one, which appeared in issue #6 of the series. A Fisch story illustrated by artist Scott Jeralds, it flashes back to the setting of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, the 1988 series about Scooby and the gang when they were a puppy and little kids. Fisch imagines a pre-Batman, teenaged Bruce Wayne taking the fake name of “Robin” to conceal his true identity and teaming up with the little kids, with Jeralds adopting a style that looks appropriate to an old-school kids adventure program for the young Bruce and various Gotham criminals who appear alongside the more cartoonish-looking Scooby gang, who are designed to exactly resemble the way they looked on Pup (which, incidentally, Jeralds used to work on).
Also of note is the first issue, a Cohen written one with art by Dario Brizuela, in which Batman seeks to solve the mystery of his missing purple gloves, and doing so involves sending Shaggy, Scooby and Velma back in time to the era of Batman’s first appearance and “Year One” adventures in order to look for clues, retroactively convincing the Dark Knight that maybe working with teenage assistants and even a dog in his crimefighting quest would be a pretty good idea, as we know he later adopts Robin, Batgirl and even Ace, The Bathound, as his allies.
Between those two adventures, Scooby and pals help Batman unmask The Joker’s plot to make The Batcave seem haunted, they foil Two-Face’s targeting of the Gotham City dog show, they save a parade from the Black Mask and The Terrible Trio, and then they team up with The Huntress and Talia al Ghul to rescue Ra’s al Ghul from Bane.
Fans of either franchise should be pleased with these latest results from the melding of the two, which basically Scooby-Doo-izes Batman and his various allies and enemies.
No matter the specifics of the conflicts they face, whether they are the sorts of supervillains Batman tangles with or the more ordinary crooks disguising themselves as monsters that Scooby and the gang usually face, the solution to the problem inevitably involves plenty of teamwork.
And there’s no team as unlikely—but likeable!— as Batman and Scooby-Doo.
Filed under: Reviews
About J. Caleb Mozzocco
J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.
SLJ Blog Network