Batman and Scooby-Doo are back together again and this month they’re taking on Poison Ivy! My experience with the last issue was somewhat less positive than I would have hoped so I was curious to see how I would feel about this one. Let’s get into it!
I’m happy to say I had a better experience this time around. There are still some elements of the comic that aren’t quite working for me but the net balance is positive.
The creative team is the same as last month but they seem to have chosen a slightly less ambitious plot and this works to their benefit. Last issue, there were simply too many characters and too much movement in the plot, which resulted in a story that couldn’t balance itself. Here, we forgo the addition of a large group like Batman Inc which made Mystery Inc feel redundant. Batgirl is featured this month but her appearance is actually leveraged to give Daphne a spotlight when she takes over the role from Barbara. As has been established across the last decade or two (in film and television) Daphne has a high level of martial arts proficiently in this comic, which fits perfectly with her taking the role of Batgirl. Seeing Daphne learn the ropes with Babs in her earpiece was a lot of fun as well. (Side note: There are three orange-haired women in this comic and it’s a testament to Brizuela’s abilities that even in this simple style their faces remain distinct.)
Speaking of the Brizuela, I still wish his work wasn’t quite so stylistically generic but simultaneously, I found the art in this issue far more exciting than the last. Besides the brilliant cover, I found the interior pages very dynamic. On this page, for instance, I really appreciate the simple move of skewing one panel border.
The clock tower’s interior feels larger (extending behind the other panels helps with this as well) and the panel below it now emphasizes the reveal of the Batgirl outfit. The skewed angle of the clock tower also helps sell Daphne’s reaction to seeing Barbara’s hideout for the first time. Sometimes the art doesn’t have to be super spicy when the layouts can the most of the work for you. There is also a significant amount of energy put into drawing backgrounds for almost every panel. I respect the dedication that shows.
The spice in this issue isn’t only found in the art either. Notably, there is an improvement on the humor front. Shaggy and Scooby attacked by a giant tomato? I’ll take it.
At this point, if I had to suggest the direction this comic should take to fulfill its potential, I’d say they should try splitting up the characters. One issue could feature just Robin and Shaggy. Another, Fred and Batman. It doesn’t matter the pairs, I’d just like to see more personal stories that have the time to dig a little farther into the characters. Pairing different versions of the characters would also be fun to see. I’d love to get an issue with the gang from tv’s Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated meeting the Dark Knight Returns Batman!
- You’re a fan of both these franchises
- Something lightweight and fun is what you need
- You want a one and done story
This is a pretty good comic. I always value a comic writer who can tell a complete story in 21 pages. It has become so rare in the last ten-plus years. This story not only has that but also remains respectful of both franchises and tells a fun, engaging story. I can and will continue to ask for more because I want the best from this series, but for most people, I don’t expect there will be anything but a good time to be had. Recommended!
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this issue for the purposes of this review.