I realized today that I’ve been reviewing this book from the perspective of an adult fan of Scooby-Doo and for a moment I wondered if that was the wrong way to go about it. I don’t think that is the case, however. I’m a strong believer in the idea that if an adult can enjoy something “made for kids” then the kids will like it more. To me the only reason a child likes something an adult doesn’t is because they haven’t lived long enough to experience better quality entertainment. They just have no context to scale against. That’s why some films or tv shows retain adult audiences and others don’t. Just because Scooby-Doo isn’t a “mature” franchise doesn’t mean it can’t offer something to an adult.
With that in mind, I’m going to continue writing these reviews without much thought to their intended audience. We know every issue is going to be suitable for children. They have the 8+ logo on the cover. So, if I enjoy reading it and find something of value through my own adult lens then I think most children would as well.
Maybe this thought was brought on by the fact that I really enjoyed this issue. I liked the last issue, of course, but this one struck me differently. I became invested in the story and had a lot of fun just absorbing it.
The plot this time centers around the Owl Court Hotel which has been closed for a hundred years thanks to a supposed haunting by the Court of Owl’s undead assassin, (who is decidedly neither undead nor an assassin in this interpretation) the Talon. The gang is there because the owner’s niece is using it for her birthday party.
It really helps that Erich Owen brings some of his personal flair to the art. The characters are much less ridged than previous issues and very expressive. In the past, it sometimes feels like the gang are cut-out stills from one of the tv shows whereas here they have a life of their, own taking on unique expressions and poses. Owen colors the comic as well and while it gets the job done, I do feel it could have been more dynamic. There are no shadows on the figures which leaves them very flat. However, there is a great usage of color in one funny sequence where we see prospective buyers of the hotel running from the Talon in different time periods.
As you can see the colors do a great job helping sell the iconic representations of these time periods. Very fun!
Not only does the art break a bit outside the mold of a standard cartoon adaption, the writing does as well. I found that the characters seemed much more familiar in their interaction. There was less reliance on the tropes of the franchise and more of a desire to make characters feel like real people. One instance that I found fun is when the presence of the Talon is first revealed and Fred yells “Yes! Awesome!” in excitement. If Matthew Cody had gone the more typical route, Fred would probably have had no real reaction whatsoever. I imagine the Talon reveals himself, Scooby and Shaggy scream, and then everyone runs. At best, Fred might yell “Run.” It’s a small thing but it is prevalent throughout the comic and it gives everyone more personality and really helped me become more engaged.
I do have a couple complaints though. Some of the exposition at the very beginning is a little clunky with characters asking questions that seem… odd.
I have no idea why Fred would ask this. Daphne’s response is also fairly unnecessary when the following panel drives the point how in a far more effective way (show don’t tell, ya know.)
Besides that, “You have been judged by the Court of Owls and found guilty!” just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “The Court of Owls has sentenced you to die!” but obviously the Talon can’t be quite so murderous in a Scooby-Doo crossover.
Last complaint: Fred never says zoinks. That’s Shaggy’s catchphrase and I draw the line there. 0/10.
Kidding… I think.
- You want more personality in your Scooby-Doo/Batman crossovers
- The Court of Owls is cool
- You want to add this simply glorious cover to your collection
This is a great comic. I haven’t been buying the last few issues but I’m going to pick up a copy of this one. So far, each issue has been better than the last. Do I smell a 10/10 coming up? Hopefully!
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this issue for the purposes of this review.