We’re now up to the fourth issue of The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries and I have to say I feel a little bad about my review of issue one. It’s not that I don’t agree with what I said. I still stand by every word of it. I just hope I didn’t turn anyone off reading any further because subsequent issues have been much better and even addressed some of my issues. I suppose it lies squarely at DC’s feet for choosing to publish a first issue that was relatively sterile compared to what was to follow. Regardless, I am very happy with the stories we’ve been receiving recently. But is issue #4 an exception to that upward trend? Let’s see!
I did enjoy this issue but unfortunately it is easily the weakest so far. There is one major flaw that must be addressed immediately. Batman hardly appears in these pages. He feels like an afterthought. Sure, the villain turns out to be one of his rogues, and he makes a brief appearance at the beginning and end of the story but by and large, he didn’t matter and with a slight edit he could have been entirely removed.
The above image is the extent of his involvement though the body of the story. His role could be fulfilled by any random person who could also be treated as a suspect (something this issue has in short supply). I don’t find that this necessarily impacts my enjoyment of the comic but it is a relevant complaint given the title on the cover. In the future, I’d rather something like this was published in Scooby-Doo’s solo title.
Besides that, there are some other weaknesses that do affect my enjoyment a bit. When you think about what’s happening the plot falls apart fast. In the end, the mystery doesn’t make any sense. I don’t even know what’s the villain’s goal is. The clues are also flimsy and we aren’t offered any false leads.
Most of the value in this issue is in character interactions and humor. There are some really fun visual gags in here as well.
This one made me chuckle.
The script does go out of its way to give Velma an emotional arc relating to death and her perception of it. It’s not an award-winning drama or anything but it’s still something I didn’t expect to see and found some enjoyment in.
Unfortunately, the art is a step down from the last issue. The character designs have been entirely returned to the basic model and there are a lot of poses that I specifically recognize from cartoons or other comics. I don’t know for sure if they were traced but it’s a distinct possibility. The backgrounds are under-drawn or clumsy at times. Not usually bad enough to pull me out of the story but enough that I noticed. The weirdest thing of all is the misproportioned panels. There are a few instances of this.
I don’t know exactly why this happened but it’s extremely distracting and reflects poorly on the creators and editors.
On a more positive note, this series’ cover game is still stronger than ever. It’s almost worth buying just for that.
- Buy it for the cover
- You want to support fun crossover comics
- You don’t want a hole in your Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries collection
I’m not sure I recommend this issue. Especially after how much I enjoyed issue #3, this one feels rushed and lacking in polish. It’s not a bad read by any means but if you’re looking to save a little money this month, I think this should be on the chopping block. Hopefully, next month gets back to the higher standard that I was expecting.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.