Batman and Scooby-doo are back! Only this month there seems to be something wrong with their partnership. Has the Scooby gang gone bad? Let’s see!
This month’s story is centered around Batman attempting to stop a spree of robberies while being seemingly abandoned by Mystery Inc. The gang has been warned by Madam Xanadu that if they help Batman some tragedy will befall him. Eventually, they come to find Madam Xanadu is not quite who she says she is and their investigation collides with Batman’s.
I can’t help but find this series continued insistence that Mystery Inc is essential to Batman’s operation to be a bit far-fetched but if we allow that to be a given this ploy to separate them works well to create some drama. Equally, it gives both stars something important to do in the issue. In a few of the past months, it has felt like one of the two properties ended up being redundant because the other could take care of everything alone. Here we see two separate threads that are specific to Batman and Mystery Inc but still manage to come together into a satisfying ending that allows for some cooperation. Both teams (Batman receives help from both Gordon and Alfred, so I’m calling them a team) actually do some mystery solving as well; something that unfortunately has not been very prevalent in this series. The more detective work the better, I say.
I do want to address Madam Xanadu in greater detail.
I love how disappointed Riddler looks.
This issue also contains a healthy dose of humor as any Scooby-Doo story should and that is greatly helped by the return of Erich Owen on art. His last appearance was in issue 3 (which remains my favorite issue of this series so far) and his art this time around is even better. His work is easily the most emotive that the series has had but this issue also sees him implementing a nice variety of detailed backgrounds. It still bothers me that none of the characters have shadows on their bodies but that may be the result of Owen coloring the comic himself and lacking the time to add them. I wouldn’t call that a great excuse though. The figures are just too flat looking and those shadows need to be included. Outside of that one element that remains lacking, I was very happy with the art and Owen even takes a few moments to show off his ability to draw some more dynamic action content.
This shot of Batman is particularly strong and leads me to believe Owen has some potential for a greater range of art styles outside of this kind of light-hearted fun. It would be interesting to see him go farther and try out a grittier style.
- You want more focus on mystery from this title
- Madam Xanadu isn’t one of your favorite characters
- This might be the first issue of this series that truly executes the promise of the title
This was another solid issue! I wouldn’t say it’s the best the series has offered but it’s delivering everything you could want from the title. I admit, outside of issue 3 I haven’t felt the need to buy any of this series myself but it is great fun and if that’s what you’re looking for, I definitely think it’s worth a gander.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.