“Scooby-Doo or Scooby-Don’t?”
Writer: Sholly Fisch
Artist: Erich Owen
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Review by Lauren Fiske
The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries #2.8 brings a lot to the table! There’s a bat spirit on the loose and the Dark Knight’s working with a new group of teenage sleuths, rather than our favorite meddling kids. There’s more than meets the eye, however, with both the Bat and new rivals to Mystery Inc.
This is one of the longer issues of the series, as is usual with Sholly Fisch, so we’ve got a lot to cover without spoilers. Still, light spoilers are ahead!
If you need to catch up on The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries in general, check out our previous reviews.
The worlds of comics are usually depicted as parallel or different universes from our own (yay, multiverse theories!) As such, Batman and the Mystery Gang exist in a different universe (as does an alternate Babe Ruth renamed Rube Bluth). The multiverse could exist within the canon of these stories, but that doesn’t explain how there’s an altered version of Mystery Inc. running around with Batman.
Each member of the Mystery Gang has their own counterpart. Fred becomes Duke, a seemingly British version of Fred, but one who walks around in a dressing gown. Duke also rocks Fred’s orange ascot. Daphne’s doppelganger is Sensei, a blonde karate master with no regard for fashion (she’s not up to Daphne’s standards). Velma’s not quite clone has a terrible name, Specs. She wears different glasses, a reverse colored turtleneck and pleated skirt set, and has really curly buns for hair.
The one with the seemingly worst name is Shaggy’s duplicate, Bongo. I’m not sure if this is meant to be a reference to actual bongos or long held theories that Shaggy is a stoner. Either way, Bongo looks like an art student who inexplicably and perpetually wears sunglasses. Ranger replaces Scooby-Doo in this group. He looks like a Doberman and, unlike Scoob, doesn’t talk.
There’s some creativity in the off brand versions of the Mystery Gang, but they honestly remind me of the different versions of the kids in Velma, the HBO Max cartoon. There’s nothing wrong with some inspiration being taken from other source material, but Ranger and the Wraith Wranglers (yes, that’s really their very long name) seem a bit contrived.
Throughout The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries, I’ve had different opinions on certain issues. I have noticed some trends in my reviews though. Most of my lowest rated issues have involved either Sholly Fisch or Erich Owen (sometimes both).
Out of the four writers for The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries, Sholly Fisch has my second lowest average issue rating (lowest is Matthew Cody, who has only written one issue) as well as the lowest rating I’ve given to any issue of the series. Erich Owen doesn’t hold up much better. This is the third issue he’s worked on, and every time he’s been both the artist and color artist. I haven’t really enjoyed the art style of these issues and that’s also negatively impacted my reviews, including the Matt Cody issue’s review as well as one of my lowest rated Ivan Cohen issues.
Fisch and Owen are talented for sure, but I just feel like their styles are better suited to other comics and comic genres.
The Batman & Scooby-Doo Mysteries #2.8 is fine. Conceptually, it’s a fun story with light twists and a surprise appearance by a secret “villain”. As expected in Sholly Fisch issues, the plot’s a little complicated but not quite as confusing as in other instalments. There’s a lot left to be desired with this issue’s art style, but that’s just down to personal taste, and I’ve elaborated on that more than enough. Nothing is really wrong with this issue, it’s just not up to the high quality we can sometimes expect from the series.
What did you think of this issue? Do you want to see more of the Wraith Wranglers or even some of the other teen mystery solvers that Fred mentioned? Leave a comment below.
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment