“The Secret of Slaughter Swamp”
Writer: J. Torres
Artist: Scott Jeralds
Color Artist: Carrie Strachan
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Review by Lauren Fiske
I’m so happy that this series is back! The first issue of this third season was excellent, with lots of promise. The Batman and Scooby-Doo Mysteries #3.2 has some quality moments, but, sadly, doesn’t quite live up to the same standard as the previous installment. Let’s discuss why.
There are some mild spoilers ahead, so read at your own discretion!
In the Middle
It’s rare for an issue to leave me with almost no opinion, but this issue is one of the most ‘meh’ that I’ve reviewed.
Mystery Inc. ends up in the legendary Slaughter Swamp… and this place is weird! There are some moments of intrigue and mystery (paranormal tourism? Very odd), but overall, the stakes are so low that the story ends up feeling dull. Is there some quicksand? Sure, but Batman saves the kids within the space of a few panels.
Solomon Grundy makes an appearance as a spooky zombie, but he barely makes an impression and seems not to be a threat, at least based on the misguided reactions of the tourists. That’s out of character. Even the mystery of who’s responsible for the haunting in the Swamp is alluded to from the very beginning.
The downside of this is that there’s no chance for the reader to do their own sleuthing as to who the culprit is. There’s only one possible choice, and Velma reveals who, almost right off the bat. Because of this, the story simply feels lackluster and predictable.
As for the art, I don’t love it. I usually enjoy Scott Jeralds’ output (some of my very high ratings relate to his work), but my lowest review of this series features his art. This issue seems to have some issues with anatomy, in terms of faces and limbs. Additionally, some figures appear to be stretched in odd ways and the designs of several characters don’t have consistency from page to page. Carrie Strachan’s coloring was also irregular, which contributed to my opinion of the art overall.
Things weren’t all bad, though! Several characters have some great one-liners, there are secret tunnels in the swamp itself, and Batman and Velma finally recognize how much they have in common. They even fist bump as Daphne and Fred jokingly suggest that Velma become the next Robin (could you imagine?)
Overall, I’ve missed this series, but The Batman and Scooby-Doo Mysteries #3.2 didn’t reach the standard I’ve come to expect. A simple story, basic art, and some light humor aren’t solid ground for this excellent series. The rest of the volume will likely vary in quality as well, but let’s hope that future issues will deliver an upswing in caliber.
How did you feel about this issue? Did it meet your expectations? What are you anticipating for the rest of this volume? Comment below!
Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment