Undoubtedly the most delightful hidden gem in the Big Two’s super-hero publishing schedules, DC’s Scooby-Doo Team-Up came to an end this month with a fittingly celebratory 50th anniversary issue. Over the last few years we’ve seen Scooby and the gang meet up with all sorts of DC regulars including the extended Batman Family, the Flash, Wonder Woman, the Justice League and the supernatural trio of Deadman, the Phantom Stranger and the Spectre.
It’s also a book that has brought together the Mystery Machine crew with other animated cartoon stars like the Flintstones, the Jetsons, Hong Kong Phooey, Space Ghost, Yogi Bear and Top Cat. It’s embraced that 1970s team-up comic vibe of placing its featured characters with the big names, the less well-known ones, and some totally out there choices (Angel and the Ape, the Inferior Five, Stanley and his Monster, Sugar and Spike, and the Maniaks spring to mind!). But that’s just part of its charm. Scooby-Doo Team-Up has been chock full of obscure continuity references, smile-inducing Easter Eggs and nostalgic blasts from the past.
This 50th birthday number teams Scooby, Shaggy, Freddie, Daphne and Velma with Batman and Robin when extra-dimensional imps Bat-Mite and Scooby-Mite start tampering with their reality. What ensues is a meta commentary on the very nature of the team-up tradition as the otherworldly duo’s antics bring up a host of familiar faces from the past in the form of a veritable legion of Batmen and more Scoobys than you can shake a Scooby snack at. Batmans from multiple eras and his many Elseworlds incarnations abound, and versions of Scooby Gangs from across the animated decades appear (with notable nods to both the movie versions and Scooby Apocalypse). But is there a greater threat at the heart of this multi-dimensional mystery?
Once again writer Sholly Fisch provides us with, ironically, the most DC Universe book that DC have published since 2011. Everything you have missed about the DCU since the pop cultural vandalism of the New 52 is here; that sense of established shared universe to play with, and an appreciation of its rich history that older fans will love. And importantly it’s all combined with a supernatural slapstick that will still appeal to a younger audience. Artist Scott Jeralds is well up to the challenging task of capturing the styles and essences of so many other iterations of the characters involved (ably assisted by colourist Sylvana Brys) while still providing the story with the animated rhythm that is a vital component of this joyous romp.
If you want to catch up with the series to date the last year’s ‘3 Reasons Why You Need to Read…‘ article on the book at BF will give you some added focus. Scooby-Doo Team-Up has been the DC book I have most looked forward to every month for the last few years. It’s going to be a much-missed fixture on the DC monthly schedules.
Sholly Fisch (W), Scott Jeralds (A), Sylvana Brys (C), Saida Temofonte (L) • DC Comics, $2.99
Review by Andy Oliver