I grew up watching much of Scooby Doo in reruns on syndicated and Saturday morning cartoons when I was a kid. So picking up and reading "Scooby Doo Team Up #1" was a personal treat for me. The story written by Sholly Fisch (Looney Tunes, Scooby Doo, Super Friends) and illustrated by Dario Brizuela (Green Lantern: The Animated Series) is a follow-up to the premier appearance of the Dynamic Duo in an episode of "The New Scooby Doo Movies;" which aired prominently in the 70's and 80's. Fisch wasted no time having the characters reference their first encounter together against the Joker and Penguin as the two groups met again. This time around, both the Caped Crusaders and Mystery Inc. were on the trail of the elusive Man-Bat.
The story, I believe, was accessible to readers of every age. It tended to cater to children in the primary and middle grades. The pages were colorful and attractive. Brizuela's cover was an attention-getter. Who can deny that seeing Scooby Doo in the foreground with Batman and Robin isn't draw? Fisch also did a pretty good job writing dialogue for Scooby Doo and the crew that stayed within character for the TV icons. She definitely pulled out all the stops for one book. She gagged Velma's "jinkies;" Shaggy's cowardice and munchie-prone hunger; Robin's "holy fill-in-the-blank;" and the infamous line, "and we woulda gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for those meddling [kids]." She even sneaked in a convenient "Brave and Bold" reference, which was another DC Animated book she worked on. It made sense given that both the comic and "Batman: The Brave and the Bold" featured team-ups between Batman and other heroes from the DC Universe. Scooby Doo and Batman was made nothing less than a duo made in syndication heaven.
"Scooby Doo Team Up #1" followed the same formula of any typical Scooby Doo story. One: there's a mystery to be solved. News of a bat-like creature was reported ravaging the town. Two: the gang goes on a wild-goose chase. Three, two-bit crooks dressed in bat costumes were taking advantage of the town's fear factor. Three: the culprits are caught, but wait a minute. After the robbers were apprehended and revealed, the real Man-Bat appeared. Four: somehow Scooby and Shaggy get thrust into further mayhem. Believing Man-Bat to be a fourth robber, Shaggy grabbed hold of the monster's ears, then held on tight for the surprising ride. Five: Scooby comes to the rescue. He did so, of course, with an assist from Batman who had prepared an antidote for the scientist behind the fur and fangs. We didn't get to see the gang set a trap for the villain this time, but it too is one of the tropes of a good Scooby Doo story.
I really did not have any complaints about this book. As an adult reading a book literally meant for children, it was of course an easy read. It would have been great to challenge young readers a little more. Also, I personally would have liked to see a double-sized first issue featuring two adventures with Batman and Robin. This, however, would have made it more expensive and less of a selling point with families, especially those on a budget.
I liked this book. Parents looking to avoid the more mature themes in comic books (or the gross out factor in others) should pick up this one when helping their children select. Some local comic shops do a good job of keeping an All Ages section in the store that is kid-friendly and for everyone. "Scooby Doo Team Up #1" is just that.
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