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Review: ‘Scooby-Doo Team-Up’ Vol. 3

Scooby-Doo Team-Up vol 3 cropped

Scooby-Doo Team-Up, vol. 3
Writer: Sholly Fisch
Artist: Dario Brizuela
DC Comics; $12.99
Rated E for Everyone

Scooby-Doo Team-Up vol 3The third collection of Sholly Fisch and Dario Brizuela’s ongoing comic book series only includes up to issue #18, but as relatively young as the series is, it’s beginning to seem like they’re actually in danger of running out of DC Comics super-characters to have cross paths with Scooby-Doo. That’s quite a feat, given the hundreds and hundreds of characters in DC’s 75+-year-old history.

Of the six issues in this volume, there’s generally only a couple on each cover, and these tend to be ones of some degree of fame and prestige in their superhero circles: The Flash, Aquaman, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, The Marvel Family, and so on. But writer Sholly Fisch has increasingly shown a tendency in these superhero/Scooby-Doo team-ups to pack in as many characters, allusions, and Easter eggs as possible, until every issue is bursting with obscure DC lore.

So, for example, the issues featuring The Flash and the Hawks are also filled with their villains. The Aquaman issue features his expansive family of characters, including sidekicks, villains and underwater animal allies. The Marvel Family issue features not only Captain Marvel and his partners Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr., but also Uncle Marvel, Mr. Tawky Tawny, the wizard Shazam and almost a dozen classic Marvel Family villains.

Where Fisch really cuts loose, though, is in a pair of issues with groups of fairly minor heroes on their covers, the issues that bookend the others.

In the first, DC’s supernatural heroes The Spectre, Deadman, and The Phantom Stranger enlist the help of Scooby and the gang on Halloween night, a case that involves finding and rescuing various ghostly characters who have all disappeared and, it turns out, are being held prisoner. Fisch works in just about every DC character who is also a ghost in this issue, regardless of how popular, how old, or how obscure those characters may be.

If that issue set a record for the most DC characters crammed into a single issue of Scooby-Doo Team-Up, Fisch shatters that record with the final issue in this collection, in which Scooby is recruited by DC’s various canine superheroes—Krypto the Superdog, Ace the Bathound, Wonder Dog, and Green Lantern G’Nort–to travel deep into space for an adventure involving the Space Canine Control Agents and pretty much every dog superhero that DC owns the rights to publish, even ones who have only appeared like twice before in the entire history of comics.

From the perspective of an adult DC Comics fan, these comics are continually surprising for how wide a net the creators cast and how deep their deep cuts can be. For a young reader, they offer a pretty perfect guide to the vast, wild, and occasionally crazy world of DC Comics, with Scooby, Shaggy, and the gang serving as perfectly perfect tour guides.

It certainly helps that Fisch always boils the characters down to their most essential cores, ignoring the various deviations and innovations such long-lived superhero characters often experience in order to find their most recognizable and relatable versions, and that Brizuela has an almost uncanny ability to blend character designs that date from a late 1960s Hanna-Barbera cartoon with various heroes designed in the Golden, Silver, and Modern Ages of Comics in such a way that they all seem to belong on the same page together.

It seems weird to say, given that this is an all-ages comic published outside of DC’s ongoing continuity, but if some bizarre reason one had to read only one DC Comic, Scooby-Doo Team-Up may be the best one to choose, as it’s the one DC comic that seems to cover the most DC characters, and in the most thorough fashion, while staying to true to their original conceptions. Plus it has a talking dog who solves mysteries in it.

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J. Caleb Mozzocco About J. Caleb Mozzocco

J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.

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