|SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP No. 2, March 2014|
Created by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff, and debuting in July 1955, the canine crime-fighting partner of the Dark Knight, Ace the Bat-Hound, has proved something of an anathema to the vast majority of serious comic book collectors. Whether it be due to the German Shepherd’s rather absurd-looking cape and cowl or his bat emblem dog collar, the animal has suffered a rather inconsistent spotty relationship with aficionados of the Batman canon. Perhaps artist Alex Ross best sums up the dividing opinion over the character with his belief that ‘as a child, the idea of Batman having a dog is cool but as an adult the same idea is outrageous.’
Fortunately Sholly Fisch suffers no such qualms about incorporating Ace into the Hanna Barbera-based universe of Scooby Doo, bringing the “skilled detective” together with Norville Rogers’ friendly hound for their “first-ever team-up” following a meeting of the ‘Mystery Analysts of Gotham City’. “Translated from the barking” the subsequent jolly storyline, though straight forward, admirably relies upon the keen senses specific to the four-legged animals to progress the plot, rather than simply using the characters’ pairing as a cheap gimmick. For the Scarecrow is in town robbing jewellers, and whilst Fred, Daphne, Shaggy, Velma and the Dynamic Duo are ‘trapped’ fighting fear-gas generated monstrosities, the two dogs, immune to the fumes as they’re “not people”, must save the day.
However the “DC Comics” children’s title writer also manages to include plenty of in-jokes for those who “grew up with the Mystery Incorporated gang and want to enjoy something of a nostalgic trip down memory lane." Be that Fred and Batman discussing the differences between using “many cutting-edge forensic techniques” and simply ‘just pulling off their masks', or Shaggy chastising Jonathan Crane for using his line “Let me out of here!” There are some genuine ‘laugh out loud’ moments within this comic’s twenty pages.
Having said that much of the success of “Who’s Scared?”, which proved it was not just “for young readers” with a sales figure of 8,984 copies in January 2014, is undoubtedly down to artist Dario Brizuela. For in addition to superbly capturing the look and feel of the Seventies animated cartoon franchise, the Argentinian’s pencilling also manages to pay homage to some of the great iconic Batman images of all time. With nods to the definitive cover of Frank Miller’s 1986 four-issue mini-series “The Dark Knight Returns” as well as to the distinctive art-style of Warner Brothers’ 1992 “Batman: The Animated Series” all being readily recognisable despite something of a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ “dynamic Scooby-duo” makeover.
|Writer: Sholly Fisch, Artist: Dario Brizuela, and Colorist: Heroic Age|