Who says we can’t have nice things? Batman, Robin, Daphne, Fred, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo are back for a second series of team-ups. Every month for the next year we can expect expertly crafted mysteries centred on two of the greatest franchises in popular fiction.
And the first riddle to be tackled begins – where else? – in a ghost town, where Mystery Inc and the Caped Crusaders meet a glowing ghoul.
Happily, there’s a friendly face on hand to spank the spectre.
And Man-of-Bats isn’t the only local hero around this time because the villain of the issue operates on a global scale. Our heroes split into teams, following up leads in Argentina and England.
While there’s a creepy creature on the loose on the pampas…
… the villains at Stonehenge sound truly horrific.
Writer Sholly Fisch is on his usual brilliant form, crafting a breezy yarn that balances action and humour perfectly. And clues, honest-to-goodness, fair-play clues whose logic leads our leads to that big villain.
And who’s that? I’m saying nowt! Suffice to say it’s a baddie formidable enough to face off against mistress of the martial arts Daphne! Mind, you’ve likely guessed who that is from the pieces of plot mentioned here. Still, I shan’t spoil.
Have a hero shot instead.
Dario Brizuela is back on the visuals and all is well with the world in which Hanna-Barbara meets DC Comics. And doesn’t he do a great job with the Batmen of All Nations, a colourful coterie of characters who date back to the Fifties and made their latest comeback this week as the new Batman Inc series debuted? But forget the updated crew, it’s this bunch I want to spend time with, old-fashioned fellas always raring to run or ride into battle, fists – and suitably anachronistic local weapons – flying. Brizuela’s clean, dynamic art is perfect for the Batman Batallion’s swashbuckling brand of heroism.
Heck, his artistic eye lands happily on anything he’s asked to draw – Brizuela’s Mystery Inc mob are perfectly on brand without being lifeless Colorforms – every frame is a delight. And his Dynamic Duo have a Batman ‘66 vibe even though Robin is in one of the updated outfits.
The colours of Franco Riesco are excellent – I found it tough to take my eyes off the skies of Turkey, gorgeous graduated tints.
And Saida Temofonte’s beautifully crisp lettering is another asset, serving the quiet and dramatic moments equally well. Applause, too, to editor Kristy Quinn for pulling everything together.
I haven’t a bad word to say for this comic, it’s a joy from Brizuela and Riesco’s eye-popping cover to a final frame gag winking at the regular DCU. Treat yourself.