"Who's Who in Scooby-Doo"
Writer: John Rozum
Artists: Joe Staton(p), Horacio Ottolini(i), Paul Becton(c)
John Rozum returns to Scooby-Doo with a clever mystery that alludes the previous antagonists who attempted to fence with Mystery Inc. Mr. Rozum treats the Gang extremely intelligent. They quickly come to the correct conclusion on the second page, and the little Secret Files splices describing the various goons the Gang has tumbled do not disturb the pacing. Some in fact are red herrings.
Mr. Rozum uses all the conventions of the Scooby-Doo mysteries to excellent effect. The van "breaks down" at an appropriate time, but the way in which Rozum disables the Mystery Machine moves the story forward and exhibits originality. Doors promising escape lead only to the place in which the escapees started. Velma loses her glasses and sets up a comedic highlight.
While the comic book's intended audience are kids, Rozum does not talk down to his readers. The comedy he creates through Shag's and Scoob's attempts to duck the call of ghostbreaking and danger prone Daphne's immediate exit will bring smiles to the readers' faces and may even instill aloud laughter.
The plot to this full-length Scooby-Doo mystery as usual keeps grounded to the real world. Scooby a talking dog with a speech impediment is the only fantasy element involved, and all of the story receives a crafty fairplay explanation.
Joe Staton also returns to Scooby-Doo. His pencils give the gang superb depth and dimension that often exceeds that in the cartoon. They look like real figures not flat cel designs superimposed on backgrounds. Mr. Staton has quite a bit of fun with Mr. Rozum's script. He enjoys embellishing a variety of attributes to the supporting cast such as a punky hair-do for the female officer and a caricature of Frank Drew for the face of the commanding officer. Inker Horacio Ottolini gives the book strong texture evident for instance on the carapace of a returning Scooby villain while outlining precisely yet still letting Staton's talent to issue from the pages. Paul Becton with a wide array of shades also uses color to better express different casts of light and heightens the mood as well as the realism. If not for some horrible inside jokes I'd say that this was a perfect issue of Scooby-Doo, yet even with those groaners it is far superior than practically any book not associated with a cartoon on the racks.
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