"In the Beatnik of Time"
"Velma's Crime Solving"
Writer: Robbie Busch;John Rozum
Artists: Joe Staton(p), Scott McRae(i), Heroic Age(c)
Now this is more like it. After DC introduced Johnny DC, I was beginning to have doubts about the intelligence associated with my favorite books. All Ages does not translate to stupid, and this issue of Scooby-Doo is far more intellectual than the previous issue.
Robbie Busch snaps up a superb mystery that's possible to solve. The mystery defies the Scooby-Doo formula: man dresses as spook for the purpose of a real estate swindle. Suspects are given. The detective work is solid, and the solution satisfies.
While Busch's story marches to the beat of a different drummer, he captures perfectly the flavor of a Scooby-Doo mystery. For instance, Scooby locates a clue, and Velma points out what that clue is. Mystery Inc. follows up on the clue, and a chase ensues.
The setting provides a fresh venue for the Gang to ply their sleuthing, and it also offers Joe Staton a chance for more animated flourishes. Joe Staton really does not get enough credit as an artist. Before working on Scooby-Doo he was a frequent visitor to the DC multiverse and co-created the Huntress. Here, he shows that none of that talent has eroded. There's a moment for instance when he explodes the vision of Shaggy's head as the hipster ducks behind a fish-tank. Everybody looks cartoon perfect, and in the second tale, Staton plays with the panels to invigorate what could have been a dry lesson.
That second tale benefits from Rozum's experience. The former writer of The X-Files comic book, Rozum is accustomed to presenting oodles of information from cerebral adventurers such as Fox Mulder, Dana Scully or in this case Velma Dinkley.
Through Rozum's painless, informative non-fiction Velma relates to kids and some adults not in the know but who have the exquisite taste to pick up Scooby-Doo the facts about fingerprinting. This is an area of knowledge in which I have studied for my own writing, and I also confirmed the facts with Anne Wingate's splendid reference tool Scene of the Crime. Rozum is accurate and entertaining. The punchline to a joke told in the middle is cute and characteristic.
Rounding off the two main Scooby-Doo stories, Sholly Fisch, Paul Pope and Dave Hunt concoct two puzzles which strike me as too easy even for kids but still offer some fun in a Picardian villain and a backwards homage to The Legend of Boggy Creek.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!