Review by Ian Keogh
Every one of Sholly Fisch’s stories for Scooby-Doo Team-Up has been creative and funny, but anyone who’s been reading DC material for a long time can also marvel at the barely recalled characters he dredges up to partner with the Scooby gang. If you’d thought he couldn’t find anyone more obscure, think again, as the final story here is a trainspotter’s delight, down to the people Dario Brizuela has manning the phones during a telethon. Of course, the king of telethons was Jerry Lewis, and because DC no longer own the rights to publish comics about him* it’s Louie Jervis hosting, and over the first few pages we’re introduced to DC 1960s comedy characters Angel and the Ape, the Inferior Five, and Stanley, without monster. Technically they fit better with Scooby-Doo and his world than most previous comic guest stars, and while it necesitates a little too much expository dialogue explaining everyone this is still a comedy anyone can enjoy.
Brizuela is a wonderful cartoonist who earns his money the hard way with these stories. Not only is there the vast telethon cast, but as well as the Atom and Birds of Prey, he volunteered for the Legion of Super-Heroes team-up, with 11 of them fitted into 22 pages, along with enemies the Fatal Five and the Scooby Gang. And that’s not counting another ten seen briefly. As has been the case over the previous two collections, Brizuela handles DC guest stars and other artists are shipped in to take on the stories featuring personalities from the Hanna Barbera animation stable. Regular stand-in Scott Jeralds enjoys himself with Atom Ant, and Walter Carzon takes on Yogi Bear in a story that’s an absolute gem. The cartooning is first rate and Fisch captures Yogi’s voice and antics as well as he does the superheroes.
How clever are Fisch’s stories? Well, they’re that clever that you could strip out Scooby-Doo and co. from the Atom story, cut the jokes, and you’d have the basis of a workable Atom solo adventure, and that’s the case for so many of the stories where Scooby meets superheroes over this series. It comes from Fisch comprehensively understanding what makes those characters tick, so why has he never worked on DC’s standard titles? However, he can be fallible, and the team-up with Birds of Prey is ho-hum in comparison with the remaining content. That’s one story among six, and the remainder provide a chocolate box of delights.
* Is there still a market for a Jerry Lewis graphic novel? Obviously not in terms of his 1950s comic series, but has anyone considered what a character the grouch of later years would make?