|This needs a stretch.|
|Lean, Mean Mystery Machine|
|Release date||October 2003|
|Part of||Scooby-Doo! #75|
|Previous||Ghost to Ghost TV|
|Next||Wail of a Tale|
Velma and Fred finish the upgrades on the Mystery Machine as it is stolen by a team of thieves. But its all turned around as Fred uses the new features on the vehicle to stop the thieves.
- Ironically, it may be these same new features that allow the Mystery Machine to be remote-controlled by a villain in It's Mean, It's Green, It's the Mystery Machine.
Much stronger is Bobbi Busch's missing adventure in which she shows the gang updating the Mystery Machine. The brilliant plot inverts the Scooby formula, and you almost feel sorry for the criminals. Almost.
While Scotts Jeralds and McRae do a decent job for the first story, Joe Staton, even when staying on-model, simply gives us the best artistic treatment for Scoob and the Gang. There's a definite change in the visual characterization, which Mr. Staton accepts and embellishes. It's a little startling to see Velma in a jumpsuit--however briefly--and even more jarring seeing her covered in grease. The expansion of her role from pure ratiocinator to techno whiz in hindsight however seems natural especially when Mr. Staton assures with subtle nuances that this is still Velma.
Daphne's role has always grown through out the entirety of various incarnations of the Scooby-Doo cartoons. Her want to solve the mystery has always been genuine, and she was always more than Fred's girlfriend. Daphne in what seemed to be the end was the only original member of Mystery Inc. who still debunked spectral hauntings that were really just spiced up real estate frauds. Bobbi Busch follows suit by giving Daphne a pivotal role in the story.
Ms. Busch does not forget Fred. It's amusing that she positions him as "the man behind the curtain." Fred always has been the leader of Mystery Inc. Part of leadership is delegating responsibility, and it's very impressive that he trusts his team to do their best. There is no sexism in his delegations, and there never has been. One of the messages in Scooby-Doo and why so many spin-off incarnations have been lacking due to a shift from that message is that man or woman, no matter the age, you can also root out the truth. The comic book as well carries that message and makes it one of the most mature on the rack.