DC Comics' Scooby-Doo! Team-Up has been around for more than three years now, and with everything they've done, I feel we're just about getting somewhere, but I also feel it could quite easily burn up just as easily.
The comic has broken new ground and properly established old ground, that in this comic the worlds of DC and Hanna-Barbera are not only relevant to the world of Scooby-Doo, but also co-exist together (at least when they feel it necessary to do so). It completely ignores the DTV, Scooby-Doo! Mask of the Blue Falcon, where Scooby's past adventures with Dynomutt, Blue Falcon, Speed Buggy, and so on, never happened, as they are all fictional characters. They could be real characters that have TV series based on them (The Adventures of Blue Falcon would make that seem unlikely), but who knows? (I can't imagine Dr. Quest allowing a TV show based on his own adventures).
The first time I realised that the potential downfall of Team-Up was in December of last year, when they did Happy Harley-daze!, another DC bonanza of how much they think Harley Quinn can get buyers because she's this "crazy nut" (and in some cases, if I'm being honest, this "sexy, crazy nut") that everybody loves. IT WAS TERRIBLE. I'm not exaggerating. It was complete trash. The gall of it though, was that they did put the traditional mystery spin off it in, but they had to add Harley in trying to investigate with her goofball and occasional violent ways. This did not mix well, she took over making the gang second class citizens in their own book. This is the downfall of the comic, when the guest stars have no right to take over when they can't do it well (even if it was done right (which it never is), this is still their comic book).
Incorporating the tone and style of Batman: The Animated Series did not mix well with the tone and style of Scooby-Doo, with how far they went compared to Gotham Ghouls, which was tipping the boat a bit, but I think it managed to get away with it (and all the other DC team-ups as well). Harley was pretty manageable in that story, probably because she had Poison Ivy to balance it out. But here, it was just her to an extreme emphasis (and not in the charming way anybody could pull off in the series, itself).
The comedic antics of the Joker from The New Scooby-Doo Movies were gone, instead being replaced by the psychotic antics of a Joker (do you hear Mark Hamill when read his lines?), who could probably kill the gang if he wanted to. Why even solve mysteries in Gotham when it's filled with Arkham Asylum's most wanted? They're just asking for trouble and not in a good way. They had Batman, Robin, and Batgirl drop in at the end, which in theory might sound a good idea, but wasn't enough to safe the comic from drowning in its own pitfalls. (It did help a bit, but not enough to justify DC and WB allowing this behemoth of a wreck, especially when you're reading from the split editions of the digital comic, which is a whole other problem in and of itself). They were kept in this pseudo-New Scooby-Doo Movies style, which again, didn't really mesh well when having Joker turned into his Animated Series self, which I get, because his previous self just would not have fit in this comic, but then not having everyone in the Animated Series just defeats the purpose of doing it at all.
Despite trying to put a traditional mystery in it (maybe to try and compensate for the ridiculousness of having this overly wacky DC crossover, and not in a good way), they didn't allow the traditional unmasking, allowing too big for own boots Harley to just tell them who the bad guy was. Unmasking the bad guy is the gang's thing and she just took it away from them and they didn't put up any kind of fuss that she did this.
Another problem with the comic that doesn't make it completely enjoyable and gets worse with each issue, is the stock art of the gang. You know the kind you see on the front covers, maybe of Scholastic, as well, where it's just the same old poses time after time, probably supplied by WB. It feels the artist is just getting paid to photoshop different body movements (and even unconvincing eye ball black dot movements) in new positions, expecting it to look new. Reality check. It doesn't! It's just as bad, probably even worse, for the main comic.
Also, Batgirl has been written less than wonderfully twice. And having the so-called crossover with Teen Titans Go wasn't the best idea (better than Happy Harley-daze!, but still should've been its own style. It seems lazy to just copy from that style when they could've done an original take. But that would mean giving Robin an actual personality.)
Two things are also missing:
- Not having Bruce Wayne at all, when they've had Clark Kent. Mystery Inc. aren't going to find out that Batman is really Mr. Bruce Wayne. As smart as they are, they are never going to find that out, as they've proven with the Impossibles (in Scooby-Doo! Team-Up #22 out today).
- We've had the Super Friends, but what about the big leagues of Hanna-Barbera's non-DC stuff, like Space Ghost, Birdman, etc. getting together? It seems like DC is holding out on that.
My last concern, is that they are not taking full advantage of it being a "Team-Up" comic, where they could really take it further than its going, which is supposed to be both DC and Hanna-Barbera, but is not picking up the slack of the HB content, which is the whole pitch of the series, to have both of those worlds equally. But it could go beyond that, though, there's a whole world of Cartoon Network stars they could team-up with, if they co-publish (like they have in the past) with IDW who now hold the license, and probably one of the reasons why we haven't been seeing any team-up issues with the likes of Dexter, the Powerpuff Girls, etc. (even Dial M for Monkey would beat teaming up with Wonder Dog and G'Nort, no doubt). There's also Archie Andrews and co. from Archie Comics. Crazy you say? I say, "No way." There's an obvious uncanny connection between the two, and Scooby-Doo was even published by Archie for some time before DC took over. Having them team-up and done right would go down really well. (Archie and DC co-published the Tiny Titans/Little Archies crossover.) Archie isn't afraid to team-up with anybody, and Scooby-Doo! Team-Up should strive to be like that in order to make an impression.
It has to stay relevant and fresh in order to survive, while not forgetting that this is Scooby and the gang's comic. Otherwise this book is just being taken for granted and being bought for the sake of it and there's no real enjoyment to it (like the main comic as well).