The Awesome Scooby-Doo/Wonder Woman Crossover We Didn’t Ask For But Are Glad Exists
Wonder Woman has been quite the topic of conversation of late, thanks to the news that the popular and critically-acclaimed Brian Azzarello/Cliff Chiang creative team would soon be leaving her title after a three-year run to be replaced by the already controversial team of Meredith Finch/David Finch — who have already made some troubling statements in simply trying to promote their run — and the news that Gilbert Hernandez will bring his talents to the character for Sensation Comics.
While we were all talking about the Finch family, feminism, and the premier female superhero in comics history last week, we may have missed the fact that DC Comics just published an excellent Wonder Woman comic, one that cherry-picked elements from her most popular iterations (her weird-but-awesome Golden Age persona under the guidance of her creators, the Lynda Carter TV show, Super Friends) and presented them in dismemberment-free, all-ages comic that could be enjoyed by anyone from the littlest girl to the oldest old man. A comic book that was both fun and funny, and had just a touch of good old comic book insanity.
I’m talking, of course, about the latest Scooby-Doo Team-Up, in which Daphne and Velma undergo Amazonian training on Paradise Island while attempting to solve a mystery involving appearing and disappearing mythological monsters at Wonder Woman’s behest (Fred and Shaggy have to wait in the invisible plane, since by Aphrodite’s Law no man may set foot on Themiscyra or the Amazons will lose their powers and immortality; nothing in there about male dog paws, though, so Scooby is free to roam).
Just look for the cover featuring Velma and Daphne in orange and purple battle armor.
The story “Trouble In Paradise” is the work of the regular Scooby-Doo Team-Up creative team of writer Sholly Fisch — who has written scores of excellent and under-appreciated kids comics, as well as the Action Comics back-ups during Grant Morrison’s run — and artist Dario Brizuela, who has an uncanny ability to chameleon other styles.
In past issues of the series, Brizuela has drawn straight-from-the-original cartoons versions of Scooby and the gang going up against Batman: The Animated Series-style versions of Man-Bat and Scarecrow. Brizuela also came up with a Batman that was a carefully calibrated compromise between the one from the old Scooby-Doo shows and the one from Batman: TAS.
For the Scooby-Doo comic, Brizuela draws in the style of the Scooby-Doo cartoon, so Wonder Woman, Hippolyta, the Amazons and their kanga mounts all look like extremely polished, 1970s-era Hanna-Barbera designs.
After the ladies of Mystery Inc engage in some kanga jousting — Brizuela’s kangas look only somewhat kanagroo-like; their stature, stance, limbs and tails giving them a dinosaurian appearance — Wonder Woman tells them of the other reason she’s invited them to Paradise Island.
“With no crime on Paradise Island, we have no detectives to solve this mystery. I asked Batman to come, but he suffers the same disadvantage as your friends. As a man, he can’t set foot on the island. Instead, he recommended you.” (Ha, in your face, Batgirl!)
After some chance monster encounters and a recital of the Wonder Woman theme song from Scooby (“Rin rour ratin rights, righting ror rour rights…”), events come to a head when Fred and Shaggy climb aboard kangas to avoid a monster attack — and Shaggy is knocked onto the ground, violating the laws of Paradise Island. The villain of the piece reveals himself as Golden Age Wonder Woman villain The Duke of Deception, an H.G.Peter design that Brizuela has filtered through the Scooby style.
Surprised? Well, there are no creepy old caretakers or light house keepers on Paradise Island to serve as the usual Scooby suspects.
The Duke’s master plan was to create illusions of monsters, thus presenting a challenging mystery that would force Wonder Woman to call in her “detective friend in the cape and cowl” and get him to touch the island with his foot, but instead he got Shaggy to do so. Or did he?
Turns out Shaggy landed on his butt, not his feet, so Aphrodite’s Law remained unbroken, and the Duke, like so many ne’er-do-wells before him, got busted by those meddling kids.
Amid all the running around and gags, Fisch manages to distill the Amazon ideals into the sort of benevolent, social philosopher-dominatrices that their creator William Moulton Marston envisioned them as, while positioning Wonder Woman as an ambassador between the world of the Amazons and so-called Man’s World.
So it turns out that DC is perfectly capable of publishing entertaining all-ages Wonder Woman comics that hew close to the original spirit of the character while embracing newer, later additions to her milieu. They just tend to show up in unexpected places, like in a random issue of Scooby-Doo Team-Up, instead of the pages of Wonder Woman or Superman/Wonder Woman or Justice League.
Scooby-Do Team-Up is available by way of an unusual publishing model. If you want to read this Wonder Woman crossover in print, it’s on sale now in finer comics shops as Scooby-Doo Team-Up #5. If you prefer digital comics, part one of the story is available as Scooby-Doo Team-Up Chapter Nine, with the concluding half available next month.