Sunday, November 28, 2021

Review: EVIL ERNIE Volume 3 #1

EVIL ERNIE VOLUME 3 #1
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

STORY: Scott Lobdell
ART: Ariel Medel
COLORS: Candice Han
LETTERS: Dave Sharpe
EDITOR: Joseph Rybandt
COVER: Brett Booth
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Arthur Suydam; Ken Haeser; Jamie Biggs; Stuart Sayger; Brett Booth
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (December 2021)

Rated Teen+

Evil Ernie created by Brian Pulido and Steven Hughes


Evil Ernie is a super-villain fictional character created by writer Brian Pulido and the late artist Steven Hughes.  He first appeared in Eternity Comics' Evil Ernie #1 (cover dated: December 1991).  Evil Ernie was Ernest Fairchild, a boy who became an undead psychotic killer.

Evil Ernie is now the property of Dynamite Entertainment.  The character gets a new comic book series in Evil Ernie Volume 3.  It is written by Scott Lobdell; drawn by Ariel Medel; colored by Candice Han; and lettered by Dave Sharpe.  The new series focuses on a good kid who, after being mortally wounded, must “pay down his new lease on life” by serving as a part time fixer for a death cult.

Evil Ernie Volume 3 #1 opens in Potsdam, New York at the scene of a most horrific road accident.  But first, there is some back story.  Ernest Gleckman is an 18-year-old sophomore at Potsdam University (NY).  He is both a goody-two-shoes and something of an anomaly.  Ernest loves to sing Satantic-themed heavy metal music, but he is just the nicest guy.  He does not want his girlfriend, Candace, to kiss him in public, but she is not the only young woman who wants to kiss him.

But life is about to change for Ernest.  He is going to meet his dark side.

THE LOWDOWN:  Dynamite Entertainment's marketing department recently began providing me with PDF review copies of some of their titles.  One of them is Evil Ernie Volume 3 #1, which is the first Evil Ernie comic book that I have ever read.

As someone who has ignored every single Evil Ernie comic book that I have ever encountered, I can say that Scott Lobdell, the writer of this new series, makes me curious about what comes next in the latest incarnation of this character.  Lobdell is not one of my favorite comic book scribes, but I have enjoyed a number of comic books that he has written, and this could be one of them.

Artist Ariel Medel has a graphic style that reminds me of the art of former comic book artist, J. Scott Campbell, which is not necessarily a good thing.  Medel's art seems inappropriate for even Lobdell's script for this first issue, and Candice Han's colors seem off here.  But we'll see... and I could be wrong.  After all I want more.

So, I'm curious to see where Scott Lobdell takes this.  I think you will, also, dear readers.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Evil Ernie will want to read Evil Ernie Volume 1.

B

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


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Comics Review: BARBARELLA Volume 2 #5

BARBARELLA VOLUME 2 #5
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

STORY: Sarah Hoyt
ART: Madibek Musabekov
COLORS: Ivan Nunes
LETTERS: Carlos M. Mangual
EDITOR: Matt Idelson
COVER: Lucio Parrillo
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Derrick Chew; Carla Cohen; Celina Kirchner; Mike Krome; Edu Menna; Lucio Parrillo; Ken Haeser; Rachel Hollon (cosplay)
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (November 2021)

Rated Teen+

Barbarella is based on the creator created by Jean-Claude Forest

“The Fun Never Stops”


Barbarella is a female, French, science fiction comic book hero.  Created by the late French comic book writer-artist, Jean-Claude Forest (1930-98), Barbarella first appeared in a comics serial for the French publication, V Magazine, in the spring of 1962.

In 2017, Dynamite Entertainment began publishing original English language Barbarella comic books.  The latest series is Barbarella Volume 2.  It is written by Sarah Hoyt; drawn by Madibek Musabekov; colored by Ivan Nunes; and lettered by Carlos M. Mangual.  In this new series, Barbarella and her pals, Vix, and Taln (the blind “angel” and A.I. friend.), travel through space in service of the Brotherhood, combating tyranny.

Barbarella Volume 2 #5 (“The Fun Never Stops”) opens as Barbarella, Vix, and the revived Taln arrive on Rio.  Barbarella seeks the source of a malevolent evil that enslaves, mutilates, and now commits mass kidnappings, “The Lady of Qruyx,”  Our hero has followed The Lady to three previous worlds, and the question of why.

Now, on the pleasure planet, Rio, Barbarella wants answers and meets Brindon Zaxary, who may be a new ally … and even a new lover.  Meanwhile, back on Tortuga the band of freedom fighters known as “The Brotherhood,” discover a traitor in its midst.  So how close is this traitor to Barbarella?

And Barbarella wonders about Taln.  Is he more than he seems?

THE LOWDOWN:  Dynamite Entertainment's marketing department recently began providing me with PDF review copies of some of their titles.  One of them is Barbarella Volume 2 #5, which is the fourth issue of the title that I have read.  In fact, this is only the fourth Barbarella comic book that I have ever read.

In Issue #5, Sarah Hoyt offers another delightful chapter of space opera science fiction.  Even as she stretches out Barbarella's pursuit of her enemy, Hoyt makes each issue a small box of surprises.  Madibek Musabekov art is as beautiful as its ever been in this series, made even prettier by Ivan Nunes' coloring.  And Barbarella Volume 2 #5 is an improvement on issue #4.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Barbarella will want to try Barbarella Volume 2.

A-

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


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Comics Review: DEJAH THORIS VERSUS JOHN CARTER #5

DEJAH THORIS VERSUS JOHN CARTER, VOL. 1 #5
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

STORY: Dan Abnett
ART: Alessandro Miracolo
COLORS: Dearbhla Kelly
LETTERS: Simon Bowland
EDITOR: Nate Cosby
COVER: Lucio Parrillo
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Joseph Michael Linsner; Alessandro Miracolo; Max Fiumara; Sebastian Fiumara; (Rachel Hollon cosplay)
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (November 2021)

Rated Teen+

Based on the characters and stories created by Edgar Rice Burroughs


Dejah Thoris and John Carter are characters that first appeared in the serialized novel, Under the Moons of Mars (The All-Story, 1912), written by Tarzan creator, Edgar Rice Burroughs.  When it was first collected and published in hardcover, the novel was re-titled, A Princess of Mars (1917), the first of Burroughs' “Barsoom” novels, which were set on Barsoom, a fictional version of Mars.

Dejah was the title character of A Princess of Mars, the princess of the Martian city-state/empire of Helium.  John Carter was a Confederate veteran of the American Civil War who was transported to Mars via “astral projection” where he got a new body that was similar to the one he left behind on Earth.  John made several trips back and forth between Earth and Barsoom, and Dejah and John were married and had two children.

John Carter first appeared in comic books in the early 1950s, and Dejah has become a prominent comic book character since 2010 via Dynamite Entertainment.  Now, the star-crossed lovers are the stars of Dynamite's new comic book, Dejah Thoris Versus John Carter.  The series is written by Dan Abnett; drawn by Alessandro Miracolo; colored by Dearbhla Kelly; and lettered by Simon Bowland.  The series finds Dejah and John caught in a war to save Mars from an ancient race, “The Longborn,” that has returned to reclaim the planet, and their surprising ally, the rogue scientist, Rotak Gall.

As Dejah Thoris Versus John Carter #5 opens, Rotak Gall finds out that his allies from outside of time, The Longborn, are not easy to please.  Meanwhile, Dejah and John continue to fight impossible odds in the time-lost palace of Dar Shadeth.  Having escaped into the random folds of time, they must survive … if they are going to survive the coming struggle.  Decaying emissaries of evil are searching for the perfect host, which could be … John Carter.

THE LOWDOWN:  Dynamite Entertainment's marketing department recently began providing me with PDF review copies of some of their titles.  One of them is Dejah Thoris Versus John Carter #5, the fifth issue of the series that I have read and only the fifth Dejah Thoris or John Carter comic book I have read.

In Dejah Thoris Versus John Carter, writer Dan Abnett offers a comic book that gives off traditional serial fiction thrills.  A quick and delightful read, I always find myself wanting more by the time I reach the last page.  Also, Artist Alessandro Miracolo and colorist Dearbhla Kelly get stronger with each issue.  I highly recommend Dejah Thoris Versus John Carter to fans of Dan Abnett's comic book work.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Dynamite's Dejah Thoris and Barsoom comic books will want to try Dejah Thoris Versus John Carter.

B+

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


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Comics Review: The Invincible RED SONJA #6

THE INVINCIBLE RED SONJA #6
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

STORY: Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti
ARTIST: Moritat
COLORS: Matt Carter
LETTERS: Dave Sharpe
EDITOR: Matt Idleson
COVER: Amanda Conner with Paul Mounts
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Joseph Michael Linsner; Celina; Frank Cho; Carla Cohen; Elias Chatzoudis; Ken Haeser; Moritat; Dominica cosplay
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (November 2021)

Rated Teen+

Red Sonja is female high fantasy and sword and sorcery hero.  She first appeared in Conan the Barbarian #23 (cover dated February 1973) and was created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Barry Windsor-Smith.  Red Sonja was loosely based on “Red Sonya of Rogatino,” a female character that appeared in the 1934 short story, “The Shadow of the Vulture,” written by Conan the Cimmerian's creator, Robert E. Howard.

In 2005, Dynamite Entertainment began publishing comic books featuring differing versions of the character.  One of those is The Invincible Red Sonja.  It is written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti; drawn by Moritat; colored by Matt Carter; and lettered by Dave Sharpe.  In this recently launched series, Red Sonja finds herself on a spectacular journey filled with pirates, mermaids, princesses, and political intrigue as the fate of two kingdoms hangs in the balance.

As The Invincible Red Sonja #6 opens, the dying spell of the wizard Lord Brelaq has awakened a volcano.  Now, the Kingdom of Erkhara is wracked by earthquakes as the volcano threatens to spill its molten Armageddon.  Meanwhile, Red Sonja and Tuma prepare to save Erkhara's Prince Ederik and his bride-to-be, Princess Zaria.

But standing in the She-Devil with a Sword's way is a battle to the death with an old enemy … and a former lover, Bahira Yakootah – Lord of Thieves.  Can Sonja save a kingdom, defeat an enemy, and escape hot lava death?

THE LOWDOWN:  Dynamite Entertainment's marketing department recently began providing me with PDF review copies of some of their titles.  One of them is The Invincible Red Sonja #6, which is the third issue of the series that I have read.

Like the earlier issues, an issue of this series, issue #6, opens under a gorgeous cover drawn by Amanda Conner and colored by Paul Mounts.  Also, once again, Conner and Palmiotti deliver a thoroughly rousing and kick-ass story.  Moritat's art and Matt Carter's colors get better with each issue.  This is the kind of creative team a She-Devil with a Sword truly deserves.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Red Sonja comic books will want to read The Invincible Red Sonja.

A

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


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Comics Review: VENGEANCE OF VAMPIRELLA #24

VENGEANCE OF VAMPIRELLA VOLUME 2 #24
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

STORY: Thomas Sniegoski
ART: Kewber Baal
COLORS: Omi Remalante, Jr.
LETTERS: Troy Peteri
EDITOR: Joe Rybandt
COVER: Lucio Parrillo
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Ben Oliver; Stephen Segovia; Michael Sta. Maria; Lucio Parrillo; Rachel Hollon (cosplay)
32pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (November 2021)

Rated Teen+

Vampirella is vampire and female superhero created by the late author and science fiction and horror expert, Forrest J Ackerman, and comic book artist, Trina Robbins.  Vampirella first appeared in Vampirella #1 (Sept. 1969), the debut issue of a black and white horror comics magazine from Warren Publishing.  Writer-editor Archie Goodwin changed the character from a hostess of horror comics to a leading character in her own stories.

Vampirella publications were published by Warren into 1983, and after Warren's bankruptcy, Harris Publications obtained the character and published new and reprint Vampirella comic books into the mid-1990s.  In 2010, Dynamite Entertainment obtained the character and has been publishing new Vampirella material since then.

One of Dynamite's Vampirella comic book series is Vengeance of Vampirella, which was also the title of a Harris Comics series.  Vengeance of Vampirella Volume 2 is written by Thomas Sniegoski; drawn by Michael Sta. Maria; colored by Omi Remalante, Jr.; and lettered by Troy Peteri.  The series focuses on a reborn Vampirella, fighting the forces of Mistress Nyx and the Lords of Chaos to save humanity and then, trying to live in a new world after the war has been won.

Vengeance of Vampirella Volume 2 #24 finds Jeannine, Vampirella's traveling companion, taken by old enemies, “The Danse Macabre.”  In order to save her, Vampirella must leave her place of solitude and travel to the mysterious walled “Sepulchre City.”  First, Vampirella must get a lay of the land, where she will learn of the hatred of “Creepers.”  Then, she must penetrate Sepulchre where she will find even more old enemies.

THE LOWDOWN:  Dynamite Entertainment's marketing department recently began providing me with PDF review copies of some of their titles.  One of them is Vengeance of Vampirella Volume 2 #24.  It is the fifth issue of this series that I have read, and one of a growing number of Vampirella comic books that I have recently read.

Issue #24 is the penultimate issue of the series, and writer Thomas Sniegoski offers an issue with intrigue and subterfuge that is deliciously readable.  Michael Sta. Maria's art gets more polished with each issue, and Omi Remalante, Jr.'s rich colors bring a nice dark mood to this issue.

I like Vengeance of Vampirella Volume 2 the more I read it, and it is worth following … especially because the series is almost over.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Vampirella will want to try Vengeance of Vampirella Volume 2.

A

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


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Negromancer News Bits and Bites from November 21st to 30th, 2021 #12

by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

You can support Leroy via Paypal or on Patreon:

ENTERTAINMENT AND CULTURE NEWS:

BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficePro:  The winner of the 11/26 to 11/28/2021 weekend box office is Disney's "Encanto" with an estimated take of 27 million dollars.

From Variety:  The Thanksgiving holiday weekend (11/24 to 11/28/2020=1) box office begins with a Disney's "Encanto" victory as the animated film grossed 7.5 million dollars Wed., Nov. 24th.

From Deadline:  Director Denis Villeneuve's "Dune: Part One" finally crosses the 100 million dollar mark at the domestic box office.

ANIMATION - From DeadlineHayao Miyzazki, the legendary Japanese director of animated films, is coming out of retirement again to direct an animated feature film adaptation of the "How Do You Live," a 1937 novel by Genzaburo Yoshino.

DISNEY - From DeadlinePeter Jackson talks about his four-year obsession that resulted on his "Beatles" documentary, "The Beatles: Get Back," which airs on Disney+ from Nov. 25th to Nov. 27th.

COVID-19 - From Deadline:  A new COVID-19 variant, "B.1.1.529," has been found in Africa.  Potentially more transmissible, it has been called "a big jump in evolution."

SCANDAL - From Variety:   An arbitrator has ordered Kevin Spacey and his companies to pay nearly $31 million to MRC, the production company behind Netflix's “House of Cards,” after finding that Spacey breached his contract by violating the company’s sexual harassment policy.

MOVIES - From Deadline:   One of the producers behind the movie Western, "Rust," is co-financing "Sam & Kate," a new film starring Oscar winners Dustin Hoffman and Sissy Spasek.  Actor Alec Baldwin accidentally killed cinematography Halyna Hutchinson on the set of "Rust" after pointing a gun in her direction.

BOX OFFICE - From BoxOfficePro:  The winner of the 11/19 to 11/21/2021 weekend box office is "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" with an estimated take of 44 million dollars.

From Negromancer:  My review of "Ghostbusters: Afterlife."

From Deadline:  The most recent James Bond movie, "No Time to Die," moves past the most recent "Fast & Furious" movie, "F9," to take the lead in worldwide box office.

OBIT:

From Variety:  American composer and lyricist and Broadway legend, Stephen Sondheim, has died at the age of 91, Friday, November 26, 2021.  He is praised for having reinvented the American musical and for incorporating complex and dissonant themes and structures from 20th century classical music into his works.  Sondheim is known for being the composer and lyricist for such musicals as "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (1979) and "Sunday in the Park with George" (1984).  He wrote the lyrics for "West Side Story" (1957) and "Gypsy" (1959).  Sondheim's accolades include nine Tony Awards, an Oscar, eight Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, a Laurence Olivier Award, and a 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

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"RUST" ACCIDENTAL SHOOTING DEATH:

From Deadline:  This link will take you to Deadline's Halyna Hutchins page, which articles related to everything about her shooting death on the set of the Western film, "Rust."

From Deadline:  A month after cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, was shot and killed on the New Mexico set the movie Western, "Rust," by a prop gun “discharged” by Alec Baldwin, those closest to the cinematographer held a private ceremony and interred her ashes at an unknown location.

From Deadline:  Actor Daniel Baldwin defends his brother, Alec Baldwin, in the accidental shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film, "Rust."  "Someone loaded that gun improperly," Daniel says.

From Deadline:  The newest lawsuit involving the tragic shooting on the set of the Western film, "Rust," has been filed by the film's script supervisor, Mamie Mitchell, against Alec Baldwin, the producers, the production company, armorer Hanna Gutierrez Reed, and others.

From DeadlineSerge Svetnoy, the gaffer on "Rust," has filed a lawsuit against several parties related to the film, including the production, the financiers, star Alec Baldwin, armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, and first Assistant Director David Halls.

From THR:   In the wake of the tragic accidental shooting on the set of his film, "Rust," Alec Baldwin on Monday took to social media to urge Hollywood to employ a police officer on every film and TV set that uses guns.

From THR:   The budget for "Rust" - Alec Baldwin was set to earn $150,000 as lead actor and $100,000 as producer, while $7,913 was earmarked for armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and $17,500 was set aside for the rental of weapons and $5,000 for rounds.

From Deadline:  Attorneys for Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer on the set of the film, "Rust," said that they’re looking into whether a live bullet was placed in a box of dummy rounds with the intent of  “sabotaging the set.”

From THR:   Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the armorer on the film, "Rust," released a statement through her lawyers.  She says she had “no idea where the live rounds came from” that were recovered by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's during the investigation of the accidental on-set shooting death of Halyna Hutchins.

From Jacobin:  An opinion piece says that cinematographer Halyna Hutchins' death on the set of the film, "Rust," was not a freak accident, but was about Alec Baldwin and his fellow producers' cost-cutting decisions.  Baldwin accidentally fired the gun that killed Hutchins.

From Deadline:   Two of executive producers on "Rust," Allen Cheney and Emily Salveson, disavow responsibility for the film's troubled production.

From THR:   Iconic "Ghostbusters" actor Ernie Hudson is reeling from the news of the death of Halyna Hutchins, like the rest of Hollywood. Hudson also appeared in the film, "The Crow," the film in which its star, Brandon Lee, was killed because of an on-set accidental shooting.  He also agrees with the call to ban real guns from movie sets.

From THR:  The Sheriff of Sante Fe County says that his office has recovered three guns and 500 rounds of ammunition from the set of the movie "Rust" where cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed.

From Deadline:  Regarding criminal charges in the death of Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film "Rust," District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altweis, "all options are on the table - no one has been ruled out."

From THR:  Does Hollywood Need Guns? Will new regulations lead to an overreactions to a tragedy.

From Deadline:   "Rust" producers have opened an internal investigation into the fatal shooting on the set of the Western film.  They have hired outside lawyers to conduct interviews with the film's production crew.

From Deadline:  "Rust's" AD (assistant director), Dave Halls, has come under scrutiny in the wake of the on-set shooting death of the film's cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins.

From Deadline:  The affidavit of Sante Fe Sheriff's Department Detective Joel Cano has been made public. It can be read at "Deadline."  The affidavit was for a search warrant from the property were the Western, "Rust," was being filmed.

From THR:  The production company behind "Rust" has shut the film down until the police investigation into the fatal, on-set shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins is through.  The Sante Fe County Sheriff's Office has also revealed a timeline of the shooting.

From Deadline:  The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department confirmed Thursday night that Alec Baldwin “discharged” a prop gun on the New Mexico set of the movie, "Rust."  As a result, one crew member, director of photography Halyna Hutchins, was killed and director Joel Souza was injured and remains in a local hospital - his condition unknown.

From THR:  "Rust" director, Joel Souza, who was wounded in the accidental on-set shooting, says that he is "gutted" by the death of his cinematographer on the film, Halyna Hutchins.

From Deadline:  The fatal shooting on the set of "Rust" may have been "recorded" according to detective for Santa Fe Sheriff's Department.

From Deadline:  The production company behind the film, "Rust," will launch an internal safety review after the fatal accident that killed Halyna Hutchins; possible prior gun incidents; and a camera crew walkout.

From CNN:   Crew member yelled "cold gun" as he handed Alec Baldwin prop weapon, court document shows.

From Variety:  Actor Alec Baldwin releases statement on the death of Halyna Hutchins: "There are no words to convey my shock and sadness."

From Variety:  The prop gun that killed “Rust” cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded director Joel Souza on during an on-set accident on Thursday contained a “live single round,” according to an email sent by IATSE Local 44 to its membership.


Saturday, November 27, 2021

Review: "Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold" Deserves an Encore

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 67 of 2021 (No. 1805) by Leroy Douresseaux

Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2018) – Video
Running time:  75 minutes (1 hour, 15 minutes)
DIRECTOR:  Jake Castorena
WRITERS: Paul Giacoppo; from a story by James Tucker (based on characters from Hanna-Barbera and characters from DC)
PRODUCER: Michael Jelenic
EXECUTIVE PRODUCES: Sam Register and Benjamin Melniker & Michael E. Uslan
EDITORS:  Christopher D. Lozinski and Molly Yahr
COMPOSERS:  Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion, and Lolita Ritmanis
ANIMATION STUDIO:  Digital eMation, Inc.

ANIMATION/FANTASY/SUPERHERO/FAMILY and ACTION/COMEDY/MYSTERY

Starring:  (voices) Frank Welker, Matthew Lillard, Grey Griffin, Kate Micucci, Diedrich Bader, Jeff Bennett, Jeffrey Combs, John DiMaggio, Nicholas Guest, John Michael Higgins, Kevin Michael Richardson, Fred Tatasciore, Nika Futterman, and Tara Strong

Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold is a 2018 straight-to-video, animated, comic mystery film.  It is the 30th animated movie in the Scooby-Doo straight-to-video series from Warner Bros. Animation, which began in 1998 with Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island.  This film is also a crossover between Scooby-Doo and the Cartoon Network animated television series, “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” (2008-2011).  The story finds Scooby-Doo and his friends joining Batman and superhero colleagues in order to solve a mystery involving a scary new villain.

Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold opens as Mystery Incorporated: Fred Jones (Frank Welker), Daphne Blake (Grey Griffin), Velma Dinkley (Kate Micucci), Shaggy Rogers (Matthew Lillard), and Scooby-Doo (Frank Welker) investigates a series of thefts performed by the ghost of Puppetto the Puppeteer and his puppet, Fredo.  As the gang struggles to capture the ghost, Batman (Diedrich Bader) intervenes and warns them to leave things to the professionals.

Mystery Inc. manages to capture Puppetto and Fredo and discovers that the ghost and his puppet are really the superheroes, Martian Manhunter (Nicholas Guest) and Detective Chimp (Kevin Michael Richardson).  Batman, Manhunter, and Detective Chimp reveal that the Puppetto mystery was a test for Mystery Inc., which they passed.  So the heroes initiate Scooby and company into the “Mystery Analysts of Gotham,” the world's preeminent crime-busting organization.  The superheroes also inform the gang that they could use their help on a few cases.

A week later, Mystery Inc. visits the Mystery Analysts' headquarters where they meet the other members:  The Question (Jeffrey Combs), Black Canary (Grey Griffin), and Plastic Man (Tom Kenny), as well as the tag-a-long Aquaman (John DiMaggio), who desperately wants to be a member of the Analysts.

Mystery Inc. gets a chance to take the lead in the next case for the Analysts and follows the heroes to Gotham Chemical Storage.  There, they encounter a red-cloaked figure, calling himself “the Crimson Cloak” (John DiMaggio).  Why is he swearing revenge on Batman, and how is he tied to the one case Batman has never been able to solve?

I only watched a few episodes of “Batman: The Brave and the Bold.”  The series had a lighter tone than some of the Batman animated TV series that came before it, and it depicted Batman as being witty and playful.  I was curious how a collaboration between Scooby-Doo and this iteration of Batman would work.

As a child, I was a huge fan of the second Scooby-Doo animated TV series, “The New Scooby-Doo Movies,” which premiered on September 9, 1972 and ran for two seasons on CBS until 1974.  It was the first Scooby-Doo cartoon series that I ever saw, and it began my life-long love of Scooby-Doo and his pals.  It also began my life-long love affair with Batman and Robin.  The Dynamic Duo were guests stars on two Season One episodes of “The New Scooby-Doo Movies” – Episode #2's “The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair” and Episode #15's “The Caped Crusader Caper.”  These episodes were my first encounters with Batman and Robin, and I was immediately fascinated by the mysterious Batman and his colorful young sidekick.

Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold reminds me of those old cartoons, and while this film doesn't quite take me back to the 1970s, I enjoyed it immensely.  The animation is good, and it allows for the many colorful DC Comics' superheroes and super-villains that appear in this film to move in a way that really conveys the action.  The color palette is perfect for the comic mystery atmosphere of Scooby-Doo, and, to some extent, recalls those old Mystery Inc./Batman team-ups of the 1970s.

The story is good, but it has more superhero characters than it really needs.  Sometimes, Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold comes across like an advertisement for a DC Comics toy fair.  Aquaman, who eventually proves to be useful to solving the mystery, is often extraneous, and he is constantly and annoyingly yelling “Outrageous!”  And The Question, Black Canary, and Plastic Man seem like nothing more than IP placement.  Luckily, there is a surprisingly happy ending.

Still, Scooby-Doo and Mystery Incorporated teaming up with Batman casts a spell that is still effective on me.  I had fun, and I can't wait for them to do it again.

8 of 10
A

Tuesday, September 21, 2021


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