Today is the day!
Scooby Doo Team-Up #16 featuring the Marvel Family¹ is out and – holy moley – it was the world’s mightiest Scooby Doo team-up issue yet!
Written by Scholly Fisch and illustrated by Dario Brizuela, it was a strong portrayal of all of the characters involved, much like how Star Wars comic books honor the core ideas and core templates of the characters and their various mythologies.
Give the Scooby Doo gang a missing persons mystery, a talking tiger, and the Monster Society of Evil, they and the Marvel Family combine a special sort of whimsicality that is unique. They could not be a more Marvel-ous match for each other.
Honestly, I am quite frankly surprised that they have never been paired together in a crossover comic before now.
I loved everything about this issue, where do I start? It’s hard to choose from the bright colors to the Fawcett-inspired costume treatments to the Easter eggs in it to the story itself.
There were various Easter eggs, such as the Monster Society’s hideout being located on Parker and Beck, a tip of the hat to Captain Marvel’s co-creators, Bill Parker and C.C. Beck.
Another Easter egg is one that astute (and likely long-time) Captain Marvel fans will easily recognize, that of the very last issue of any of the members of the Marvel Family by Fawcett Publications.
Early in the issue, a reference to the cover of Marvel Family #89, the very last the last Fawcett publication of the any of the the members of the Marvel Family until DC Comics licensed them from Fawcett in 1972.
Making an early artistic reference to that cover in a Scooby Doo mystery story is genius. It lets fans of the classic Captain Marvel know that even though it was a Scooby Doo story, the Marvel Family would get the holistic treatment from creators who know about and respect the character’s mythology.
Indeed, with bright colors, a Fawcett-inspired costume treatments, and a faithful portrayal of each core idea and core template of the characters of the Marvel Family, fans were treated to a dyed-in-the-wool golden age-style that featured the Marvel Family.
As such, the result was that, following Thunderworld and Convergence: Shazam!, this is now the third consecutive special feature of Captain Marvel where DC got it Shazam-tastically right.
Hopefully, DC Comics will learn the right lessons from this going forward. Please, no more New 52 Shazam, DC.
Now, on to the story itself.
However, be warned: This will henceforth contain spoilers, so if you have not read it yet, proceed at your own risk:
DC’s latest Scooby Doo Team-Up tale finds Tawky Tawny and Uncle Dudley enlisting the help of the Scooby Doo gang (instead of, y’know, Batman – the world’s greatest detective) to find the Marvel Family, who were kidnapped by the Monster Society of Evil.
Perhaps Tawky Tawny felt more comfortable around a group of humans who hang out with a dog with has a limited capacity to talk.
Having accomplished getting the Scooby Doo gang to agree to help, it became a matter of locating the Marvel Family.
By sleuthing their way to them, of course. These are the famous Scooby Doo mystery-solvers, after all. Naturally, they deduced the Monster Society of Evil’s hideout by using the clues available to them. The location? Hammerlink and Sons² on the corner Parker and Beck.
Upon arriving, they are unprepared for what faced them: Ibac and Sabbac bound and gagged in their human forms.
Freeing them, the Scooby Doo gang, Uncle Dudley, and Tawky Tawny realized they had walked into a trap when the two villains transformed into their super-powered forms. Clearly not a match for them, they did the only they could; they ran.
Fortunately, they ran into Billy Batson, Mary Batson, and Freddy Freeman, who were also all bound and gagged. They had quickly solved the mystery of the whereabouts of the Marvel Family. The only problem was, before they could free Billy, Mary, or Freddy, they were still in the secret hideout of the Monster Society of Evil. They were easily discovered by Mr. Mind, the alien telepathic worm and leader of the Monster Society of Evil, who had the heroes all surrounded by the likes Ibac, Sabbac, King Kull, Mr. Atom, etc.
Worse, Mr. Mind had evil plans for them; he wanted to turn Scooby Doo and all of his friends into monsters, thereby increasing the ranks of his Society.
And Mr. Mind nearly does, except…
Unbeknownst to all, fortune – or rather – the wizard Shazam was on the watch.
Gifting Velma and Shaggy magic words to transform them into Mar-Velma and Shaggy Marvel, respectively.
Adventure ensues, although in Shaggy’s case, it was a hilarious misadventure. He spent his time being terrified of the Monster Society of Evil despite gaining new powers , enough that his trembling in fear caused an earthquake, which gave Fred, Daphne, and Tawky Tawny the opening they needed to free Billy, Mary, and Freddy, who wasted no time speaking their own magic words.
At last the time had come for Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, and Captain Marvel Jr. to come to the rescue!
Joined by Mar-Velma and Shaggy Marvel, they easily defeated the Monster Society of Evil. In another example of knowing the lore of Fawcett characters, Fisch and Co. took a page from Spy Smasher in DC’s Crisis in Eternity, and had Velma outsmart Ibac into transforming back into his human form by demanding him to back down.
Ibac responded with, “I back down for no m–” which transformed him back to Stinky Printwhistle because “I back” was phonetically identical to his magic code word.
See? It is brilliant and entertaining.
With the Monster Society of Evil subdued, the wizard Shazam made an appearance to explain that because Billy, Mary, and Freddy were unable to speak their magic code words, he bestowed upon Shaggy and Velma their own magic code words to transform into a mighty champion. Respectively, their code words were, “Zoinks” and “Jinkies³.”
But now that the need for them to be Marvels had passed, Shazam took the powers back, but worry not, the story ended as only it could: Captain Marvel declared that with powers or not, the Scooby Doo gang were “all now part of the family — the Marvel Family!”
All in all, I am happy to report that Scooby Doo Team-Up #16 hit all of the right notes and was a tremendously Marvel-ous read, worthy of the Fawcett-era whimsicality that Captain Marvel enjoyed at the height of his popularity. It is my sincere hope that, if not plans for more classic Captain Marvel stories, that DC decides to give them additional future appearances in the Scooby Doo Team-Up series.
Hope you guys do, too! As always, call down the lightning and post in the comments section.
¹Despite calling DC Comics them the Shazam! Family on the cover, they are called the Marvel Family inside the story, which naturally meant that they were called by their proper names: Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, and Captain Marvel Jr. (Go home, DC Comics legal department, you’re drunk!)
²I think this may have been another Easter egg, a nod to comic book historian, P.C. Hamerlinck. What gives me pause is that the spelling is blatantly incorrect.
³ZOINKS – Zeus: Power, Odin: Knowledge, Icarus: Flight, Neptune: Depth, Kronos: Strength, Sisyphus: Persistence
JINKIES – Juno: Dominion, Isis: Magic, Nemesis: Justice, Ishtar: Love, Electra: Courage, Sibyl: Foresight.