The Caped Crusader and those Meddling Kids Unmask a Mystery Together in Scooby-Doo and Batman: The Brave and the Bold

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Scooby-Doo and Batman: The Brave and the Bold

Back when I was just a little boy, I'd get up on a Saturday morning, trudge across the ice sheets to milk the dinosaur for my cereal bowl, and tune into one of the three available television networks to watch cartoons, because this was the only day they would air. Times were hard.

Among those cartoons were SCOOBY-DOO, and once in a blue moon the Mystery, Inc. gang would have someone from the real world show up -- like Batman and Robin. This happened twice, and now as an adult I'm glad to have both of those episodes on DVD.

Now I have them again, because they're the bonus features on this new release, SCOOBY-DOO & BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD.

When Mystery, Inc. gets an anonymous tip to investigate a haunting, they are interrupted by Batman, who urges them to go home while he takes on the bad guys. But it turns out he's the one who invited the gang--as an initiation test to join the Mystery Analysts of Gotham, a test pulled off with the help of Martian Manhunter and Detective Chimp.

The introductory adventure out of the way, we jump into the opening credits, just like the original BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD did. And this is a beautiful mash-up of both shows. Which means it's going to be a fun show.

In Gotham City, Batman goes up against The Riddler and his goons. Riddler brings out backup in the form of Catwoman and Killer Croc, but Batman anticipated this and also brought backup: Aquaman and The Question! Then it's off to the Mystery Analysts meeting for Batman and Question as they leave a moping Aquaman behind to clean up.

At the same time, Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby-Doo are passing Gotham City limits, looking for the location of the meeting. Daphne gets a chance to show off her own mystery-solving skills when she solves an anagram that points out the meeting's precise location. The other attendees are already there, and include Plastic Man and Black Canary. Fred is instantly smitten with BC, who dismisses him regularly as "Ascot." Plas, meantime, has eyes for Daphne. And in the midst of all the introductions, a disguised Aquaman crashes the meeting. Now it's a party!

The main plot kicks off when the new members are allowed to pick from the cold cases to solve. Each member has a collection of them, but Batman has only one -- and it's off limits. But before we can learn why, an alert sounds to a crime in progress, and both teams are off to the races. And since this is a Scooby-Doo show first and foremost, the threat appears to be otherworldly in nature, in the form of a floating apparition that bills itself as The Crimson Cloak.

The Cloak has a connection to Batman's past, and his cold case in particular. But before the solution can be found, we have Batman and Mystery Inc. wanted by the police, a car chase that takes them through No Man's Land, and a confrontation with the entirety of Arkham Asylum -- the spookiest place the gang has ever been!

SCOOBY-DOO! & BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD is laden with self-referential Easter Eggs. The Riddler's cell at Arkham is DC140, a shout out to his first appearance in Detective Comics #140. Harvey Bullock refers to Mystery Inc. as a "gang of kids" which they find hard to refute because they do always call themselves "the gang" and they're often called "kids" usually in conjunction with the word "meddling." The show also allows for the absurdity of the Scooby humor. When they encounter the team of Bane and Blockbuster, Batman is ready, but Mystery Inc already has it well in hand; Shaggy and Scooby trick them out with a quickly thrown together tailgate party, then take them down with squirts of condiments to the eyes. "There's no possible way that should have worked," Batman says, to which Velma replies, "Just go with it."

And that's the fun of this episode. You can't dissect it like you would a BATMAN adventure, because there's a talking dog involved (and a talking chimp, for that matter). But the coolest part comes when the Mystery Inc teens solve the mystery in the Batcave, and have to find a way to rescue Batman without being recognized by the police. Can you think of something in the Batcave that could help them accomplish this?

The voice work in this brings together veterans from both shows, with many of them doing double duty. Grey Griffin voices Daphne and Black Canary, Tara Strong doing Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, Tom Kenny doing Penguin and Plastic Man, and Kevin Michael Richardson doing Clayface and Detective Chimp -- which I would never have attributed to KMR, so this was a nice change of pace from his usual gruff voices. And, of course, it wouldn't be right not to have Frank Welker doing Scooby, Matthew Lillard on Shaggy, and Diedrich Bader as Batman!

SCOOBY-DOO! & BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD is a groovy addition to your DVD collection, and hopefully the beginning of future crossovers between DC and Hanna-Barbera properties in animated form.

4.0 / 5.0