DC Comics (September, 2001; as posted to comiXology December, 2014)
“Big House Brouhaha”
WRITER: Dan Slott
PENCILER: Joe Staton
INKER: Dave Hunt
COLORIST: Paul Becton
LETTERER: Jenna Garcia
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Harvey Richards
EDITOR: Joan Hilty
First, I looked up the names in the Scooby-Doo fan wiki for this issue because all we get are last names. Second: a full-length story? I wish this was the norm after this issue but I’m betting next issue it’s back to two stories an issue. Enjoy it while you can, folks.
Some of the fake monsters the Scooby gang have put away have been somehow sneaking out of Big City Penitentiary and rampaging through the city at night. The warden can’t seem to figure out how he did it, so the gang pretends to go bad to go undercover at the prison. Since this is a full-length issue which means I can do a full-length review, plus I can’t go over the review without spoiling the villain, so this paragraph is your spoiler-free review. The story features cameos by other Hanna-Barbera comedic crimebusters often referred to as Scooby “clones”, which you can make the case for with Goober & The Ghost Chasers, the Funky Phantom crew, and even Butch Cassady And The Sundance Kids (who unlike the others only appear to perform at the victory gathering since they were secret agents), but it’s a minor stretch when it comes to Speed Buddy and his friends, and a huge stretch when it comes to Blue Falcon and Dynomutt. They help round up the criminals while the gang exposes the true villain. We get a real estate agent who didn’t realize until now that his deal may have unknowingly inspired or aided the criminals and he vows to choose his clients better. And now the spoiler review. Jump to the recommendation if you don’t want the mystery ruined.
What they got right: I like that they got the other crime solvers in on this. I would have liked to have seen Clue Club or even Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels but I guess they only had so much room and I’d rather have BF and Dog Wonder if I had to choose while Goober and Funky Phantom are also more fitting choices. As a special 50th issue story this works rather well. As for all the criminals being in Big City, it could be the nearest prison to these particular cases while Coolsville (the town used in this comic and the name of their town until Mystery, Incorporated changed it to Crystal Cove for some reason) should be too small a town for their own prison, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo notwithstanding. See, I can say nice things about Dan Slott’s work when it’s good. And yet he still blocked me on Twitter for some reason.
What they got wrong: Nothing is perfect however, and I heard one review questioned how all the characters were in Big City but I’ll give that a pass for the sake of the story, as mentioned earlier. Here’s the spoiler and the big question I have: if the warden was in on it, why help the gang bust his own operation? And that’s assuming he didn’t call them here. I’d believe he was putting on a show for the guards but he basically scuttled his own plans to shut down the prison so he could cheaply buy the land for the uranium deposits underneath. Yes, it’s a nice swerve from the red herring real estate guy (not to be confused with Red Herring) but he kind of doomed himself.
Recommendation: As a 50th issue milestone story this works rather well and shows the benefit of a full-length story in these comics. I wish they’d change over to it but I’m not optimistic as of this writing. This is definitely an issue Scooby fans should be checking out.