[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Sholly Fisch
Artist: Dario Brizuela
How do you find a woman named the Voodoo Queen in the middle of a swamp? If you’re Scooby-Doo and Shaggy you start by running around terrified. Luckily, the rest of the gang took heart that Shaggy’s Uncle Chester is there to guide them through the Bayou. Finding the Queen is one thing, but taking down her zombies is going to require the help of the Swamp Thing.
The intro is just hilarious. The way the voice-over mimics the dark and ominous tone that is so often associated with Swamp Thing. By the time it ends, if you are not laughing at the way he is acting, you won’t understand why the rest of the gang is laughing so hard.
The fun thing about seeing a character like Uncle Chester is that it gives the reader a glimpse of the possible future. If Shaggy grew up and matured, he could enjoy life the way Chester does.
The gang gets caught trying to pretend they are zombies under the spell of the Voodoo Queen. But, because this is a bad plan, they get caught in a matter of seconds. When tries to argue that they really are zombies, the Queen answers that zombies can’t carry a conversation and they don’t wear ascots. I don’t know if she was more adamant about the conversation or the ascot.
When the Queen does actually catch the gang, they try to make an escape and there is a great moment when she says, “run after them like a bunch of mindless drones,” that is just hilarious.
This leads to another great moment when the mud they are running through begins to slow them down and Chester thinks that the looming shadow in the distance is a friend, but it turns out it is Solomon Grundy. For some reason, Grundy remembers them from way back in Scooby-Doo Team Up #6. I love when Shaggy responds by saying that the Joker doesn’t remember them and Gorilla Grodd does not remember them, so why does the terrifying swamp monster remember them.
Swamp Thing’s introduction explains everything even better than Clarissa, Explains It All ever could. Is that still a thing? Either way, when Swamp Thing does arrive he explains that wood has a long memory and that Grundy was created by the swamp. There is a really lovely description of his role as the avatar of the Green that is better than some of the adult versions of his character have tried to explain. Essentially, he can defeat Grundy because he is living wood, compared to the dead wood material that was used to create Grundy.
When the gang meets Abby, Shaggy assumes she is married to Uncle Chester, but the moment when she says that she is married to Swamp Thing is a textbook joke that ends the issue nicely.
I love the gang, and I know they are not always the brightest group of investigators. That said, it seemed really forced that they decided to try and pretend to be zombies in order to trick the Voodoo Queen into believing that they are part of her group.
When you get the chance to team up with the Swamp Thing and then add in a guest appearance from Solomon Grundy, it’s easy to get sloppy. But the team does a nice job of keeping the core elements of the characters in focus, and explain the mysterious origins and powers of two of DC’s most mythological figures. I thought this was polished and an example of storytelling for younger audiences that is entertaining without dumbing down the content.