Scooby Apocalypse #1
Writer: Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis
Penciller & Inker: Howard Porter
Letterer: Nick J. Nap
Editor: Marie Javins
A review by Amelia Wellman
Velma is a scientist working for a shady, secret operation. Daphne and Fred work for a used to be popular television show about mysteries and conspiracies. Shaggy’s a hipster dog trainer. Scooby is a failed scientific experiment.
When Velma discovers that she’s been played and her work is going to be used for purposes other than what she made it for, she seeks out Daphne and Fred for an exposé. Shaggy and Scooby, who are sneaking around the nearby Burning Man festival, end up in on it when Scooby senses danger and rushes to help. Velma leads the group into the underground base but, surprise surprise, something goes terribly wrong.
If it weren’t immediately obvious, Scooby Apocalypse is not the Scooby Doo that you grew up with. These are not the meddling kids that stumbled into mysteries about guys in masks looking for hidden treasure. This is a group of adults that have never met before now and are being thrown into an end of the world situation. There’s no cheap plastic masks here, issue one shows us a world not so different from our own that turns into a Hellscape (with a decided nod to the classic era of Scooby Doo leading into issue two).
The Hellscape I’m totally cool with. As a lifelong Scooby Doo fan, it’s the fact that they’re not all friends that bothers me. At first it seemed like Scooby Apocalypse was going for a Zombie Island feel, where they’d grown up and gone off to live their own lives. But this is a universe in which Fred met Daphne through the production of her television show and Shaggy met Scooby through scientific animal testing. The story that’s being told is intriguing (having to do with nanites and possible world domination) but without the dynamic of their friendship it’s bizarre and a little off-putting. Although I’m glad that each character is still (more or less) in character to how we’ve come to know them, if not a little one-note so far.
The art of Scooby Apocalypse is going for realism within a universe that’s meant to be anything but. It’s kind of creepy, especially in regards to the eyes. There’s just something about Fred’s wide open eyes that put me off. However, I did find that to compensate for the realism in the character models, that it’s a very colourful comic and the action is shown in a cartoony way. A specific example of that being a punch that Daphne delivers to Fred’s face in an explosion of stars.
Wait and see. I’m surprising myself with this verdict. I’m crazy for Scooby Doo (I have a podcast dedicated solely to the Scooby Gang and their adventures) and yet I’m not immediately crazy for this. I’m willing to extend some faith for a Scooby Doo project developed by Jim Lee though, and am eagerly looking forward to issue two!