Written by: Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis
Art by: Howard Porter, Hi-Fi and Nick J. Nap
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 25, 2016
When these Hanna-Barbera books were first announced, I called dibs on this one immediately. I am a big Scooby-Doo fan and the idea of the Scooby Gang fighting off the Apocalypse just seemed like an easy slam dunk. I mean, a similar thing worked for Archie, but I'm sure nobody at DC paid attention to that...wink, wink. Hey, who care if they are late to the "(Insert Title Here) meets the Walking Dead" party, at least they finally made it. Plus, they brought Scooby and Shaggy with them so it's just got to be the most fun since the invention of digital watches that look like Cylons, right? You may be very surprised as we jump into my review for Scooby Apocalypse.
It all starts with a cold open flashback with Velma doing something is Paris. While we eventually see what this scene is all about, I wondered more why Giffen and DeMatteis made me hat Velma after the first page of this comic. Maybe hate is a little too strong a word, but she came off as angry and very condescending and it left me scratching my head a bit.
We continue on with an introduction to Fred and Daphne and it suddenly hit me...this isn't fun at all!!! Why did Giffen and DeMatteis have to go and screw with things so much? This isn't the Scooby Gang, this is Daphne, a failing reality show host and Fred, her cameraman. Through their dialogue I learned that I kind of like Fred, but Daphne joins Velma in the "Mean Girl" category. I suspect that she is modeled more after the New 52 Lois Lane than anything else and that, my friends, is not good at all.
Of course, we then meet the big two...Shaggy and Scooby. I know the internet blew a gasket when the "hipster shaggy" image was released, but it really isn't a distraction. If anything, Shaggy is the best damn looking guy in all of comics. I don't know, maybe he's just my type, but Daaammmnnnn! He's also the shining light in this comic since we learn the most about him and he is just a good guy. Don't worry, I didn't forget about Scooby...it's just that the jury is out on him as far as I'm concerned. I am not a fan of this origin, but in the world created here, he fits and fits well.
So, now that we've met everyone, they have to come together somehow and that's where Daphne's television show and the thing Velma was doing at the start come into play and cause a convergence (don't worry DC fans, not THAT one) of sorts. The details are playfully kept a bit of a mystery, but Velma works for scientists who have developed a nanites and are planning on spreading a techno-virus to control the world. You know...EVIL STUFF!
The issue ends with the shit hitting the fan and really, is that any sort of a surprise? From the cliffhanger, there are more than just zombies in this here Apocalypse...something that fans of the Universal Monsters may really enjoy.
We then get a backup that shows "When Shaggy Met Scooby" and it's nothing that couldn't have been shown in the regular story in one flashback panel. It does do a good job of reinforcing the fact that Shaggy is a good guy and why he has a bond with Scooby, but even if it's new, it still feels redundant for some reason. Maybe because Scooby and Shaggy's friendship is the one thing that they didn't screw around with in this issue.
Why????? Why did Giffen and DeMatteis have to get all fancy and clever and try to make a more realistic and modern Scooby-Doo? I don't mean just Scooby, but everyone!!! I realize that this mini series needed an angle, but having the Scooby Gang in the middle of an honest to goodness monster apocalypse seemed like a good enough one to me. Instead, we get mostly unlikeable characters in a setting that seems designed to suck the fun out of every scene and that's the worst part...this book is not fun! Scooby-Doo = Fun! Scooby Apocalypse does not.
If you are familiar with the art in the original Justice League 3000, then you know exactly what you'll be getting here. That is a compliment, by the way. Howard Porter and Hi-Fi are given the task of putting a face to this story and it's dead on balls accurate. I still don't like the setting, but Porter and Hi-Fi do their job and make it pretty.
Bits and Pieces:
I love Scooby-Doo for so many reasons, but unfortunately, none of them are here. Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis seem more intent on proving they can build a better Scooby, but they left out the most important part...the fun. Howard Porter's art is outstanding, but it doesn't cover up for the .unlikeable characters and hum drum story. I had high expectations for this mini series, now I just hope I can get through next issue.