Flowers for Algerdogs
Scooby Apocalypse #4
"Fur and Fangs!"
Courtesy of Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis & Howard Porter
Colors - Hi-Fi
Letters - Nick Napolitano
Edits - Brittany Holzherr & Marie Javins
Release Date: 08.17.2016
Cover Price: $3.99
When last we left the gang,,, they were well on their way to finally sorta kinda gelling as a unit... more importantly, they were on their way to me liking them! Can we go for two in a row?
Let's find out!
We pick up shortly after where we left off... that is to say, the vampire-looking fellow from the cliffhanger hasn't struck quite yet. Daphne's on guard duty and is shortly joined by Velma. The back and forth between these two characters is both intense and satisfying... if that makes any sense. Daphne just keeps chipping away at both Velma's facade and her hopeful narrative all throughout this issue... all the while Doc Dinkley just won't budge... until she does... more on that later.
The boys get some male-bonding in this issue as well. We learn that Fred and Daphne did at one point in their college days try to couple-up... but it just didn't work out. We can see from reading that both characters still harbor strong feelings toward one another, with a definite romantic vibe from Fred... Daphne, however, I'm not entirely sure. She seems to equate Fred with comfort, like without him around her life would be different, and not "good" different... he's certainly a net-positive in her life... and it seems as though she'd rather keep him in it than do without.
Scooby gets some time to shine... easily taking out the big bad from our cliffhanger, in what turned out to be an amazingly fun scene. We get all these terrifying monsters... who the crew takes out in less than a handful of panels. Whether this speaks to taking the wind out of our cartoony expectations or just that the team has accepted their fate and embraced a "get the job done" mentality, I'm not sure... but I dug it.
Let's stick with Scooby for a moment. We've been hearing ever since the start that he was the lowest ranking (ie. dumbest) dog in the "smart dog" project... which really makes you wonder what became of the rest of the mutts. That's answered here, and in a rather fun way to boot. We meet a crew of test-pups led by the one and only Scrappy-Doo. Scrappy's got a bit of a Flowers for Algernon thing going on, where he's hyper intelligent, while at the same time knows that his smarts ain't permanent. This is silly and compelling all at once, and adds another wrinkle to be revisited upon in a later chapter.
Now, onto Velma finally letting down her walls. I think we've been waiting for this since the start... or at least I've been. Ever since the open, Velma has maintained her innocence as well as the "good intentions" of the folks she worked for (The Four). It is only after being needled for so long that she finally begins questioning not only the intentions of her superiors but her own view of humanity. It's just a handful of offhanded remarks and a minor shedding of tears... but it was oddly powerful, for what it was.
Overall, I'm starting to like this book. Is it perfect? Hell no. Is it great? Nah. But is it fun? It's... getting there. There was a lot to like in this issue, if you're able to separate this crew from their celluloid source material... and perhaps even something to dig if you can't. The team is finally coming together, and I find myself actually not dreading next issue. I suppose what I'm trying to say is... this is the issue where I feel this series found it's heart.
Bits and Pieces:
Unexpected characterization, mystery, drama, intrigue, and dare I say... fun? The team and title are really coming together with this chapter, which reinforces the belief that this series will read a whole lot better in collected edition format. The bwa-ha-bros finally get a chuckle out of me, and Howard Porter and Hi-Fi deliver their usual top-quality visuals.