Scooby Apocalypse #6
"The Secret History of Velma Dinkley"
Writers - Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis
Pencillers - Howard Porter & Wellington Ives
Inker - Scott Hanna
Color - Hi-Fi
Letters - Travis Lanham
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: 10.12.2016
If you were collecting comics in the late 1980's into the early-to-mid 1990's, you likely evolved that keen sense of identifying "key" issues... due in no small part to the proliferation and eventual ubiquitous presence of comic book price guides. Of course #1 issues and first-appearances were king... however, there was another type of "key" issue which the Wizards and Overstreets liked to promote as being worth your inflated comics dollar... the origin story. Often abbreviated to "O" in the guides, the origin story would shed some light on the skateyeight hundred shadowy and mysterious supertypes in the grim, gritty, and speculatory era.
Today we're going to take a look at and discuss one such contemporary issue, when Scooby Apocalypse takes a break to reflect on the life and times of Ms. Velma Dinkley.
You ever wonder why a person acts the way they do? I know I have... and quite often do. Today we get an, in my opinion, much-needed break in the apocalyptic action and sit 'round the learning tree for some time with Velma.
It really shouldn't come as a surprise that Ms. Dinkley didn't fit in as a child or adolescent. She had the distinct handicap of being born both better and broken... try saying that three times fast. Fresh from the womb she was something of an intellectual. Her parents were a rather contentious couple... mom was a depressive and dad thought tiny Velma was too weak to survive. She has four brothers... none of which ever had time or interest in her. She even came up with a special name for her siblings... The Four. Hmm... more on them in a bit.
Velma's school life wasn't what she'd hoped for. While she excelled... to the point of earning something along the lines of a half-dozen Doctorates before hitting 20... she had a real challenge adapting to meet some/all of the social requirements of being a co-ed. She appears to have something of a narcissistic streak in her, which is one of those signs of having spent too much time with oneself. She feels superior... and in many ways she is, however, when one feels the need to announce that to the world... there's something not quite right.
She reflects on a story of the only friend she'd ever had. It was an equally-awkward bookish girl who she met at her exclusive school. They had many of the same interests... however, when her gal-pal had the nerve to return to school after summer break with a brand new set of boobies and a boyfriend waiting for her at home, Velma threw a fit. She couldn't handle the fact that her friend was growing... not only academically, but as a person... and rather than process and deal with it, she cut ties completely.
Then... we've got The Four. Velma and her brothers had something of a reconciliation while she was staying at a behavioral health unit. She had a bit of an emotional breakdown while working on a four-year long solo project at the South Pole, where she learned there is such a thing as too much solitude. The family decided to go into business together... something in the science sector, where they could affect positive change in the world.
Perhaps most importantly, we learn here that Velma had a much larger role in the current apocalyptic events than she'd let on... as it was her formula that started the ball rolling. She's not completely with guilt, however, as her brothers tampered with her work to change her "help humanity" Elysium Project into something far darker.
From the very start I believed that the characters were what I wasn't enjoying about this book, yet here we have an entire issue of nothing but character, and I thought it was great. I'm starting to wonder if it's the situation that I don't dig. Or maybe just the way the characters conduct themselves in it. Either way, I'm now looking forward to maybe getting a flashback for the other three human gang-members.
I appreciated the opportunity to "catch my breath" with this one. Just as all work and no play make Jack a dull boy... all blasting, guilt-tripping, and in-fighting makes Scooby Apocalypse a dull book.
Bits & Pieces:
Perhaps the strongest issue of this series to date. While it did border a tad on cliche, it allowed us to see what makes one of the more conflicted characters in the book tick. The fill-in art does not look out of place, it actually does a wonderful job of keeping up with Mr. Porter. Again, I'd be remiss not to mention the excellent color work from Hi-Fi.