Friday, May 20, 2016

Scooby Apocalypse #1

 DC reinvents Scooby-Doo as a grimdark epic.....

 I've been curious about this book, thanks to the internet outrage over what DC has done to the beloved cartoon characters. I have no dog in this fight, because I do not currently, nor have I ever, been able to stomach Scooby-Doo. So when DC offered me a preview of the first issue of SCOOBY APOCALYPSE #1, I thought I'd roll the dice and see what it was all about.

 I was slightly more enthusiastic about the chances of my enjoying the book when I saw the creative team in the credits. The book is written by the classic team of Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis, and illustrated by Howard Porter. The bad news is that Porter, probably best known for his work on JLA with Grant Morrison, has adopted a new art style that is vaguely reminiscent of Jim Lee, who contributes the cover art and character designs. (Blame him for hipster Shaggy, internet!) The art is good, but I preferred Porter's old style. The team of Giffen and DeMatteis are as crazy-wordy as ever...I didn't mind it so much when they were doing the JUSTICE LEAGUE books, but since I don't particularly care for the Scooby-Doo characters, I found myself frequently checking to see how many pages the preview had left.

 The good news is that Giffen and DeMatteis do a nice job of introducing the characters and laying out the basic storyline in this first issue. Scooby is a failed "Smart Dog" prototype, created by a scientific think-tank, and Shaggy is his trainer. Velma is a slightly sinister whistle-blower employed (Or is she...?) at the think-tank, and Fred and Daphne work on a little-seen cable true-supernatural-encounters-type-show.

 The think-tank scientists have been seeding the world with nanobots, supposedly to infect mankind and phase out our self-destructive tendencies, but, since this is a Scooby-Doo story, there's a more sinister motive underlying the plan.....

 I'm not sure that the world has been crying out for a gritty reboot of Scooby-Doo, but since the old-school Scooby-Doo seems to still be alive and kicking, both at DC Comics and in the cartoons, I don't really see why fans are getting so riled up. That said, this was a decent read, probably a 6 out of 10, but there really wasn't enough good here to make me want to pick up the second issue, especially at $3.99 an issue.

 The first issue has about thirty pages of story- the main story, and a short back-up that shows Scooby's first meeting with Shaggy. The first issue features a Jim Lee Cover, and has variant covers by Howard Porter, Dan Panosian, Neal Adams, Joelle Jones, and Ben Caldwell.

 DC Comics provided a review copy.