Written by Scott Clifford
The Scooby Doo gang has been an iconic line-up for the Hanna-Barbera series of cartoons for decades. These meddling kids have been uncovering weird guys (and gals) in monster suits ever since Fred learned how to tie his ascot. After going through many cartoons as well as comic book series, we’re all wondering how many more weirdos still feel like skulking around in cheap B-movie monster suits. What if the monsters were real and what if everyone knew how Scooby Doo could talk? The result is Scooby Apocalypse, a cyberpunk, post-apocalypse reimagining of the Scooby Doo universe where the Mystery Machine is a heavily armored vehicle instead of a hippy van. As crazy as it sounds, it’s really enjoyable. Read on to find out why issue three should hook you into the entire series.
The comic opens up in media res (ooh—storytelling terms!) with the gang trying to escape a top-secret research facility where monsters created by a nanite plague are trying to rip the gang apart. Shaggy, with a badass hipster beard, struggles to drive the Mystery Machine. Velma, with huge Mad Max style glasses, rides shotgun while trying to deal with the fact that she may have inadvertently helped cause the plague in the first place. Daphne, the investigative reporter, hides her feelings for Fred by pushing all of the blame on Velma. Speaking of Fred, he’s passed out in the back due to being attacked by monsters while escaping the crazy research lab. We then flash forward with the Scooby Gang dealing with the consequences of their actions and figuring out what to do next. By the end of the issue, the audience has learned how they got out of the complex in the past while seeing Fred wake up in the present due to recovering from his injuries. The gang tries to gather supplies at an abandoned grocery store before we see a monster open a door and the issue dramatically ends on a cliffhanger. Dun, dun, DUNN! Boy that was a quick but that’s because this is a comic book and not a movie or television episode. With that in mind, let’s focus on the art.
I’m not a fine artist of any sort so I may not be the best judge here but I’m a big fan of most of the character re-designs in this series. Daphne is given a much “harder” look in order to make her more of the leader instead of the damsel in distress. In contrast, Fred looks like he’s right of a nineties video game who is just trying to fit in. This makes sense since he was a failed B-movie actor before meeting Daphne in this universe. Velma still wears that orange skirt but I wished that I could see her eyes a bit more through her Max Max style glasses and Shaggy just looks badass in my opinion. Scooby looks more realistic and seems to have a cyber eye thrown on him so we can believe that he is a military experiment. I guess that it works but I don’t know how I feel about it yet. I also suppose that the colors “pop” well enough but I get this feeling in the back of my mind that they played everything super safe. All in all, I like the artwork though.
The writing is passable but has way too much exposition and almost feels as if the writers didn’t have enough confidence in the artwork to tell a story on its own. A classic example of this is when Daphne drones on for a few pages about how she sees herself as the “strong one” and wants to be a true leader to the rest of the gang. Talking about it is one thing but Daphne’s body movements and reactions throughout the issue show how she’s struggling without going on about it for what feels like days when reading through the comic. I also don’t believe that the gang would discuss Buddhist philosophy while dozens of monsters are literally trying to rip their flesh off. That’s something you do in the van while you recover from PTSD as Daphne drones on about being a leader in the background. Speaking of PTSD, I understand the desire to reference the original series with exclamations of zoinks, jinkies, etc. but if this is going to be a darker story (which it already is) then let’s just stick with that tone in the future without the constant callbacks. All of that critque aside, the story did a good job of keeping me engrossed and wanting to read the next issue so that’s nice.
This review is starting to get longer than the comic so let me wrap this up. Read Scooby Apocalypse. You may not feel confident enough to tell the public that you’re reading it but that’s fine. It’s a refreshing change of pace and that’s more than enough of a reason to go for it.
Score: 7.5 out of 10? Yeah sure, why not?