Scooby Apocalypse, Issue #1 Review

Scooby Apocalypse (2016-) 001-000Title: Scooby Apocalypse, Issue #1
Author: Kevin Griffan, Jim Lee
Artist: Howard Porter
Publisher: DC Comics
Language: English
Genre: Horror 
Release Date: May 25, 2016
Pages: 32

After a secret government agency plans to infect the world with nanobots, one of their scientists, Velma Dinkley, wishes to save the world in order to stop the potential catastrophe. In order to do this, she acquires the help of a former news reporter Daphne Blake and her cameraman, Fred Jones, so they could expose the truth. Joining the gang are Velma’s friends, Shaggy, dog trainer, and everyone’s lovable talking dog Scooby. After Velma guides the gang through the top secret facility, it appears their efforts were in vain and the Apocalypse already started.

Story

If readers are fond of light-hearted detective series, then they would be sadly mistaken. They will find this comic to be very jarring, especially if said readers are Scooby-Doo fans.

Both Kevin Griffin and Jim Lee are best known for their art in the comic industry; however, it seems writing may be a weakness. Griffin and Lee do have some good ideas for this story, such as how the Apocalypse starts, Velma’s involvement with a secret organization and how she met the others. The first half of the comic is decent as it shows a new origin as to how the Mystery Inc gang came together in this universe. While it is interesting, it would have been preferable if Shaggy and Scooby’s origin was put in the beginning of the comic instead of the end as a short prologue.

While the ideas may be decent, the execution is far from satisfying. The first half introduces the main cast, but half of them come off as very unlikable and it is a pain to follow them. The second half of the story is rather boring and tedious as Velma sneaks the gang into the facility and explains the purpose of the organization, why she brought them here, and what will end the world. It’s a non-stop exposition and it could have been acceptable if the action of the never named secret organization was shown through the art, such as with flashback sequences. It is a classic case of “show, don’t tell,” and this comic favors exposition instead of sequential story telling.

The idea as to what started the Apocalypse was interesting and it is a nice break from the traditional “end of the world” scenarios such as zombies or nuclear fallout. The type of apocalypse scenario featured in this comic is befitting of the Mystery Inc gang since it is a monster apocalypse, although, because of the heavy exposition, the build up to the start of the end of the world was not as shocking or satisfying.

This series is clearly a very serious story and not something someone would expect. This first issue of Scooby Apocalypse is deprived of levity and a Scooby-Doo series with absent comedy is disappointing. With all the exposition, characters bickering, and some uncomfortable images, Shaggy and Scooby’s usual brand of humor would have been greatly appreciated.

Characters

Most characters are actually jarring to see, even with the nostalgia filters off. Velma is portrayed as a self-important, know-it-all, who lacks social graces and Daphnie and Fred are more of an arguing couple – with Fred being the weaker one in the relationship and even abused. The characters are given time to explain their history to give some context as to why they seem this way, but it does not feel satisfying or make them any more likable when they mostly bicker or belittle one another.

The only ones who seem to be in character are Shaggy and Scooby, Shaggy being protective of his best friend, questioning the situation, and Scooby being the adorable dog that he is. Scooby’s stand out moments are when he appears as an attack dog for a second to protect Velma and then returning to a shy canine. For a moment, Scooby was shown to be a bit braver, which might be interesting to see when he goes up against a monster.

It would have been nice to see Shaggy and Scooby’s good-hearted personalities shine more if the comic did not decide to enter heavy, mind-numbing amounts of exposition. The second half of the comic mostly consists of Velma giving her back story, explaining the purpose of the secret organization and their plan. The sequence is so uninteresting that it invokes boredom and a desire for something to happen. This second half of the comic is the most tedious part, and it has the potential to stifle any enthusiasm for readers to keep picking up the book. A classic violation of “show, don’t tell,” in relation to storytelling.

In addition, there is a scene that does a decent job of showing how much of a good guy Shaggy is; however, it is unnecessary to see, and it has the potential to make readers hate this comic. Furthermore, the image of Scooby being beaten, scratched and nearly mauled by other dogs may be unlikable. It is a short scene and from a story perspective, it does show how good-hearted Shaggy is and how they became friends, but it is indeed a sad, if not cruel, to see someone as adorable as Scooby-Doo, be hurt.

Art

The art by Howard Porter does have a couple of standout moments, such as with attack dog Scooby, the background, and the ending, although, often times, the character models look disproportionate and awkwardly posed. The most noticeable flaw in the artwork is the proportion of the character’s heads compared to their bodies, and it is rather distracting.

The headset for Scooby, at first glance, appears as though it was going to be how Scooby would communicate; however, Scooby is still able to speak in his classic accent, thus making the headset unnecessary.

Final Word

Even with the nostalgic glasses off, as a first issue, it does not do much of a sufficient job trying to entice readers to pick up the next issue. The first half of the comic introduces the characters, most of who can get on the reader’s nerves, and the second half is a mind-numbingly boring exposition dump. If readers were to pick up this comic, it is strongly advised to not view with a nostalgic feeling as it will only enhance to flaws and make the read even more uncomfortable. If readers are looking for Scooby-Doo’s usual comedic moments, this comic has none of it.

Zoinks! Run Scoob!

Summary

If readers are fans of Scooby-Doo, then the first half might be even more painful when introducing the main cast with most of them bickering, belittling one another, and basically being unlikable. Even if readers are not fans of the Mystery Inc gang, the comic does not have an excitement factor when half of it is boring dialogue and exposition.

  • Ru-Roh!
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About The Author

Julius Cantara

Julius Cantara is an avid comic book, anime and cartoon enthusiast who also a budding journalist native to the beautiful island of Guam. Julius has also worked for several publications as a reporter, covering a variety of stories. When he isn't being a journalist he is immersed in adventurous stories of spandex-sporting, caped crusaders battling dastardly villains.