Scooby Apocalypse #1
Written by: J.M. DeMatteis, Keith Giffen
Story, Jim Lee, Keith Griffen
Art: Howard Porter
Scooby Apocalypse, the centerpiece of DC’S new Hanna-Barbera Beyond line, aims to take Scooby & the gang to new heights. But is it worth your money? Let’s find out!
Velma Dinkley is part of a privately funded organization who is developing a techno-virus that infects people with nanites, weeding out their baser instincts and creating a more peaceful world. But the other scientists have more sinister motives. They plan on using the virus to destroy the population instead. Dinkley, planning on to blow the whistle on the organization’s plans, goes to meet with Daphne, star of the failing reality show Daphne Blake’s Mysterious Mysteries, and her cameraman Fred Jones. But Fred mistakes Velma for a mole person and knocks her out. Meanwhile Scooby-Doo and his handler Norville “Shaggy” Rogers are having a night out at the local Blazing Man festival. Scooby is part of a experiment that aims to create intelligent dogs for the military. But Scooby is considered to be a failure because he never developed the killer instincts the military was looking for. Scooby, sensing Velma is in trouble, runs off to find her with Shaggy not far behind. Velma takes all four of them down into the complex, explaining that the organization plans on using the virus to pacify humanity and that the military experiments on dogs are just a front for what’s really going on. But the nanites are suddenly activated, turning everyone into horrible monsters with only the five members of the Scooby Gang left untouched in the safe zone.
I think my biggest fears going into Scooby Apocalypse was that the characters wouldn’t be the characters we know and love. All my fears went away as I read the issue. This is a more realistic, more grounded Scooby gang. However not once do I feel they compromised the characters. Perfect example being Shaggy and Scooby. It’s impossible to get that Shaggy/Scooby dynamic wrong, and they nailed it here. Don’t let Shaggy’s beard and Scooby’s emoji device fool you. This is very much Shaggy and Scooby. I like their backstory here. Scooby being a genetic experiment is the best explanation we’ve gotten for why Scooby can talk(and yes, Scooby CAN talk in this). Shaggy is a laid back hipster who is Scooby’s handler. The backup story gives you a good sense of why Shaggy cares so much for Scooby and why he would stick his neck out for him. Speaking of Scooby’s emoji device, that could have easily been used as a crutch, but I thought they handled it pretty well. I just hope they don’t overuse it in future issues.
The rest of the gang fares well for the most part. I like Fred. I like Velma, even though she’s a more cynical version of herself(I can give that a pass). The only one I disliked was Daphne. She was overly angry throughout the issue and just came across as unlikable. That moment where she whams Fred in the face is so cringe-worthy. Maybe she’s just stressed out from her failing reality show, but I think that angle could have been handled better.
While Scooby Apocalypse #1 is heavy on the exposition, there is a lot of potuental here going forward. I like that this isn’t a straight up Scooby-Doo vs Zombies book. We’re gonna get a good variety of monsters for the gang to fight. I would also like to mention something that I’ve seen brought up in other reviews, that it takes itself too seriously. I don’t see it. Not once did I ever feel that it was being self-serious like other recent DC properties(cough”Batman v Superman”cough). In fact, we do get a moment of humor that’s taken right out of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo where Fred mistakes Velma for a mole man. So I don’t feel like the more serious tone was unnecessary. Other than that Daphne punching Fred moment, It all felt natural.
I think us Scooby fans can breathe a sigh of relief. DC hasn’t ruined Scooby-Doo. Scooby Apocalypse feels like what a more mature version of Scooby can be. The book is off to a great start.