Friday, February 3, 2017

Review for Scooby Apocalypse, Vol. 1 by Keith Giffen

Fred. Daphne. Velma. Shaggy. Scooby-Doo. Roaming the globe in their lime-green Mystery Machine, they've solved countless crimes and debunked dozens of sketchy supernatural shenanigans.
But what if the horror was real?
Something terrible has transformed our world, turning millions of people into mindless zombie hordes.
And only five people--well, four people and one mangy mutt--have the smarts, the skills and the sheer crazy courage to stare down doomsday.
Can these pesky kids and their canine companion--using every incredible contraption in their arsenal--defeat the evil that has overwhelmed planet Earth? We've got only one thing to say about that: ZOINKS!
From comics mastermind Jim Lee and the superstar creative team of Keith Giffen (JUSTICE LEAGUE 3001), J.M. DeMatteis (JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK) and Howard Porter (JLA) comes SCOOBY APOCALYPSE, a whole new spin on the most beloved paranormal investigators in history. Get ready to give Scooby Snacks a whole new meaning! SCOOBY APOCALYPSE VOLUME 1 collects issues #1-6.


As a fan of Scooby Doo and the gang from their very first incarnation throughout their evolution from cheesy goodness to romantic and angsty situations, I've always found comfort in the essential foundation of four friends and a dog solving mysteries.  There was always a sense of homecoming in the subtle humor and villains that were easy to identify that made everything right in my world.

With this modern take on the Scooby Gang almost everything is turned upside down as this unlikely team races to save the world from a virus run amok.  These characters have little similarity to their past incarnations as they're edgier and angrier.  From the very start they're at odds with one another, suspicious of Velma, and reluctant to count on each other to find a cure to the human mutations running rampant.  This time around Daphne's no longer "danger-prone" but more of a kick-ass heroine full of suspicions trying to resurrect a journalism career that had her falling from grace.  Fred's still enamored with her though and protects her every step of the way though he's not as physically capable as her. Unfortunately he doesn't have traps to count on in times of need, but he has another quirk just as endearing.  Velma's still the "smart one" here but is weighed down by depression, insecurities, and a desire to leave her mark on the world.  She's lonely, doubts that anyone could be her friend, and her life-long isolation had my heart aching for her. Shaggy's still portrayed as a hipster but with a harder edge courtesy of multiple tattoos.  He's a kindhearted soul, good with dogs and an asset to the government's program to turn canines into vicious weapons.  From the very start Shaggy becomes Scooby's guardian angel as Scooby's seen as a failure, too tender-hearted to be a killer canine.  What he does have though is nanotech that enables him to talk (which gives fans a clever reasoning behind his lifetime of being able to talk) and has him becoming a vital member to this ragtag group's journey through the zombie apocalypse.  Even the Mystery Machine is back, albeit in a much more militarized way.  It all adds up to a delightfully nostalgic wink to the past while setting itself firmly in the here and now.

This graphic comic is visually appealing with its blend of a dark landscape and bloody and gory creatures of the night.  Daphne's still dressed in purple and is a warrior woman full of anger towards Velma that got a bit old after awhile.  Just when you thought she formed a tenuous friendship with Velma she would once again rage. Fred's a good guy who finds himself forming a bond with Shaggy as they're both goofy and charming and they luckily have Daphne there to protect them.  Everyone's ultimately lucky to have Scooby as he's smart, strong, and not afraid to fight those creatures looking to harm his newfound friends.  This comic's main theme of a mutated virus creating flesh-eating creatures is one we've seen before and is handled well here, keeping me on edge with danger coming from around every corner.  The mystery behind who dispensed the virus, and if there's a cure, hangs over the entire story and drives the gang on while ramping up the suspense.  The villainy is not only relegated to those who dispensed the virus though, but also to a character familiar to long-time fans which was a clever twist that had me smiling.  It further puts the gang in jeopardy at a time where their burgeoning friendships are on fragile footing.  All in all I found this a captivating read, visually stimulating, with a modern storyline that kept me furiously turning the pages and desperate for more as readers are left hanging after a jaw-dropping reveal.

My rating for this is a B+/A-

*I got this graphic comic from NetGalley for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

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