Rating: 3.5/5 – An Updated Take on a Classic Group of Characters.
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
Scooby Apocalypse has generated a lot of mixed emotions from both fans and from myself since it was first announced and the cover image was released. The cover seen above definitely takes an updated approach to the characters with Shaggy having the hipster beard, Daphne and Velma using futuristic technology, and Scooby wearing some type of device that generates bubble-like emojis. While I definitely didn’t like the cover as I just don’t think Jim Lee’s style woks for these characters, I was in the wait and see camp as I’ve always loved the cartoon and have seen what the right creators can do with a classic property like the Archie and/or Jughead books that have been given a modern twist.
After reading this first issue of Scooby Apocalypse, I again came away with mixed emotions. Let’s start with the good: Howard Porter’s art is really strong and I would say that it’s cleaner and less scratchy than his most recent work on Justice League 3000, possibly due to Keith Giffen providing the breakdowns. Although I may not love some of updates to the character designs and their older ages (mid to late twenties?), Porter makes the most of them and gives each of them a distinct appearance and although Scooby has that weird “google glass” contraption over his right eye, I enjoyed his interpretation of him. The colors are bright and pop off the page, but the lack of blacks and shadows made this feel much more like a sci-fi story than a horror story.
Writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis have taken Jim Lee’s updated concept of the characters and crafted a story that I didn’t think was great, but it wasn’t bad either. I know that’s not the best description, but I walked away after reading this with little emotion either way. This isn’t the cartoon. It’s much smarter and it’s nice to have a more sophisticated read, but at the same time it felt as though that the writers felt the need to over explain everything. For example, when watching the cartoon when I was a kid or even watching them now, I never questioned why or how Scooby talked. It wasn’t important to my enjoyment of the show. In this issue we get an origin of Scooby and his abilities to talk, and it just seemed unnecessary. Not only that, but there’s plenty of science throughout that slows the story down and while the end result of that science produces an ending I was genuinely excited about, the journey to get there felt like a chore at times.
I would still recommend this to Scooby-Doo fans, I think it’s an interesting take on the characters, but you’re enjoyment of this interpretation of them may vary. Although we got an origin for Scooby, he still had his lovable personality. Although I didn’t love some of the design updates to the characters, Porter’s art is really fantastic. Although I didn’t love the heavy dose of sci-fi themes in the story, the ending gave me hope for a more traditional take on the characters. So…I’ll be back for a second issue and hope that it makes more of a connection with me.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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