Plot & Breakdowns: Keith Giffen
Dialogue by: J. M. DeMatteis
Pencils & Inks: Howard Porter
DC Comics is breathing some amazingly illustrated new life into this group of meddling kids that every generation can relate to and fall in love with, all based on a concept by Jim Lee. Nothing says current culture and trends better than the apocalypse does, so of course to bring the old 1969 Hanna-Barbera to the modern age let give it the Apocalypse treatment. Scooby Apocalypse will not only feature a story that revolves around an the end of the world, but these characters get a very shiek and fresh new take on their old outdated models.
Daphne is still the “pretty face” character type as she is the host of a crappy time slotted TV show that tries to debunk the paranormal along with her faithful camera man Fred who never leaves her side. Fred keeps his ascot and white shirt, but adds a seriousness to his actions that makes him more than just the goody-two shoes, trap setter of the Mystery Inc. incarnations of the past. Velma is now a doctor and one of 5 genius minds that are at work in a secret military installation before she goes rogue and wants to expose the organization for their soon to be apocalyptic plague of Nano-tech they are going to unleash to “cleanse” the world of aggression and violence, placating the entire population.
Dr. Dinkly plans on exposing her employers to Daphne and the general public. Velma still looks young but her advanced title and ranking within the nefarious organization suggest she is much more mature. Finally, the ever favorite pair of Scooby and Shaggy. Scooby is much more realistic looking in his canine features. They explain away him talking and everyone being able to understand him, by having him be the first test subject to become a “smart dog,” he also has a little gadget on his head that allows him to project what he is thinking, which ends up being food (Classic Scoobs!). By him being the first test subject, he is of course obsolete in the eyes of the same mysterious military organization that Velma works for. His trainer, a goatee sporting Shaggy, puts his life on the line to keep Scooby from just being thrown to the newer model “smart dogs”, thus bringing the gang all together in what feels to me like a very well planned and thoughtful manner.
The new careers, older faces and same core personalities make this Scooby Doo title a story that I can see having a long run even after the initial arc is completed. The illustrations and variant covers really give you the feeling that this isn’t a comic about just taking the mask off a corrupt ski mountain owner trying to steal gold. Velma makes it very clear the potential this Nano-plague has and what it will do to the entire world. The apocalypse is primed to start any moment as the world has already been exposed to the plague, it just hasn’t been activated yet. Which brings us to the end of the first issue where the gang coincidentally makes its way into a “safe room” where they will be locked away from the plague as it activates and takes over the world.
I have been so excited to read this comic, that I made sure to take my time and read each panel and enjoy each interaction between characters. There is a lot of dialogue in this first issue, but the creative team is setting up an entire new world using familiar faces. Though the Mystery Inc. gang stays pretty much the same, they carry a much more serious tone and are illustrated to fully convey that notion. DC Comics has really done an amazing job with this comic. The creative team behind this first issue did an amazing job keeping the identity of the Scooby Doo gang constant and familiar while re-vamping a product to be in the here and now. It is great to see that the end product is clearly a Scooby Doo theme with the same tropes as you would expect, just with a more serious and well-illustrated tone.