Written By: Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis
Art By: Howard Porter - Colored By: HI-FI
Just like Future Quest before it, Scooby Apocalypse aims to take a much-loved franchise and reinvent it for a new audience. With issue #1, writer Keith Giffen and artist J.M. DeMatteis are certainly off to a promising start.
In this interpretation of the Scooby gang, Thelma is a scientist at a top secret and privately funded scientific facility. There is no gang yet so to speak, but Thelma is at the heart of what brings the crew together for the first time. Early on we meet Daphne and Fred, a TV star and her cameraman respectively, who find themselves in search of ratings. This leads them to Velma's doorstep so to speak.
It's here that we first see the interchanging personalities, as Fred takes on more of a Shaggy role, being the somewhat clumsy but well-meaning Knight in shining armor. He means well but is more likely to hit someone accidentally with his camera than successfully defend someone's honor. Daphne is more in what used to be Fred's role, and in fact, both women are delightfully depicted as the strongest characters amongst the group, something that doesn't happen all that often.
Of all of them, though, I think I'm happiest with Shaggy's transformation. When images of the redesign first surfaced, he had the looks of a prototypical stoner, but his execution in Apocalypse is much more nuanced. He's a bit naive, but he isn't played like a fool and has a readily apparent tenderness, which perfectly segues into Scooby.
Scooby is the heart of the book, which most of you probably already knew. What Giffen does best in issue #1 is stay away from overplaying Scooby's admittedly adorable catchphrases ad nauseam. The pup will pop up here and there, and maintains a continuous presence without having a line in every single scene. This works to the betterment of the book overall, and Giffen expertly works in the other cast members trademark lines as well, but again, he keeps it to a minimum.
While the writing genuinely surprised me, the art is more of a mixed bag. J.M. DeMatteis style suits certain characters extremely well, such as Shaggy, Scooby, and Velma, who's tweaked look I absolutely love. While I enjoy the redesigns of both Daphne and Fred, the art throughout on these two just doesn't compare well to the rest of the book. It could be just personal preference, but every time these two were on the page, they get lost a bit amidst the other characters. While I had some issues with issue 1 art wise, I do hold out hope for future issues to improve considerably , as that last page of the issue looks phenomenal, and more of that is certainly a good thing.
I have to admit, I didn't hold out much hope for this book when it was announced, but just like Future Quest before it, the team has done an admirable job at bringing some new relevance to these classic characters, and giving fans who love the property something new to bite into.
Rating: 4 out of 5