"Scooby Apocalypse #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by DC Comics
Written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis
Illustrated by Howard Porter
Colored by Hi-Fi
2016, 24 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on June 15th, 2016
Scooby Doo and the gang are currently in a top secret bunker owned by the company that has caused the apocalypse right outside its doors. As they venture through this facility, they encounter others infected by this virus. This is not a dead rising scenario. These are real end-of-the-world type monsters of all shapes and sizes. The team has to find a way out of this place if they hope to survive and possibly reverse all this. That is easier said than done.
I was not initially impressed with the first issue of Scooby Apocalypse. It came off as pandering and a reboot that no one was looking for. This issue has swayed me a bit in the opposite direction. Writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis are taking this whole storyline very seriously. It's not played for comedy, although occasionally one of the characters will let out a signature catchphrase like “Ruh-Roh” or “Jinkies!”
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A big part of this newfound appreciation comes from Howard Porter's artwork. The monsters in this book are all unique. No two look alike and they're all terrifying. The virus has affected people in different ways. One guy has an octopus for a head. One woman is like a cross between a reptile and an insect. One scientist had his entire face replaced with rows upon rows of gnarly teeth. This is scary stuff.
The standout character by far is Daphne. She takes charge in a big way and shows that she's not afraid to do what has to be done if it means her and the gang's survival. Daphne is the Rick Grimes of Scooby Apocalypse. She's not a monster though. She realizes that her actions have consequences. Although these people in the bunker have been transformed into horrifying creatures, they were once human and they could be again. If any of these characters have a hope of getting out of this alive, it's because of Daphne.
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The thing about Scooby Apocalypse is that it's a pretty cool monster comic on its own. The fact that it stars the characters from Scooby Doo doesn't add anything to it in the way that Afterlife with Archie does. While we have decades of association with Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby, they're not the same people we saw on Saturday mornings all those years ago. They're gritty, realistic versions forced into a world filled with monsters. It's like The Dark Knight Returns version, but without the nuance that made that book so special. If this comic starred no-name characters, it would have the same level of enjoyment. As it stands, the creators are going to keep making references to stuff like the Mystery Machine almost like a wink to the audience. I half expect one of the monsters to be unmasked and for the Scooby Gang to reveal that it was the janitor all along.