We have a little disagreement here at BoroughCon. Gary, who is in his mid-50s, is losing. He asked me to review DC Comics’s Scooby Apocalypse, claiming it’s a fun new take by two of his favorite comic book writers, Keith Griffen and J.M. DeMatteis.
“No,” he said, “This is not some dark, twisted version where Shaggy is selling crystal meth and Freddie is a porn star. They have fun with the characters, while updating them.”
If this is a “fun update,” count me out. Not as old as Gary, I didn’t watch the show when it originally aired in the ’60s. Still, I’ve seen almost every version of the show as well as the direct-to-TV movies, and this comic is a mockery that tries too hard. It could be that I just don’t like change when it comes to a classic, but I think it’s more that I don’t like bad change.
Let’s start with Shaggy. We all know that he’s a friendly, easygoing stoner. Here, they made him an annoying hipster who looks nothing like the original, iconic Shaggy. And Scoob? A science experiment gone wrong who has a love of emoticons. Ugh.
Daphne is no longer the damsel in distress who needs to be rescued regularly. She can take care of herself and she does the rescuing. The downside? Everything else about her. In the cartoon, Daphne was always cool and collected. Despite everything that happened, she was unflappable. Now, she’s a violent, wacky UFO chaser who gives up a serious news job to chase crazy stories for a low-budget cable station with a 3 a.m. time slot.
While Freddy Prinze’s slightly vain and dim Freddy from the movies was amusing, let us not forget in the cartoon he is the leader and keeps everyone focused. The Freddy in this comic makes the Freddy from the movies to be a cross between Einstein and Patton. The upside? He is the only character who bears any physical resemblance to the original.
And then Velma. Velma was the brains of the group, setting the trap and solving the mystery. Yeah, she was nerdy, but she always knew what was what. Velma could have given Sherlock Holmes a run for his money. But, Griffen and DeMatteis turned her into a ridiculous parody. They literally turned her into a geeky science gnome. Drawn as she is, Velma looks to be barely 4 feet tall. And rather than savvy, she’s naive. Sure, she knows science, but is completely unaware that she’s been enlisted into a shadowy group to launch the apocalypse.
In the opening book, Freddy and Daphne are tracking down a source with vital information at Burning Man. Underground is a vast mad/evil scientist lair, where Velma toils away in a reasonable degree of blissful ignorance, until she realizes something is not quite right. She reaches out to the crazy reporter, Daphne. Shaggy also works at the facility as a handler for all the dogs who have been experimented upon to increase their intelligence, and Scooby, while considered a scientific failure, is his favorite charge.
I could go on, but the comic is simply not interesting enough for me to do so. It’s a standard “things have been released transforming people into monsters” story with a not very interesting or likable “Scooby Gang” in the midst of it.
If you like Scooby-Doo, catch a rerun and avoid this mess.