They’ve escaped a monster-infested underground base; now Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby have stumbled upon a desert ghost town which… doesn’t sound like a much more appealing place to visit.
Scooby Apocalypse #3: is it good?
Scooby Apocalypse #3 (DC Comics)
The team still-not-yet-called the Mystery Gang has escaped from the government facility and… are heading somewhere else. That’s pretty much the story synopsis for the third issue of Scooby Apocalypse as we get a flashback of the gang escaping and focus on some more characterization in the present. In comparison to the previous issues of the series, this one felt like it had less story going on in it. We didn’t even get to speculate more about the main mystery regarding what went wrong with the nanites. In a way, it’s a little disappointing, especially since the end of the last issue seemed like it was going to reveal something.
On the other hand, Scooby Apocalypse #3 makes up for it by putting most of its attention on the characters. This issue delves more into the psyche of each of them and how they’ve been handling all of the madness (outside of Scooby Doo, who still feels a little underutilized here). Daphne is suffering from shock of having to kill the mutated humans, Velma is slowly opening up to everyone, and Fred and Shaggy are trying to rationalize and stay grounded. The characterization gets pretty dark and heavy on the drama, more than any Scooby Doo property has ever attempted thus far (aside from the surprisingly entertaining Scooby Doo Project. However, despite it all, the characters ultimately shine through with Shaggy stepping up to save Daphne, Scooby Doo being incredibly loyal and throwing himself in the fray to save others, and Fred and Daphne reinforcing their strong, deep friendship.
The writing duo of Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis continue to improve ever so slightly with each passing issue. The characterization is getting better and feeling more appropriate for the Elsewords-esque characters, especially with Daphne and Fred (Velma is getting better). The dialogue has improved as well, sounding much more natural and less exposition heavy; there are the occasional moments where it’s off (like the bit were Shaggy brings up his experience with Buddhism), but it’s not often. The humor is getting better and the tone is getting a bit more consistent, doing a better job at balancing both the upbeat and dark nature of the comic. There’s still room for improvement of course, especially with the tone and crowbarring in some of the series’ famous catchphrases, but it feels like Scooby Apocalypse is starting to find its footing.
The artwork is split this time between series’ regular Howard Porter and now Dale Eaglesham. Porter draws the parts of the story in the present, while Eaglesham draws the flashback sequence. Like always, I find this approach works the best when you have the multiple artists each doing their own sections. They both work well here and I do like how the flashback scenes are outlined with a splatter effect to further differentiate the two. Porter’s artwork looks as good as always with regards to the layouts, the characters’ appearance (didn’t see any particularly bad foreshortening this time around), the monster designs, and detailing of the environment. Eaglesham is equally as good/even a little bit better in areas, especially in drawing the characters and getting their facial expressions down perfectly; he’s got a great sense of detail, conveys action pretty well, and his layouts flow wonderfully at points. The only thing that I didn’t like was how short he depicted Velma’s skirt and the fact that he actually drew in a panty shot with her because of that. Just so not appropriate at all, especially given the tone of the book.
Is It Good?
Scooby Apocalypse #3 is a subtle improvement over the last two issues. While lacking in the story department, it’s balanced by stronger characters, solid writing, and good artwork overall. There’s still plenty of work to be done, but now that gang has moved beyond the walls of the government facility, I’m eager to see them explore this new world.
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