Daphne Blake, the host of the low rating late night cable show Daphne Blake's Mysterious Mysteries, gets a hot tip from a whistleblower from a top secret research project that threatens the survival of the human race. She and her cameraman, Fred, are at the 'Blazing Man' festival to meet the whistleblower, where they run into Norville "Shaggy" Rogers, a kind-hearted hipster dog trainer and his charge Scooby Doo, a prototype "smart dog" who is able to talk. Together they follow the whistleblower, Dr Velma Dinkley, into a secret underground facility, where they learn that her employers have released nanites into the global population which, when activated, will transform humankind, and not for the better.
Scooby Apocalypse is a light-hearted, fresh take on the characters from the old Scooby Doo cartoons. It was created by Jim Lee (of Batman: Hush and Superman: For Tomorrow). In a huge departure from the source material, it features Daphne, Fred, Shaggy, Velma and Scooby fighting actual monsters in a post-apocalyptic world.
Shaggy and Scooby.
Velma- a brilliant scientist with a dark past, who is at least partially to blame for the nanite plague that has caused ordinary people to turn into monsters.
Daphne- Has a sort of Fox Mulder thing going on, having ruined her journalistic career and made herself a laughing stock by refusing to "sell out" and focusing on stories about unexplained phenomena. She is also a bit of a crack shot with a rifle. Fred - Fred doesn't really have much of a personality, he just follows Daphne around like a lovesick puppy and keeps proposing to her, only to be turned down over and over.
Shaggy- Now a tattooed hipster, but otherwise pretty much the same old Shaggy, fond of pizza, sleeping and his best friend Scooby. Scooby - The runt of the litter of the "smart dogs", who was picked on by the others until Shaggy's intervention. He wears a headset that allows his thoughts and feelings to be represented by visible icons, which helps to clarify his less than clear speech. While Scooby in the cartoons was always a coward, this version of him is surprisingly brave when it comes to fighting monsters.
The upgraded Mystery Machine.
The Mystery Machine (not a character, but still iconic)- It has had an upgrade- "it may look like a van but it drives like a tank"- and is now equipped with powerful weapons. Scrappy Doo - The leader of the other surviving smart dogs, and wants to track down the surviving scientists and get himself and the other dogs upgraded before their implants stop working and they regress into ordinary dogs. Picture a doggy version of Roy Batty from Bladerunner.
There is plenty of action and fighting of monsters, though they are very cartoonish and not too scary. The background story about the Nannite plague is a little convoluted, and not fully explained in this volume, leaving plenty of plot to get into in later issues. The art is great, especially the covers, which made me giggle.
Some of the scarier looking monsters.
You might well ask why the comic's creators felt it necessary to make a post-apocalyptic reboot of Scooby Doo (or a gritty reboot of Archie, The Flintstones, The Jetsons or Wacky Races, all of which also exist). I can't answer that, but wondering the same thing is basically what lead me to pick the book up. Scooby Apocalypse may irritate fans of the cartoon since it does change a couple of fundamental things, like Scooby's cowardly nature, but they may also just be pleased to see the characters get a new lease on life. Scooby Apocalypse is a fun, easy to read comic, that might make a nice change from more serious fare. It is pointless and silly, but if, like me, you sometimes find joy in pointless silly things, you may just get a kick out of it.