For years the Scooby Gang investigated mysteries in television shows, movies and comics but DC’s latest reimagining of the Mystery Inc. is something new, bold and wonderful. From a creative team including Jim Lee (Batman: Hush), Keith Giffen (Justice League 3001), J M DeMatteis (Justice League Dark) and with art by Howard Porter (JLA) these meddling kids are going to need all the Scooby snacks they can get to take on a whole new post-apocalyptic world of mystery and imagination.
In the near future Doctor Velma Dinkley is a top scientist working on classified military research. One such project now threatens the safety of the world and her conscience cannot go along with that any longer. Accepting her fate in breaching national security she decides the public must know, but with her organisation monitoring lines of communication to mainstream media she is left with few options.
In desperation she contacts the host of a low-audience late night Mystery Show, Daphne Blake, seeking to expose what she and her organisation have been working on, and with lovelorn cameraman Fred in tow Daphne meets whistleblower Velma who tells her that among other dubious projects being conducted at the base is the augmentation and training of “smart dogs” for the military.
Sneaking out of the complex for the night is their handler Norville “Shaggy” Rogers and canine project reject subject 24602, better known to Rogers as Scooby-Doo. Failed for lacking the vicious nature they sought, Rogers has managed to keep the semi-intelligent dog from being destroyed.
Stumbling across Velma’s clandestine meeting Rogers agrees to keep their secret and she leads them all to a hidden bunker within the complex, the launch area for “Project Elysium,” the source of her concerns.
A plan to release nanites which would alter those infected to create a more peaceful population, the once altruistic intent changed to creating a docile, controlled human race to be ruled over but the activation of the project does not go as planned and rather than a peaceful planet it has mutated the population into a world of monsters.
The characters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer often referred to as the Scooby Gang it’s perhaps only right that the circle should return to where it started and the genuine Scooby Gang now find themselves facing genuine monsters in a darker world where historically in the safety of childhood there was never anything worse than a bad man in a mask, particularly as the premise appears to borrow from another of Joss Whedon’s plotlines, Serenity.
An exceptional reboot of classic heroes, Scooby Apocalypse offers beautiful artwork filled with sci-fi tech and dynamic scenes which help tell an adventurous story with great humour throughout, the above synopsis covering only the first two issues included in this anthology.
As with other reimaginings of recent years where trusted characters are placed in situations which never would have occurred to their creators, remaining faithful to who they were but given modern relevance, they are at once familiar but also richer than we have previously seen them, and struggling to stay alive in a post-apocalyptic world they are tested to their limit.
Beyond that, Scooby Apocalypse does more than simply reinvent the franchise with more action and great art. It gives the world physical monsters but brilliantly manages to keep that original ethos of Joe Ruby and Ken Spears alive, the underlying message remaining that behind every monster that ultimately there is a human responsible.
Scooby Apocalypse Volume One is available in trade paperback now collecting issues 1 – 6