-Post contains spoilers-
It’s the end of days; monsters reign. Literally!
No longer are the ravenous monsters wandering the land, seeking out only their next feasts. Now they are intelligent, civilized, and obedient life forms subservient to Queen…Velma?
This is maybe the second time in the series the cover art has actually reflected the contents of an issue. Well, the cover art I chose to feature, anyway. It’s always bugged me how the cover art seemed to be just random shots of the gang in apocalyptic settings. They were always fun to look at, but I also kept wishing they connected to the story contained within the glossy outer pages. But you’re not reading this article for me to go off on a tangent about my cover art predilections. . . Or are you?
The start of this issue is quite shocking given the last issue left off with Velma revealing her secrets to the gang before absconding into the unforgiving world alone. In the unknown span of time between her Motel 6 departure and this issue, she’s totally come to terms with, and even embraced, her role in the nanite plague. She’s upgraded all the monsters to possess speech and (more) intelligent thought, granting her an army to command. She wants nothing more than to exterminate humanity and its vices for good. And she plans to accomplish that while wearing quite revealing pieces of armor and leather that seem like on Velma is the last place they would belong.
Did I mention Magilla Gorilla is working for Velma? Because he totally is.
While Velma asserts her new totally-not-dominatrix personality over Daphne within her kingdom (queendom?) of Monstrovia, the remainder of the old gang is on watch duty at humanity’s last remaining outpost. They’ve apparently teamed up with one of Velma’s brothers, and together they’ve been leading the remnants of humanity in a bid for survival. But now they’re on the eve of a clash with Velma’s monster armies in what could be the humans’ final battle.
Chris Batista provides the bulk of the art this time around. His art leans on the simpler side like Wagner’s, but it still carries a distinctly rough feel to it. The characters appear less gritty but they don’t come off as comically out of place as they did in Issue 8. They even seem more expressive than usual, as I especially found many of Shaggy’s smirks and concerned looks to appear more realistically human than ever before. While Porter uses extra lines for detail purposes, Batista utilizes them more so to give texture to the world, providing this dystopian future with a hardened exterior that seems to permeate the setting.
It may not be the series’ strongest display, but this issue is full of smart, dynamic writing. It’s an unexpected twist for things to have spiraled this far during the timeskip, and it’s a letdown that we don’t get to see the events that led up this state of the world. But if you can get over the initial shock, the series will still prove its capable of being just as funny as it is depressing through nuances.
Now that that’s out of the way. Stop reading if you hate spoilers. Seriously, just give this article a five-star rating and then close the browser tab.
I warned you.
Major spoiler for this issue.
Here it is.
This whole issue, barring the last two pages, is a dream.
Crazy, right? But it’s pretty obvious after the first couple of pages that something’s off. Velma wouldn’t just go from being wrought with guilt to being openly sadistic about Project Elysium. So yeah. Not canon. All dream.
And I’ll be honest, if this whole scenario were something we had built up to, then this execution would actually be pretty decent for a pre-climax scene. Shaggy and Fred (and Scooby) engage in strong exchanges while discussing the fate of humanity, and we finally see the former display something akin to anger, though it is out of concern. Scooby’s new dynamic as a wise-cracking philosophical genius is comical, but the whole premise just seems off-kilter thanks to the fact that the canine is still supposed to be Scooby-Freaking-Doo. As entertaining as this brief incarnation of him was, I’m with Fred in that I prefer it when he just says “Ruh-Roh.” Perhaps had this too been transitioned into over time, it would have also been a more welcome development. As it is, though, all of this writing just feels wasted here in this non-canon story. It’s good writing, and that’s why it’s so disappointing that it’s meaningless in the end.
To be frank, this issue feels like Giffen and DeMatteis were wary of the series being canned at Issue 12 like the other Hanna-Barbera properties. So perhaps they just thought, “Hey, let’s jump ahead. How far ahead? Way…far ahead.” And then they got the good news toward the end of the penciling job, smacked their foreheads, and decided to pretend like none of it happened by wrapping this future story into a neat little dream sequence. Yeah, I’m probably way off-base here, but that’s what it feels like. Suffice it to say that whatever the case may be, I’m glad we didn’t just leap over mountains of character development without being offered the chance to hike through them first.
While this issue isn’t really a standout addition to the series in the sense of adding anything substantial, it is an enjoyable (if not unnecessarily brash) sidetrack. Velma wants to set things right in the world, but she is terrified of how the gang, especially Daphne, will react to her secret. This whole issue is an introspective look at Velma’s fears coming to fruition – she’s embraced the reality and consequences of her actions and at the same time lost what trust existed between her and the rest of the gang. If she’s going to avoid such a future, she has to make quick work of the nanite plague, or else she risks being consumed by things even scarier than monsters. We’ll hopefully see how her actions pan out next issue, and I pray the payoffs from her storyline won’t be delayed again by another side-story or dream.
Scooby Apocalypse #10
- Scooby's improved vocabulary is educational
- Expressive art style
- Dynamic exchanges between Shaggy and Fred
- Surprisingly profound messages
- Delays payoffs of the primary narrative
- Good character moments are wasted here
- Scooby is way off-model a number of times