"History is History!"
"Creature of Lagoona Beach"
"Snacks on a Plane!"
Is the ghost of John Wilkes Boothe haunting an innocent history professor? Perhaps her husband isn't too keen about her nights with history instead of his hunkery? It's up to Scooby-Doo and the Gang to find out.
John Rozum informs the reader about the life of John Wilkes Boothe. He plausibly connects the Gang to the professor and cleverly throws in a metafictional joke involving their eternal youth.
Rozum trips up our ghost with a perfect clue requiring the Gang's acumen. He also gives Scoob and his friends depth that pertains to their behavior outside of the trappings of the mystery. This is something I have always liked about Rozum's take on Mystery Inc. He imagines their life beyond that of unmasking fake ghosts.
Artists Roberto Barrios Angelelli and Horacio Ottolini mesh well to forge a spooky drama. They impressed so much that I almost thought Joe Staton had returned to the book.
Robbie Busch has become very comfortable with Scoob and the Gang. This is evident in the second mystery. Here Mystery Inc. investigate a monster haunting a reality show, and Busch throws in enough twists to keep you guessing about the motive if not the culprit.
Penciler Robert Pope crafts some classic poses for the gang in the opening shot. Freddie, Velma and Daphne run after a monster kidnapping a hapless starlet. Freddie looks like he's about to tackle somebody. Daphne looks like a pulp action heroine with her hair flickering behind her. Velma is peering at the creature in disbelief. Shaggy looks scared out of his wits but still follows the others, and Scoob is just a big friendly great dane in on the chase, no doubt after being enticed by Scooby Snacks.
Inker Scott McCrae really excels this issue. The opening splash heralds the good to come. McCrae uses his blacks to create the illusion of fabric and darken the mood with almost Kirbyesque flourishes in the monster's scalework. Lovely, and this care in craft is all for a humble all-ages book.
Read on, and the story fosters a more sophisticated tone than so-called adult books. An unusual POV foreshadows the solution to the mystery and adds pep to the formula of Scooby-Doo. Kudos must also be given to Heroic Age. In one scene, Shaggy, Scoob and the Monster are in ink silhoutte, and you can discern their features and the sight gags because of the indigo backdrop.
Finally, Keith Champagne's "Snacks on a Plane" is a charmer that operates more on the characterization than on the punch of the puzzle's solution. This story is all about misplaced Scooby-Snacks and the fact that only Scooby and the Gang seems to know what they are. Karen Matchette brings her singular style to the Gang. They're on model, and she bestows a comic strip quality to them. The fun comes from their interaction with the other passengers and flight attendants; the very impressed blonde one steals the show, and Velma's expression during the scene is hilarious.
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