Current Reviews


Scooby Doo #131

Posted: Saturday, April 26, 2008
By: Ray Tate

Scott Cunningham; Jack Briglio
Scott Gross, Jorge Pacheco (i); Karen Matchette, Heroic Age (c)
DC Comics
Scooby-Doo celebrates Earth Day by not being a waste of trees.

Scott Cunningham's "The Toxic Troll" neatly addresses environmental crime without losing the formula for Scooby-Doo fun. The Gang are in high spirits. I like that Cunningham shows them outside of the mystery first before becoming involved, and their interaction offers some referential amusement. Shag and Scoob know what to expect from their exploits:

"So, Scoob...A scary old factory - what do you think are the odds that we'll wind up there?"

In the scene, Scott Gross shows Scooby counting on his paws as Cunningham and letterer Randy Gentile "radd" up the numbers. The monster, formed by Gross, Jorge Pacheco and the eerie colors of Heroic Age, echoes a classic Scooby-Doo fiend without ripping off the shtick.

In its own right, the costume is pretty scary, and in a rare moment Velma screams when facing the creature. Fred takes him down with an impressive tackle, and Daphne gets some excellent energetic moments.

The best thing about the second story is how the Gang support Velma. It was very easy to see how this story could have gone terribly wrong, but Briglio gets it right. For instance, Velma could have been jealous of the beauties at the fashion show, but Velma is happy with herself, a feeling that Briglio emphasizes.

Velma has to be persuaded to take part in a fashion show by a costumer that's genuinely smitten with Velma's potential. The Gang are there to cheer her on. When she walks out on the stage, they are suitably complimentary. Not once do they suggest she looks better than she did. Change however can be fun, and Daphne has the most fun with Velma's metamorphosis. The characteristic enthusiasm from Daphne perfectly capturing her voice engenders wry commentary from Fred. Velma then is a catalyst for the characterization, rather than the mystery.

The strength in the characterization makes it almost easy to forget about the mystery, but it is also worthy of Mystery Inc. and offers a very good, original motive for the crimes. The culprits make sense and surprise in that Briglio eschews the obvious.

Matchette brings a playfulness to the illustration, and the way she makes Velma look gussied up but still essentially the same winningly makes the point of the characterization in the story. Velma is beautiful, and Mystery Inc. loves her.

John Rozum finishes the page count with another of his mysterious entity lessons delivered in Velma's reedy voice. This time we tackle the Acheri, yet another creature that I never heard of, and damn it, I'm a cryptozoology buff. Rozum informs and entertains through Scooby and Shaggy antics that intertwine with the lore. Roberto Barrios Angelli and Horacio Ottolini contribute some moody, down-right creepy panels that wouldn't be out of line from a regular, as opposed to all ages, horror comic. I suppose because this creature is as stated mere myth that they have a little more leeway to scare.

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