The first story has enough imagination for ten. Scooby and the Gang attend a ballooning competition. Cunningham comes up with the nifty idea of fashioning the gondolas into replicas of ships. With their usual aplomb, Scott Gross and Jorge Pacheco execute the ingenious concept.
The villains of the piece fit the theme of the race. Their accoutrements and look clue the reader quickly into something fishy afloat, but the visual is memorable, and the masquerade allows for a little more emotion which becomes important in accenting some of the scenes.
Mystery Inc. is in excellent form for this story. It's a nice touch that Daphne is the first to become suspicious. Scooby and Shaggy get sucked up into a trap gone wrong. Fred makes two terrific saves.
John Rozum contributes a fair play foray in "The Boy Who Cried Werewolf". Pay attention to the clues, and you can solve the puzzle before the Gang. As always, Rozum isn't afraid to evolve the characters beyond formula. That's why Shaggy and Scooby in this particular tale come off as being very brave.
Robert Pope, Scott McRae and Heroic age are brilliant assets to Rozum's tale. The werewolf looks damn good, and that's not an easy thing to do, especially in a kidís book. Gaunt, fur covered, gray with slavering snout and sharp-looking teeth, this s.o.b. looks like it could scare the snot out of someone. That gives Shaggy's fear even more substance.
The werewolf isn't the only character who benefits from the art team's care. Pope and company enhance the characterization through a thoughtful exploration in body language. Velma looks intently at clues. Shaggy quivers as the werewolf stalks closer. Scooby exhibits a determined, courageous look on his face. Daphne perches her chin on her arms folded to the top of the chair as she grills a suspect.
Rozum returns with Karen Matchette for another lesson in folklore. This one I'm happy to say I heard about, and Matchette comes up with a completely different look for the beast that still suits the descriptions. Though essentially an edutainment spot, Matchette makes Velma ham it up for the camera through subtle yet emotive gestures, with regard to her characterization.
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