"Chill Out, Scooby-Doo!"
Writer: Scott Cunningham
Artists: Scott Neely(p,i) Dan Davis(i), Heroic Age(c)
"R'oh no! Roo many Raptions!"
For some reason Scott Cunningham chose to litter Scooby-Doo with unnecessary captions. For instance, on page two, he states, "directly above traveling through the stormy clouds that veil Everest's majestic peak" over a depiction of a plane traveling amid the mountains. Grrrrrrr! These unnecessary captions double the reading time for Scooby-Doo, and not one of them amounts to anything.
Cunningham then tries to be cute in these captions. On page three, he states "Freddy loses the connection--" which is clearly pronounced in the dialogue: "They're breaking up!" He then blabbers on about "global position satellite system on his high tech cell-phone. It tracks Shag's and Scoob’s Final 'Gulp' position as Mt. Everest."
Okay. First up, you don't actually need to know how Fred and the others track down Scooby and Shaggy. They're detectives. Second, I realize that these are comics for all-ages but does any kid who can read not know what "GPS" stands for? Third, "Final 'Gulp' position" is just annoying not funny. Fourth, the reader knows they're at Mt. Everest! Cunningham has told us twice!
Apart from the captions, "Chill Out, Scooby-Doo!" would have been a good story if not for the flimsy excuse to have a Yeti tramping about the snow. That excuse also does not earn points for gender stereotyping.
The presence of an actual Shangri-La, a bona fide Yeti, a hilarious French-Canadian Monster Hunter and a hip friend for the Shagster and Scooby combined with excellent characterization for Mystery Inc exemplify what Cunningham does right. To get there though, you need to use a machete on the captions. Assuming you haven't yet read your copy of Scooby-Doo I suggest you skip them and try to ignore how they damage the art.
Neely's and Davis' art is impressive, even more so when you consider that Scooby-Doo is an all ages title and always considered less important than the titles meant for a so-called sophisticated audience. Neely throughout the panels never veers from the model of Hanna-Barbera, and he generates through natural poses and a few costume changes personality in Mystery Inc. His Scooby and Shaggy provide the wild takes, and his illustration of Cunningham's cryptozoologist perfectly suits the dialogue and imagines how Hanna-Barbera might have brought the character to the pages. A background rich in detail and a genuinely fierce looking “creature” added to the diverse cast make Neely’s art particularly special. I would love to see the illustrations enlarged in an oversized volume.
This issue of Scooby-Doo has some gems, but the weight of the captions and the preposterous motive of the monster make the foray into the snow a tough slog.
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