Posted: Saturday, May 11
By: Ray Tate
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"Dragon's Eye: House of the Seven Gargoyles"
"Dragon's Eye: Russian to Danger"
Writer: John Ruzum
Artists: Joe Staton(p), Horacio Ottolini(i), Paul Becton(c)
Plot: Two chapters in the Dragon's Eye.
A storyarc in Scooby-Doo? Say it isn't so! Thanks to DC the storyarc has become a filthy word. Not to worry. This "arc" will not be in full force next year, nor will it require Scooby fans to shell out more money or buy marginally related titles.
If I'm to judge by the premiere of John Rozum's "Dragon's Eye" each chapter—the first two which are included this issue—will have a beginning, a middle and an end. We also need not worry about consistency, coherency or contrivance.
Mystery Inc. are icons and refreshingly stable individuals. Scooby-Do for instance is not going to buy a gun just so he can become a suspect in a trade paperback nightmare. This is not say no character development exists. Indeed, Mr. Rozum shows just how much Freddie hates to leave a mystery unsolved. He subtly comments on the subtext between Fred and Daphne. He addresses Scooby and Shaggy's history as reluctant ghost-breakers. Once they discover that like always their quarry is just a guy in a really cool monster suit, they become decidedly braver.
There's a different feel to this issue than others. Mr. Rozum's research is even more thorough. He takes a few daring plot twists. At one point, Freddie gets royally whacked. He also escapes the seemingly inevitable game-like atmosphere such plots tend to relish. He manages this break from tradition by creating a plausible setting for the mcguffin. The items pivotal to the plot are not just placed haphazardly in the setting. The setting and the focus seem natural, almost grown.
Joe Staton surpasses previous work on the book. Lending also to the big budget feel, he seems to have been given more money to spend for props and location footage. The gang are not solving a mystery in some nameless motel. We can see by the opulent architecture that they are in Paris, and even if had not the perpetually cute Daphne taken in the view of the Eiffel Tower, the posh hotel furniture would have clued the reader.
Mr. Staton, Horacio Ottolini and Paul Becton make the weather a character in this stunning opening. The rain at first does not dampen the party. It's only when falling upon gargoyles does it begin to evoke a dramatic atmosphere. It follows through by giving the chance for comic opportunity. It heightens the determination of Freddie's fight against the spook. This issue of Scooby-Doo will be the issue to which others are measured.
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