"Shanghaied in the Fobidden City": The Dragon's Eye Part 7
Writers: Terrence Griep Jr.; John Rozum
Artists: Karen Matchette; Joe Staton(p), Dave Hunt, Horacio Ottolini(i), Paul Becton(c)
Two filling Scooby-Snacks await fans for this issue. The identity of the culprit in "Screech Keen" is rather obvious--at least to me it was, but the method of Banshee is ingenious as are the clues to the way the ghostly powers were achieved. Dialogue between Shaggy and Scooby is hilarious, and the exchange reveals knowledge of the past. One of the rather subtle things about "Scooby-Doo Where Are You?" was that it never quite started from scratch like other cartoons. The gang always had a reputation, and Scooby and Shaggy were well aware of and often remarked on their use as bait.
Karen Matchette with Joe Staton's usual inker does a terrific job capturing the gang's look but also imbuing them with more animation and characteristic distinction. Thanks to Dave Hunt's influence, the gang are more on model, and you can better appreciate Ms. Matchette's cartooning capabilities.
Joe Staton--I mean--look at this comic book. Some pretentious twits wonder why I review or even buy Scooby-Doo. Number one, I'm a fan. Number two, it's drawn and written more than often better than so-called serious books. Joe Staton inscribes even more detail to the background of the seventh part of the "Dragon's Eye." He flows ornate drapes and bonsais trees. He constructs Eastern architecture and carves ornate statues. He weaves decorative rugs, and yet still the gang does not get lot in a background that never seems busy. This is art. It doesn't matter if the method to bring this art is something as humble as Scooby-Doo and the gang. This is a seduction of the eyes.
You would think that John Rozum would fail to find new twists in "The Dragon's Eye" storyarc, but the story is unpredictable. It accounts for the intelligence of the characters while showing the danger in following a pattern. It subverts the entire concept of the crooked real estate agent in a monster suit formula and still, still adds depth to the characters, engages in skits inspired but not copied from the series and amuses with Shaggy and Scooby.
While we're on the subject of Scooby-Doo, it would be remiss of me to ignore the new adventures in What's New Scooby-Doo? The stories open with a catchy rock song right up there with "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You" and follow the gang with identical but jazzed up incidental music. The mysteries haven't changed. They're still crooks in monster suits, but the better technology of the real world has given the writers a greater palette from which to work. Likewise, the animation is ten times better than the old Hanna Barbera limited look. The personalities and the look of the gang have only slightly changed to match the live-action Scooby-Doo movie--like that's a bad thing, and the voice artists do a bang up job bringing the ones we love back onto the small screen. My favorite mystery so far has been the alien at NASA. Darn clever, it had me guessing until the criminal was unmasked. Also recommended the new Jackie Chan Adventures which air after Scooby. These are even more like his outlandish movies than the first season.
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