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Scooby-Doo #81

Posted: Friday, February 13, 2004
By: Ray Tate



"It's Always Feral Weather"
"Under Pressure"

Writers: Frank Strom; Robbie Busch
Artists: Joe Staton(p), Andrew Pepoy(i), Anthony Williams(p), Scott McRae(i); Sno Cone(c)
Publisher: DC

Well, crud. I only have four comic books this week, and Scooby-Doo which usually offers superior entertainment fails miserably. The issue's not Scrappy-Doo bad, but it could have been so much better.

Frank Strom scribes the first story, which involves ABCs in Australia. ABC is an acronym for the Fortean term Alien Big Cats. England has been the spot for more than sightings of these feral beasties, and nobody is suggesting that the Grays had anything to do with unusual bestiary. Instead, the supposition is that a bobcat raised tame escapes its owner and turns wild much to the dismay of the local livestock. Another woollier possibility is that sometime in the past, a wild cat escapes and mates with say a large surprised stray tabby to produce a hybrid that runs havoc with its rural environs.

Mr. Strom sets up a fairly interesting premise in which the Gang are called in to investigate reports of an ABC attacking personnel at the Herriot Wildlife Preserve. There's substance to this since constables rather than Mulder and Scully usually scour the English countryside looking for hide and hair of ABCs. Mr. Strom does not however follow through with a plausible motive.

The international community would frown on any expert taking advantage of the consequences detailed in the story. The villain of the piece would not make any money off the deal, and his business acumen must seriously be doubted if he thinks otherwise.

Little things also trip up the story toward the end. The Gang treat the ABCs as if they were housecats even after the head honcho of the Preserve explains what such introductions mean to the ecosystem.

Joe Staton's artwork as usual flawlessly captures the look of Mystery Inc. and creates a distinctive supporting cast. However, the villain of the piece practically telegraphs his own diabolism.

My father suffered through years of allergy shots to lessen the effects of ragweed exposure. That was an application of science. That was an application of reason. I am deeply offended by the utter stupidity in Robbie Busch's depiction of the greatest skeptics in literature since Sherlock Holmes embracing acupuncture as a means to cure Shaggy's allergies. Congratulations, you've just with one short story negated the entire core of Mystery Inc.

Even putting aside the stupid premise, Busch's story is about as effective as alternative medicine. The motive is ridiculous. The happy ending is ludicrous and does not gibe with what is seen: namely, a fake monster threatening somebody with a needle.



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