"You'll Never Lurk in This Town Again"
Writer: John Rozum; Frank Strom
Artists:Joe Staton(p),Andrew Pepoy(i);Leo Batic(p),Horracio Ottolini(i),Heroic Age(c)
Welcome back John Rozum. Mr. Rozum known to another section of the comic book shop as the author of Midnight Mass. returns to Scooby-Doo. Rozum dreams up an interesting little tale in which a director known for horror movies "moves on to better things." Is this somewhat autobiographical? I'm certain some readers just may feel that Mr. Rozum would never "lower" himself to write for Scooby-Doo. These same readers I'm certain would find it insane for a grown human to be reviewing or even reading Scooby-Doo. Let me tell you something. Scooby-Doo is way smarter than many comic books that are targeted toward mature readers.
Mr. Rozum's clever little mystery comments on James Cameron. He who directed The Terminator and his rise to the snooty critical eye with Titanic. He mixes this treatment with Wes Craven the director of Nightmare on Elm Street and throws in a parody of a well-known actress who is hated by many women. I shan't say whom this actress is, and I, like most men, have no problem with her. Joe Staton feeds off this vibe with a Spitting Image style caricature of the actress in question.
Along the way, Mr. Rozum deepens the relationship between Fred and Daphne. No doubt he got the greenlight because of their further growth as a couple in the heavenly Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. His partner Joe Staton brilliantly depicts the body language of the two sleuths. After Fred makes his statement, Daphne is so stunned that she's late for the grilling of the suspect.
The second story also deals with Hollywood, but it lacks the insiders eye evinced by John Rozum. Still it's a pleasant tale featuring an Elvira-like horror hostess that bedazzles the usually unflappable Shaggy. This scene incidentally does not contradict the scene in Rozum's mystery where Shaggy and Scoob express their distaste for romance movies.
The artwork by Batic while slightly off model is often interesting in through a choice of unusual camera angles. Batic for instance in one panel takes a bird's eye/slanted view of the Gang's investigation. He also creates some pretty gruesome masks for our "ghosts" to wear.
Rozum's mystery while a little obvious is still a perfect Scooby-Doo caper with classic characterization and nuances of character growth. Frank Strom provides admirable backup that probably could have been just a little more fairplay.
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