"The Greatest of Us All"
Writer: Sholly Fisch
Artists: Robert Pope(p), Scott McCrae(i), Heroic Age(c)
"The 13th Floor"
Writer: Vito DelSante
Artists: Scott Neely, Heroic Age(c)
The first story by Sholly Fisch is a doozy. It's filled with complex ideas hidden behind a simple Scooby-Doo cartoon that bears all the proper beats and characterization from Mystery Inc. Fisch instead of casting a criminal as a “monster” casts him as a hero and introduces beneath this facade a clever protection racket scheme.
Fisch brilliantly realizes how the cast will act and behave toward "the monster." He takes advantage of the Gang's depth, and has alleviates the potential peachiness by having some old friends pay a visit. This story is a rare gem indeed.
The art by Robert Pope and Scott McCrae--as well as the talented folk behind Heroic Age--maintains a series feel to the mystery. The artists draw every one in the hamlet in a normal unexaggerated fashion. Only the gang and the "monster" sport the stylish modeling we've come to expect. This also enhances the theme of the story, which I'll not reveal.
Vito DelSante's "The 13th Floor" gives the gang a bit of history as Freddie visits his detective mentor Adan Stone, currently embroiled in an unusual case of poltergeists. The setting is unusual, but DelSante doesn't provide enough motives for the caster of phantoms. The clues are practically non-existent, and you really can't call this a fairplay mystery or much of a detective story. Where he atones for these deficits is in the kitchen scene, which allows Scooby and Shaggy to provide some genuinely humorous bits, inspired by the show.
Scott Neely does some spectacular work in these pages. There's a cute moment when Adam Stone goes down to Scoob's level to pet him and explain the problem. I've always enjoyed the fact that everybody accepts Scooby as a talking dog and nothing out of the ordinary. Neely provides slapstick moments courtesy of Shaggy and Scooby, and a charming Daphne Blake.
Short gags by writers Scott Cunningham and David Kravitz with artists Scott Jeralds and Dan Davis fill up the remaining pages. Both these vignettes act as how-to segments gone wrong and both offer funny punchlines.
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