"Kingdom By The Sea"
Writer: Scott Peterson
Artists: Tim Levins(p), Dan Davis(i), Heroic Age(c)
"The Tell-Tale Heartburn"
Writer: Scott Peterson
Artists: Robert Pope(p), Scott McRae(i), Heroic Age(c)
Three stories find their mark in Scooby-Doo, but the Cupid’s Arrow routine really doesn’t come across very well, and the powers that be would have been better off keeping the Gang out of the holiday spirit and rely upon the Poe theme.
The first story by Scott Peterson is a tale of ghostly love that "moves on little cat's feet"--to quote Sandberg--through various Poe allusions. Tim Levins conjures the crafty physical comedy as well as the expertly executed wit. For instance, Levins manifests a hilarious instance where Daphne cannot hold the spooked, gangly and heavy Shaggy who leaped into her arms with a "Zoinks!" Levins illustrates character-driven humor and quiet, sweet scenes with equal aplomb. Daphne literally goes wide-eyed and gives readers a window into her romantic nature, which persuades the Gang's involvement. The finale is steeped in emotion and humanity.
The second story with yucks aplenty quoth Poe's "Raven." This little pastiche had The Simpsons to worry about as competition, but it ably carves its own jokes, and Peterson adds plausibility to the tale with Shaggy being the subject of the bird fright. Shaggy exhibits quite a bit of depth in the scant pages, and while the story has a lot of heart, the Valentine theme seems forced.
The third story does relate a mystery, a genre incidentally ushered into literature by Poe. This story offers the readers suspects and mostly plays fair. The neat twist on "The Tell-Tell Heart" just about keeps the story in Mystery Inc. monster unmasking territory, and there just may be lesbian subtext in the tale to give it a little mature boost. Robert Pope and Scott McRae depict the characters marvelously and with outstanding style that never the less adheres to the models. The clear conveyance of the clues benefits the story immensely, and it's interesting that Peterson takes a Poe story that wasn't a mystery but cleverly turns the basis of its plot for a really solid modern day detective story.
Despite there being only one story that behaves like a bona fide mystery, this issue of Scooby Doo is a fantastic if confusing celebration of Edgar Allan Poe. Poe had nothing to do with Valentine's Day, and I question the decision to give the issue two themes instead of sticking with the stronger one.
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