Current Reviews


Scooby Doo #135

Posted: Friday, August 22, 2008
By: Ray Tate

John Rozum; Darryl Taylor Kravitz
Scott Gross, Jorge Pacheco (i), Heroic Age (c)
DC Comics
In Scooby-Doo John Rozum entertains with a most unexpected homage to Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon. While it is true that he merely employs one viewpoint in the comic book, the principle is still the same.

We see the original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? episode through two lenses. The classic focuses on the mystery solving of Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby. That story enchanted viewers years ago and can be witnessed again on DVD and in syndication. The second image shimmers in this issue of Scooby-Doo.

Rozum relates the sea chanty through the eyes of Captain Cutler, he of the glowing, green diving suit. Fans of the series will recognize the criminal immediately and will enjoy this witty flip-flop of the same tale. Newcomers to the world of Scooby-Doo can at the very least appreciate Rozum's skills as a writer.

Rozum adheres to a single point of view, and you never become confused about the voice in the narrative. The author includes a turnabout in what exactly can be defined as weird. Rozum's creativity can be seen in the way he fleshes out the main characters. He gives them greater dimension but still preserves their larceny and even murderous ways. Cutler and his wife are antagonists. Unlike other writers, Rozum does not build the villains up at the expense of the heroes. He does not make you feel sympathy for the duo. Despite Mystery Inc. being incidental characters in Cutler's story, the reader still roots for Scooby-Scooby-Scooby-Dooooooo!

In the second story, Darryl Taylor Kravitz takes the Gang to a shady carnival. While Shaggy and Scooby go off in search of food. Fred, Velma and Daphne partake in the rides and the games.

Another flipside makes Kravitz's story outstanding. Usually, Shaggy and Scooby serve as bait and early warning systems to alert the Gang that the ghost is coming their way; this is done by screaming at the top of the lungs. This time the technical aspects of a creepy, though not spectral, threat give Shaggy and Scoob the opportunity to be detectives, and brave ones at that. With no "ghosts" involved in the story, we see Shaggy's and Scooby's keen minds and instincts, equal to all, but perhaps Velma, in Mystery Inc.

Gross, Pacheco and Heroic Age in a rare event contribute the entirety of the artwork. The first story shows off Gross' sense of camera angles. He deconstructs the original episode frame by frame and shows the same moments simply in Captain Cutler's frame of reference. Given that point of view, Gross contrasts the relative realism of Captain Cutler's world with the cartoonier Scooby-Doo.

In the second story, Gross and Pacheco turn ultra-cute creatures into things that belong in a Scooby-Doo mystery. Gross and Pacheco give excellent spotlights to all the gang, and they enhance their personalities with some inventive comic book panels, such as Daphne's groovy framing and Velma's perfectly round panel which no doubt reflects the shape of a magnifying glass. Gross and Pacheco also have the rare opportunity to show Scooby and Shaggy acting like serious sleuths. You can enjoy their expressions of curiosity and concern.

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