Friday, May 2, 2014

I Reads You Review: SCOOBY-DOO, Where Are You? #44


STORY: Matthew K. Manning; Paul Kupperberg
PENCILS: Robert Pope; Roberto Barrios
INKS: Scott McRae; Horacio Ottolini
COLORS: Franco Riesco; Heroic Age
LETTERS: Saida Temofonte; Pat Brosseau
MISC. ART: Vincent Deporter
EDITOR: Kristy Quinn
COVER: Scott Neely with Heroic Age
28pp, Color, $2.99 U.S. (June 2014)

Rated “E” for “Everyone”

I continue my journey through the current Scooby-Doo comic book series with the forty-fourth issue of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?  Why is this happening?  I bought a subscription to Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? via a fundraiser held by my nephew’s school last year, which involved selling magazine subscriptions.

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? #44 opens with “Island of the Jabberwockies” (written by Matthew K. Manning and drawn by Robert Pope and Scott McRae).  The Mystery Inc. gang is traveling through what is apparently a series of interconnected islands.  The kids are headed to a beach on Fripp Island, but first, must pass through Hunting Island where they almost have an accident and definitely have a weird experience.

At the Fripp Island Hotel, they learn that vacationers are being pestered by deer and scared by the “Jabberwockies.”  Now, Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby-Doo are also being terrorized, but they’re not too scared to investigate.

In “The Phantom of the Opal!” (written by Paul Kupperberg and drawn by Roberto Barrios and Horacio Ottolini), the Mystery Inc. kids are guests on “The Tad Williams Show.”  The arrival of the Phantom of the Opal means that the guests have to become mystery solvers.  When it comes to the identity of the Phantom, the kids have plenty of suspects because the phantom is obviously an embittered living person.

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? #44 has as a theme conniving showbiz types.  “Island of the Jabberwockies” is a quickie type story, but it is pointed in making its point.  Writer Matthew K. Manning also uses much of the 10 pages of the narrative to showcase the lovable silliness we’ve come to expect of that crazy duo, Shaggy and Scooby.

“The Phantom of the Opal!” is apparently a reprint (from the previous series, Scooby-Doo #153), but it is the better story of the two.  The main reason is because writer Paul Kupperberg squeezes enough subplots and characters inside a short story to create a separate graphic novel (or even miniseries).  The guest characters are fairly well-developed, complete with motivation and conflicts.

Surprisingly, even with only 12 pages, Kupperberg succeeds in making the mystery of the Phantom of the Opal an intriguing one.  I really got into solving the mystery of the Phantom’s identity (and my first choice turned out to be right).  I hope Kupperberg writes new Scooby-Doo comics.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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