It was another set of randomly chosen comics read on the R train and then the N train heading back to Astoria last night, which now brings us to The Black Monday Murders and Scooby Apocalypse.

The Black Monday Murders 2
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Tomm Coker

With the second issue of The Black Monday Murders, writer Jonathan Hickman is drawing us deeper into this world he’s created, giving us little snippets of information that we can piece together on just how important Black Magic is to the world of high finance. The reader sees some of the history of the financial institution that’s being investigated before we get to the meat of the issue, with Detective Dumas investigating last issue’s death.

The writing and the art here are fantastic, and the expository parts of this issue are very engaging. With everything included in the issue – flashbacks, documents, letters – the book is definitely worth the hefty $4.99 price tag. It helps that the book clocks in at more than 50 digital pages. Dumas makes an arrest and is warned by a returning member of the board of directors of Caina Kankrin – Abigail Rothschild, the sister of the murder victim.

The episode plays like the first 20 minutes or so of an episode of a police procedural, as the cop is getting some information that leads him astray at first, making him question what he’s doing. But that’s what second issues are for, I suppose.

Scooby Apocalypse 5
Written by Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis
Art by Howard Porter

I really do love how this reboot of the Scooby-Doo property updates the characters for a new generation while also subverting some expectations and not playing into the well-established tropes and character traits. Sure, Shaggy still likes to snack, but the always-brilliant team of Giffen and DeMatteis have flipped the gender roles a bit, putting more of a focus on Daphne and Velma than Fred, Shaggy and Scooby. The two women are the success stories here, the hard-hitting journalist and the doctor, while the guys are, well, kind of doofy.

Strong female characters that don’t need to beat you over the head that they are strong female characters. They just are (I, apparently, am still a bit put off from my reading of Batgirl and the Birds of Prey 2 yesterday).

The team is still stuck in a big box retailer alternating between fighting off and hiding from zombies/demons/monsters as Daphne debates whether she should ease up on Velma for her part in the nano attack that changed the world. The monster attack interrupts Velma’s attempts to see if other bases are still operational, but as we end the issue, it seems as though the team will get a moment to hack into a secure, secret base with a gaming laptop they found on the racks. Apparently, free Wi-Fi comes standard with a monster apocalypse… But that’s really just a small nitpick. The original Scooby-Doo cartoon asked fans to suspend disbelief on far bigger things.

As the new book gets more established, I can see why fans of the original property may get turned off by the book, but if you’re a fan of the Giffen and DeMatteis writing team or Howard Porter’s art, there’s no excuse to not pick this up. It’s a lot of fun.

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