The third year of the reimagined Scooby-Doo comic book from DC Comics kicks off with a significant change to the status quo – the death of Fred Jones!
Scooby Apocalypse 25
Written by Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis
Pencils by Sam Lofti and Ron Wagner
Inks by Sam Lofti and Andy Owens
Colors by John Rauch
The decision to kill off one of the members of the Scooby Gang in the book’s 25th issue – usually considered an anniversary issue – is not one that was meant as a surprise. DC Comics announced what was happening in this issue months ago, I assume to try and drum up some sales for the book.
In the original incarnation of Scooby Doo, Fred Jones was always portrayed as the leader of the group. But here, in this reimagined world where a nanovirus has turned practically everyone on the planet into monsters, Fred has been more of a drain on the group than anything. Oft-injured and blindly following Daphne around telling her he loves her, Fred is more pathetic than we’re used to seeing him. But he’s also persistent, at least when it comes to his declarations of love. And last issue, Daphne finally acquiesced. She accepted Fred’s proposal of marriage, to bring a little bit of good into the terrible world they’ve inherited.
So, of course, Fred dies this issue when a monster slashes him across the chest while he tries to save Daphne while the pair are out on a mission.
Giffen and DeMatteis drop the reader in the middle of things, as Fred is trying to console Daphne and let her know that what happened wasn’t her fault. But we discover pretty quick that she’s not actually talking to Fred, she’s imagining him to help her cope with her loss. The flashbacks and the cuts to Velma and Shaggy help bring us up to speed as Daphne spends the entire issue falling deeper into her own grief.
Losing Fred is a big change for a comic book about Scooby-Doo and his pals, but it’s been pretty clear that Fred was never going to be an impact player for a while now. He’ll have a much greater impact on the story in death than he ever would have alive.
SCOOBY APOCALYPSE has been a bit stagnant over the last few months, as the group has been trying to clear out a mall in Albany to use as a base of operations. These changes should make for an interesting few issues, as Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby – plus new characters Cliffy and Daisy – deal with their loss. Where the comic book goes after that will determine how much longer the book has.