I know I’m not the only one who was a little bit skeptical when DC Comics announced that they were going to be giving modern, comic book updates to classic Hanna Barbera cartoons. The idea wasn’t crazy in and of itself but the series that DC Comics pitched were a little out there. A zombie/monster apocalypse version of Scooby Doo? A Mad Max meets Deathrace 2000 version of Wacky Races? It was hard to believe any of it would work out.

We had a chance to read through the first volumes of two of the updated series: Scooby Apocalypse and The Flintstones.

To my surprise they really aren’t so bad!

Sure, they’re a little weird and if you grew up with the old school cartoons it may take a little getting used to the new stories. (At least it will with Scooby Apocalypse.) But in an era where remakes are practically all anyone is doing any more, DC Comics manages to really breathe some new life into some beloved stories.

So how do the two books we read stack up? Read our full reviews below.

Scooby Apocalypse Vol. 1

Authors: Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis
Artist: Howard Porter 
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: DC Comics
Review Spoilers: High
GoodReads | Amazon
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Have you every wondered what would happen if Scooby and the gang were to find themselves in the middle of a real life zombie apocalypse? If you have, you probably imagined it to be with the Scooby gang you all know and love. The zombies would be slow and bumbling and their flight from them would be full of hilarious antics. That is not, however, even remotely close to how things play out in Scooby Apocalypse.

First off, these are not the Scooby Doo and friends we all know and love. Instead they are a reimagined band of strangers, whose first time meeting comes mere minutes before the world becomes overrun with mindless zombies and zombies pulled from old-school, black and white creature features. Scooby Doo is a science experiment and Shaggy is his hipster trainer. Daphne and Fred are washed out journalists whom Velma – an anti-social scientist – reaches out to in hopes of preventing the apocalypse. (Obviously, she’s too late.)

And instead of being some humorous, easily solved mystery this apocalypse is the result of evil geniuses and their diabolical plans to pacify the world. The monsters are deadly and even our heroes have a few close calls early on. There’s not much humor in them blowing apart blood sucking creatures that moments before were human.

That said, it’s still an entertaining read for the most part. It’s not really Scooby Doo, though. The characters are very different with only a few similarities between them. The group dynamic is completely different and hardly anyone really gets along. There are some throwbacks to the original series throughout. They escape in a ‘mystery machine’ cooked up by one of Velma’s co-workers. And Scrappy Doo shows up as a murderous smart-dog experiment hellbent on eliminating Scooby.

The first volume is a little disappointing in the sense that very little is resolved. The team is trapped in a supermarket overrun with monsters while Scrappy Doo closes in on them. And while an extra issue focusing on Velma’s secret history (which outlines her part in this devastating apocalypse) is a nice addition it would have been nicer to have at least seen them escape the supermarket. Instead we’re stuck on a bit of a cliffhanger.

Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about the series but I suppose I’ll check out the second volume down the road if just to see how things in the supermarket resolve. I’m invested in this inevitable Scooby vs. Scrappy showdown now if nothing else. And the artwork in this book looks great – even if the story is still a little out there. 

The Flintstones Vol. 1

Author: Mark Russell
Artist: Steve Pugh
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: DC Comics
Review Spoilers:  Low
GoodReads | Amazon
Rating: ★★★★☆

While Scooby Apocalypse was hit or miss for me, I absolutely adored the revamped, modernized Flintstones series. Instead of providing an on-going narrative, The Flintstones offers a series of stand-alone issues, each one giving readers a glimpse at life in Bedrock during the Stone Age. Except it’s pretty clear from the beginning that we’re not really talking about Bedrock. The Flintstones instead offers a sort of social commentary on our own, modern world through the frame of some familiar, cartoon faces.

For example, the issues of war and the treatment of veterans once they return home is touched upon multiple times in the first volume. Fred and Barney are both veterans of a war between Homo Sapiens and a species they called ‘The Tree People.’ They attend meetings at the local Veterans of Paleolithic Wars lodge, where they help their fellow veterans deal with their post-traumatic stress. Over the course of this volume we see how Barney and Fred get wrapped up in the war in the first place and the guilt that came afterward. 

Other issues that the series tackles includes consumerism, religion, sexuality, the treatment of veterans, and more.

But it’s all wrapped up in a familiar, Flintstones-styled package. You see how Barney and Betty come to adopt Bam-Bam. We learn how Dino becomes a part of the Flintstones family. There’s even a little on-going side plot about the relationships between some of the family’s talking animal appliances. All of the characters you knew and loved from the original are back, but their stories and origins are tweaked a bit to fit this updated version of the classic series.

If you’re only going to try one of the Hanna Barbera remakes I’d say that this is the one to read. It’s incredibly well written, the artwork is great, and the modern update makes the Flintstones feel fresh without losing the charm that made us all love the original cartoon series.

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