Heroes and Villains: Uncanny X-Men is Possessed by a Clarity of Vision

It’s a grab bag of…something in this week’s Heroes and Villains! I’ve got a comic from last week and a direct to video animated movie from a 50 year old property! I’m not exactly sure what the H&V “brand” is, but this feels very “on brand” for the column. Onward!

Uncanny X-Men #11 (LGY #630)
Matthew Rosenberg (W)
Salvador Larroca (A)
Marvel Comics

I’ve written at length about how I’ve strayed from the X-Men flock ever since my favorite run on the book ended almost fifteen years ago. Over the last decade and a half, I’ve dipped my toes into the X-gene pool (Uncanny X-Force, Wolverine and The X-Men) but it was never for very long. But that all changed last week with Rosenberg and Larroca’s Uncanny X-Men #11.

Uncanny had gone weekly for the last ten issues leading up to this re-relaunch of the title and, while it didn’t quite have the hype surrounding it that the Fantastic Four relaunch did, it’s clear that this is one of Marvel’s flagship books. 

If I’m allowed to put on my tinfoil hat for a moment, I feel the X-books kind of languished while the film rights resided with Fox. Sure, the books always sold well but Marvel seemed to be in a position where A LOT of people gave a crap about Avengers and Avengers-adjacent titles, and they responded accordingly. It was kind of the inverse of the 90’s when The Avengers couldn’t get arrested in the Marvel Universe.

But I digress. 

The book now is possessed by a clarity of vision that I haven’t seen in ages. The problem with the X-books previously is that there were SO MANY of them and nothing that happened in them seemed to matter and that appears to be changing. The X-Men are missing and presumed dead (Like in the Fall of the Mutants storyline, but they didn’t go to Australia this time) and are in another dimension (-ish? Like Age of Apocalypse, but not) and Cyclops and Wolverine are back to piece it all together (They were dead but got better).

If that seems like a lot of backstory, just me it isn’t. Priced at a hefty (but worth it!) $7.99 it would truly be a low blow if this book wasn’t friendly to new readers. Everything about the book has a classic X-Men vibe and most importantly it made me excited to see what is coming next. 

BREAKING NEWS

As of this writing, I’m receiving unverified reports that DC’s new Wonder Twins book is, in fact, “very good.” More on that story as it develops. 

Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost

I would say that Scooby-Doo has long been a guilty pleasure of mine but I long ago stopped believing in the concept of guilty pleasures. Like what you like and don’t feel bad about it. This sentiment was brought to you by a man who has Star Wars Ewok Adventures: Caravan of Courage/ The Battle for Endor on DVD. I regret nothing.

Anyways.  I’ve long been a Scooby-Doo fan and some of my earliest memories are of watching reruns of the original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! in syndication along with The New Scooby-Doo Movies. Few things were cooler than Batman and Robin showing up to help the gang solve a mystery. It just ended up being one of those cartoons that never went away and I was a stoked as a little kid could be when we got a new Scooby show in the mid-80’s.

The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo was something of a departure from the previous shows. Gone were Fred Jones, Velma Dinkley, and They Mystery Machine. They had been replaced with Scrappy-Doo, some kind of motorhome, and…Flim Flam. Also included was Vincent Price voicing the character Vincent VanGhoul (I know) and actual ghosts.

Part of the allure of the original Scooby-Doo show was that for all the creepy monsters, ghosts, and mysteries it was all easily explained away by the end of the episode. Ghosts didn’t exist, it was just Old Man Jenkins running some kind of grift to get the deed to the old abandoned mine. 13 Ghosts came straight out of nowhere in 1985 and flipped the script with simple “But what if they did, tho?”

Perhaps it was too radical a departure from the proven formula or perhaps the youth of America wasn’t ready for Daphne as a strong female lead, but The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo only lasted an unlucky thirteen episodes. If that wasn’t bothersome enough, they never caught that thirteenth ghost. Second only to the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, I cannot think of a greater tragedy.

I don’t know who is piloting the ship over at Scooby-Doo HQ these days but they have my eternal love and admiration for picking up a plot thread from thirty-four years ago and giving us (me) Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost. Traditionally, I’m somewhat lukewarm when it comes to fan-service, unless it benefits me, which, in this case it does! I could scarcely believe they were revisiting the black sheep of the franchise to put a bow on a story that possibly no one was asking for.

I cannot recommend this Scooby-Doo movie enough. If you were a fan of the classic show, 13 Ghosts or even the spectacular Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated there’s something in this movie for you.

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