Why I Welcome Hickman’s Take on the X-Men

Jonathan Hickman will be taking on the X-Men in July with two miniseries: House of X and Powers of X. There is rampant speculation on what these two series will entail, in no small part due to the ominous tone of the House of X promotional image and the mish-mash, different character designs present on the Powers of X image. But whatever they are, it’s clear that Marvel are putting their eggs into the HiX-Men basket.

This comes hot off the heels of Marvel’s relatively recent relaunch of Uncanny X-Men that came in the form of “X-Men Disassembled”, a story that I dissected due to how much I loathed it. That storyline led into the currently ongoing Age of X-Man event, which is better than “X-Men Disassembled” based on the few issues of it I read. Then Marvel streamlined the creative team of Uncanny X-Men to Matthew Rosenberg and Salvador Larocca, in a run that’s largely been a rehash of the 2000s with some superficial 90s nostalgia for good measure.

So all of that seems like it’s not going to be too relevant in a few months as Hickman does what Hickman does and reinvents the X-Men. Marvel are even promoting it as a shakeup on the level of Giant-Size X-Men or New X-Men, which is certainly a brave comparison to welcome. And… I am okay with this. Really. Hickman is just what the X-Men need, and read on below so I can explain why. Continue reading “Why I Welcome Hickman’s Take on the X-Men”

Road Trip with the Transformers, Entry 2 — Transformers #2

Road Trip with the Transformers is what happens when you take a guy who grew up with Transformers (well, Robots in Disguise and the Unicron Trilogy, anyway), who was mildly interested in IDW’s Transformers comics — but too scared to dip too far in — and give him a rebooted Transformers comics line. With this, I’ll be quickly reviewing and then commenting on IDW’s new Transformers comic universe that began in March of 2019! I’ll be chronicling my experience as someone who is a lapsed fan of the franchise from childhood, who has only read a few of the previous IDW Transformers comics. Expect me to forget characters’ names, find it hard to tell them apart and have little to no understanding of references to previous continuities! Does that sound like fun? No? Well, you’re coming along anyway! It’s a road trip! Roll out!

Before I get into the comic, I just want to say that I’m looking to buy Transformers toys now because I liked the first issue of the comic and dig the character designs — Chromia on the cover of this issue looks pretty great, for example. Plus just a general nostalgia for my childhood. The problem? I didn’t realise how hard the Siege toys are to find! Seriously, Australia is not a good place to live if you want access to Transformers toys, and I can’t wait for Toys R’ Us to make its comeback. Although I did manage to get lucky and find a Target that had a bunch of Wave 2 stuff on my first day of looking.

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I also learned that posing is hard, especially when one toy has slim legs and a gigantic backpack.

Anyway, back to the comic. Last issue introduced us to the world of Cybertron and what will probably be our main cast of characters for a while: Rubble, Bumblebee, Windblade, Orion Pax and Megatron. Also, Ironhide was there. It had some great art, an interesting world and did a good job pacing itself and not overwhelming me as a new reader. The lettering was off though, which kind of took away from the issue overall. Let’s hope that’s not the case here. Anyway, here is Transformers (2019) #2!

Continue reading “Road Trip with the Transformers, Entry 2 — Transformers #2”

Gateway Comics — Wolverine

Gateway Comics is a recommendation thing I do where I list works in a franchise that are good for new readers, that hopefully make them want to check out more of the franchise or character. It features franchises/characters that I am personally familiar with, although I will be using others’ opinions at times. The key point is that these are recommendations for new readers.

The first installment of Gateway Comics focused on the X-Men, because they were my first superhero team comic. But of course, many of the X-Men have had their own series, and the one with the most, and one of the most popular X-Men is none other than Wolverine. Love him or hate him, the little Canadian mutant has had a lot of series over the years, so much so that it can be hard to figure out where to start. So I’m going to give those who want to start reading some good Wolverine comics a little help. I personally don’t feel too strongly about the character, but I’ve read a lot of his stuff, so I think I have a good frame of reference for this. Anyway, here are the comics I recommend for new readers looking to read more Wolverine.

Continue reading “Gateway Comics — Wolverine”

Gateway Comics — Batman

Gateway Comics is a recommendation thing I do where I list works in a franchise that are good for new readers, that hopefully make them want to check out more of the franchise or character. It features franchises/characters that I am personally familiar with, although I will be using others’ opinions at times. The key point is that these are recommendations for new readers.

With Detective Comics #1000 only a few weeks away, I decided work on this ahead of Superman (sorry, Big Blue) for the people who will inevitably buy Detective Comics #1000 but not actually be Batman readers, but who do want to read comics. Along with the X-Men, who I covered here, the Batman franchise helped get me into comics. Unlike many, who came into comics from The Dark Knight, I got into the franchise through a combination of Batman: Arkham Asylum (the video game) and Batman: Under the Red Hood (which came bundled with Arkham Asylum) before watching The Dark Knight. I started with a few titles here and there, got big into Scott Snyder’s Batman run, then jumped around a lot. I have a lot of experience with the franchise, so this is something that I’m comfortable talking about.

Anyway, without further delay, here are the comics I recommend to those who want an introduction to the world of the Bat.

Continue reading “Gateway Comics — Batman”

Road Trip with the Transformers, Entry 1 — Transformers #1

Road Trip with the Transformers is what happens when you take a guy who grew up with Transformers (well, Robots in Disguise and the Unicron Trilogy, anyway), who was mildly interested in IDW’s Transformers comics — but too scared to dip too far in — and give him a rebooted Transformers comics line. With this, I’ll be quickly reviewing and then commenting on IDW’s new Transformers comic universe that began in March of 2019! The review will be spoiler-free, while commentary will not. With this, I’ll be chronicling my experience as someone who is a lapsed fan of the franchise from childhood, who has only read a few of the previous IDW Transformers comics. Expect me to forget characters’ names, find it hard to tell them apart and have little to no understanding of references to previous continuities! Does that sound like fun? No? Well, you’re coming along anyway! It’s a road trip! Roll out!

Here it is, Transformers #1! I was way more excited for this than I should’ve been, not helped by a lot of media I’ve been consuming in the past few months essentially pandering to my nostalgia. Anyway, on with the review road trip! Today, there’s only one issue to look at, though I expect that to change soon enough. For now, we have the first instalment of this brave new world: Transformers (2019) #1!

Continue reading “Road Trip with the Transformers, Entry 1 — Transformers #1”

Gateway Comics — Superman

Gateway Comics is a recommendation thing I do where I list works in a franchise that are good for new readers, that hopefully make them want to check out more of the franchise or character. It features franchises/characters that I am personally familiar with, although I will be using others’ opinions at times. The key point is that these are recommendations for new readers.

There is no superhero more iconic than Superman. The flagship character of not only DC Comics, but of an entire genre, Superman is a storied character that is almost as old as the superhero genre itself. But with so many stories behind him, that can make him a bit intimidating to read. Especially with the various reboots the character has undergone. But I think Superman, when written well, can be one of the most rewarding characters to read. I personally have mostly stuck to more modern works for Superman, but I think these works to a good job balancing what I like about the franchise. I’m not too big a fan of the franchise, but these comics got me interested in it; I can safely say that they’re good for new readers.

Anyway, the people of Krypton has been written badly very often, but here are some stories that I think will do a good job of introducing new readers to the world of Superman. Continue reading “Gateway Comics — Superman”

Picking at the Pieces of “X-Men Disassembled”

Yeah, I’m not done with this story. Guys… I have things to do. I need to take a government exam to be able to even enrol in some teaching units for my master’s. I haven’t finished Red Dead Redemption 2 yet. I need to finish Bodyguard and The Protector because I told a friend I would. I’m trying to finish The Name of the WindAncillary Justice and The Night Circus. There’s things I can be doing, is what I’m saying. And yet, I keep coming back to this. Because it keeps calling me back.

“X-Men Disassembled” was meant to be the big X-Men relaunch of 2018. Kicking off a new series of the flagship title, Uncanny X-Men, when finally the X-Men team books would be consolidated into one title… and what we got was a weekly series that couldn’t even justify its own existence without spoiling its own ending — on the day of the first issue’s release, Marvel announced the Age of X-Man event; that name told everyone all they needed to know about it — an alternate world where the story would be told through numerous miniseries, with X-Man (Nate Grey) playing a key part. Well… okay then, so what’s the point of reading this story? There didn’t seem to be one.

The three writers — Ed Brisson, Kelly Thompson and Matthew Rosenberg — clearly knew where they were headed with this story, but the way they got there was one of the most badly executed stories I’ve ever seen. See, we knew where it was headed. Clearly. So they needed to give us other reasons to read, while also setting up the status quo for after “X-Men Disassembled” ends — the return of Cyclops and Wolverine. Well, let’s have a look at this series and see what they came up with, shall we? Let’s see what the different plot threads amounted to and how this story went out. Continue reading “Picking at the Pieces of “X-Men Disassembled””