Hanging with the HiX-Men, Part 1 — House of X #1 Review

Hanging with the HiX-Men is a series of reviews of Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men comics, spotlighting a standout moment at times (obviously, spoilers), followed by an eventual analysis of each overall arc. It’s what happens when a longtime X-Men fan has his love for the franchise reinvigorated by a beloved writer who has written some of his favourite comics. With that in mind… Welcome to Hanging with the HiX-Men, hope you survive the experience. Continue reading “Hanging with the HiX-Men, Part 1 — House of X #1 Review”

Hanging with the HiX-Men, an Introduction

Writing about comics as a hobby is strange. Because it’s just a hobby and I have lots and lots of other hobbies, it’s something that can very easily slip if I don’t enjoy it. Such was the case with Road Trip with the Transformers, a feature that didn’t last past five parts because I just didn’t enjoy it. I kept thinking that I would catch up, but I just wasn’t enjoying reading the comics, let alone writing about them. They weren’t even bad enough to be enjoyably bad, they were just mediocre. What eventually made me realise this was the hype, anticipation and finally release of Jonathan Hickman’s first X-Men comic, House of X #1.

See, Jonathan Hickman is a writer I truly love. I didn’t always love him, as it took me a while and a few attempts to really get into his Fantastic Four and Avengers runs, but once I was hooked I was hooked. I went back and read his other works, like Secret Warriors, The Ultimates and Red Wing, among others. And while I can’t say I always love his work, I admire the man as a creator who can tell such intricate stories in such different styles (as long as he gets to do some graphic design). The announcement of the Dawn of X relaunch lent credence to the idea that Hickman truly had a plan for Marvel’s long-suffering franchise, helping build that excitement within me that this was something worth committing to. After reading House of X #1… I realised that I’ve never felt this before. Being hyped for a comic and anticipating it — enough to actually get my comics on a Wednesday like some sort of animal — and it actually delivering!

Because of this, I decided I had to retire Road Trip with the Transformers. It was fun while it lasted — well, it was fun to conceive and fun to write for about two entries — but I couldn’t let it drag me down. Having to write about something that I didn’t enjoy, that showed no signs of improving, I realised made this less of a hobby and more of a chore. Instead, I’ve decided to look at Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men run — which I call HiX-Men — because this is something I can’t see myself losing interest in any time soon. Of course, I might down the line (it’s Hickman so I probably won’t) and other hobbies and life might get in the way, but for now I’m committed to this.

It won’t be quite the same format this time around; instead I want to just review the comics at first, maybe pointing out some cool moments here and there that truly stand out. Afterwards, when I think a particular story arc is done, I will do a closer analysis and recap. I think this will allow me to keep more up to date with things while still allowing me to spotlight certain moments and look at a story with some depth.

With that in mind… Welcome to the HiX-Men, hope you survive the experience (and graphics)!

Road Trip with the Transformers, Final Entry — The Break-Up

This has been a longtime coming. I think it’s apparent that I haven’t been enjoying Transformers as a series. Brian Ruckley just writes in a way that doesn’t appeal to me. There’s too much emphasis on world-building over characterisation, world-building that doesn’t feel organically implemented. Plot progression is so slow as to be comparable to molasses. Dialogue is bland and characters feel generic. The art struggles with anything but dialogue scenes. There is very little that is consistently good about the series. I don’t enjoy it and I don’t even enjoy writing about it — it’s too bland for that.

So I’m ending things here. Some things aren’t meant to work out, no matter how much you want them to. Sometimes, you just need to know when something isn’t going to go anywhere and let go. That’s what this is. Sorry, Transformers. It’s not me, it’s you. Look me up in a couple of years when you’ve gotten your life together, we’ll do brunch.

Also, that cover looks like the Transformers world of Kingdom Hearts.

Road Trip with the Transformers, Entry 5 — Transformers #5

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!

Last issue, we found out more about the world and very little about the plot, which is par for the course with this series. Last time, on Transformers: Lore Overload, Brainstorm was killed and a Voin was seen in the area. Rubble thinks he could identify the Voin but Prowl and Bumblebee tell him he can’t because they all look the same. Chromia and Windblade looked into Cyclonus and found nothing. The political situation is going downhill. Basically lots and ltos fo setup with lore peppered in, very little proper character work or narrative progression. Anyway, on with the review!

Continue reading “Road Trip with the Transformers, Entry 5 — Transformers #5”

Road Trip with the Transformers, Entry 4 — Transformers #4

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!

No new toys this time, because I am thoroughly broke. But that’s okay, because, frankly, the last two issues of this series have done a good job with killing my enthusiasm for Transformers. Previous issues placed so much emphasis on world-building that I genuinely found issue 3 to be a slog to get through. But we’re only a quarter of the way through this story, so will it recover? Let’s find out with our look at Transformers (2019) #4.
Continue reading “Road Trip with the Transformers, Entry 4 — Transformers #4”