When you start reading superhero comics, there’s always that one comic that was your gateway. To a lot of people, it’s an X-Men comic, one of the several that the venerable franchise has spawned since its inception in 1963. I’m one of those people. But the X-Men have been in a precarious place in the 2010s, aimlessly rehashing plots without any advancement for the saga of Marvel’s merry mutants. So, eventually, Marvel decided to hand the reins of the franchise over to Jonathan Hickman.
Jonathan Hickman is a writer I have strong opinions on. When he’s firing on all cylinders, he’s able to tap into what makes superhero comics truly magical, blending character drama with larger than life figures, utilising grand world-building and incredible scale while still honing in on human emotion, all while creating high concept ideas. There are times his work doesn’t quite land with me and it can get lost in itself, but when Hickman lands, he lands hard. So it was exciting to hear that he would be tackling the X-Men, especially with him being a big fan of the franchise.
With that in mind, and after reading House of X #1, I decided that I would do this project. That I would make one more attempt at something ongoing where I could just… write about a comic on a regular basis. I’m going to review each issue Hickman writes, spotlight a few moments that I find particularly interesting — I’m trying to limit myself in this regard as to not allow myself to become overwhelmed — and give some thoughts on any news or upcoming series, before taking a closer look at story arcs once they are completed in closer depth. Other titles in the X-line will be looked at, but the focus will be on Hickman, hence the name HiX-Men.
With that in mind, I hope you enjoy the ride.
Phase One — House of X
The first “phase” of Jonathan Hickman’s run was released across two series: House of X and Powers of X. It was said that you could read both series individually, but that you gain more by reading them in tandem. Combined, this phase released weekly and began from the 24th of July, 2019 to the 9th of October, 2019. It focused on establishing the new status quo of the X-Men, moving them from relative underdogs to global superpower, while also revealing some things about the hidden history of mutantdom.
Phase Two — Dawn of X
The second phase of Hickman’s run ushered in the Dawn of X relaunch, where several ongoings building off of the status quo established in “House of X” were launched. For the purposes of Hanging with the HiX-Men, I’m not including the New Mutants issues that Hickman wrote as parts of his run proper — since they are barely related to his run and mostly just do their own thing — only X-Men (2019) and the Giant-Size X-Men one-shots.
Part 19 — X-Men #7, “Lifedeath”
Part 20 — Giant-Size X-Men: Jean Grey and Emma Frost #1, “Into the Storm”
Part 21 — X-Men #8, “Swarm”
Part 22 — X-Men #9, “The King Egg”
Part 23 — Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler #1, “Haunted Mansion”