Jun 12, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 474: Hero Factory #6, July 2011


Heavy night of drinking last night, and I'm far too hung over to attempt a reading of Batman #682. We'll get back to it tomorrow.

My other regularly updated blog stands as a testament to my love of Lego's Bionicle series. That line of toys lasted from 2001 to 2010. Over the course of Bionicle's evolution, the elements that made up the toys evolved and became quite versatile for building. Following the closing of the story line in 2010, Lego tried a few different variations on the theme, including a number of licensed properties (Ben 10, Toy Story, Marvel/DC Superheroes), but one of the things that made Bionicle so good was that it was a proprietary property. In an effort to replace Bionicle, and its transmedia potential, Lego introduced Hero Factory the same year that Bionicle folded. While the story is quite different (a factory produces robotic heroes to defend the world against threats), the general premise of robotic heroes and villains whose elements are interchangeable remains.

Bionicle also produced a long-running series of comics, and it seems that Lego tried to continue that trend with Hero Factory as well. Though I picked this issue up in a thrift shop, the discoloured strip along its back tells me that it was included in a Lego Club magazine, much as the Bionicle comics were. It's an aspect of Lego's promotion of Bionicle that I liked, and had I been a fan of Hero Factory, I probably would have liked these too. What's strange is that the series only ran 7 issues, and did not encompass the entirety of Hero Factory's evolution. This particular comic introduces the third wave of Heroes, but I can't imagine that the following issue did much more than finish off this story. The toy series continued for 4 years after this issue, but apparently the comics didn't.

The comic itself is well-realized. The heroes are distinct enough, both in appearance and personality, that one can connect with at least one of the focal characters. The setting is neat, a jungle planet, and the villain, a rogue doctor from the Hero Factory, is creepy-looking. An overall pretty good comic.

I never collected Hero Factory the same way that I did, and do, Bionicle, but I do buy the parts when I find them at garage sales or thrift shops. They're good for building, and many of the elements have made their way into the generation 2 Bionicle series that started last year. One of my complaints about Hero Factory was that it made the builds far too simple, whereas Bionicle, though less and less over its history, retained some of the technical aspects of its Lego Technic beginnings. But this is not the place to discuss this. That's on that other blog I mentioned above. Gotta keep my obsessions compartmentalized.


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