X-Men: Grand Design #1-2 (Marvel)

X-Men Grand Design CR: Marvel

CREDIT: Marvel Comics

Rating: 5/5 – Ed Piskor Superbly Summarizes X-Men up to GS #1
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall

I try not to toss around words like “masterpiece” lightly, but if this guided tour to the history of the X-Men by Ed Piskor isn’t one, I don’t know what is.  Piskor is the principle illustrated historian working in comics today.  Like in his Eisner Award winning “Hip Hop Family Tree” for Fantagraphics, Piskor seems to have an uncanny ability to assimilate key points in time and weave them together into an entertaining narrative that both entertains and educates the reader.

The first two issues of X-Men Grand Design weave together events from the earliest days of mutants in the Marvel Universe up through the relaunch/recomposition of the team in Giant-Size X-Men #1. Piskor includes essential material that was only revealed through flashbacks sometimes decades later or in other series, but placing it into its proper chronological context in the pages of these comics.  Using his “faux browned pulp paper” background color these comics felt as though I was stepping back into the pages of old comics from the 60s and 70s.  Hopefully as he continues with the series up into the current day, he’ll switch to a white background as he covers events around the time they started using the high quality paper stock that does not age like this over time.  Other nice touches are acknowledgement pages listing the names of all the artists and writers who worked on comics with events that made it into the issues, as well as a bibliography with specific references to what issues the events depicted originally occurred in.

X-Men Grand Design covers “my X-Men”, the team that existed when I first started reading comics in the early 1970s.  Seeing the complete story of the X-Men told in chronological order was an absolute treat.  My fondest hope is that Piskor will be able to make me comprehend the X-Men’s history through the 1990s and 2000s where I drifted away from and lost track of their continuity as it became increasingly complicated and arcane.  I am eagerly looking forward to more issues of this series, though I understand that they are labor intensive and it will be quite a while before the next issue is available.  Whenever it does come out, I’ll be there buying it!

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
(bob@comicspectrum.com
)
http://comicspectrum.com/   By Fans who Love Comics for Fans who Love Comics

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