Ed Piskor’s Eisner nominated X-Men: Grand Design series has been a wonderful journey through the history of the team from the perspective of an extremely talented creator who has a strong passion for the characters. Now we have one more chapter as Ed Piskor brings his person retrospective of the X-Men to a close.
Picking up where Second Genesis left off at the point where Storm lost her powers at the hands of Forge, Uatu the Watcher continues to narrate his observations from the birth of Nathaniel Summers (the future Cable) and Jean Grey’s return omwards. Readers are taken through some of the most memorable stories from the 80s and early 90s including the Mutant Massacre, the trial of Magneto, the X-Men’s relocation to Australia and the debut of several fan favourites including Psylocke, Jubilee and Gambit.
It’s been said several times but it’s worth repeating, the amount of care and understanding Ed Piskor has when putting this story together is staggering. Like the previous chapter, this volume is firmly set in the Chris Claremont era and Piskor continues to do a terrific job of cherry-picking the key moments of the period and bringing them together in a new narrative. Anyone who read Uncanny X-Men during this time will feel right at home as Piskor produces a faultless tribute to both Claremont’s writing and the more traditional storytelling style that was prevalent in comics at the time.
The continued key reason for this series’ success though continues to be Piskor’s art, as he brings both his alternate style and reverence for the classic art of Jack Kirby and company together for something truly special. Whilst the period covered in this volume included many artists such as Arthur Adams, John Romita Jr., Marc Silvestri and Jim Lee just to name a few, Piskor’s art remains faithful to their different approaches whilst leaving his stamp on the franchise. He even presents his recoloured version of Uncanny X-Men #268, a highly memorable issue featuring Wolverine, Captain America and Black Widow by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee which has long been a favourite amongst fans.
This has been one of the most visually unique superhero comics to hit the shelves in a long time – from the retro style brown paper, the use of Marvel’s Treasury Edition format and Piskor’s striking covers (this volume has a striking tribute to Marc Silvestri’s cover to Uncanny X-Men #251), there’s a reason this series has won so much acclaim.
Completists should definitely make sure their oversized Hip Hop Family Tree/X-Men Grand Design collections are complete. Anyone who has yet to check out this amazing tribute to the history of one of the comics’ greatest franchises needs to see what they’re missing.
9781302904913 – P/B £24.99
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