Ed Piskor returned to the X-Men last week to continue his concise, well researched, potted history of the ‘All-New’ X-Men in X-Men Grand Design: Second Genesis #1. Like in his first two parter exploring the original X-Men’s highly convoluted history in print, Piskor has done a sterling job of recounting every key point for those early books covering, for the most part, the rise and fall of The Phoenix and, of course, The Dark Phoenix.
It’s another fast-paced, all-ages read that will really bring you up to speed on all things X-Men, from the classic run of Wein, Cockrum and later Claremont and Byrne, all presented in the hip, underground-like art style Piskor brings to each project he chooses, and infusing it with some street cred. The off-white colours also give it a sense of history, too. The whole vibe given off by this magnificent beast is evocative of that era’s comic books. You could almost imagine picking this up straight from the spinner racks a your local convenience store.
Piskor’s recognisable, trademark style of storytelling is a great strength when dealing with such a huge amount of material and condensing it down to one issue (of two) and he doesn’t disappoint. Piskor takes the core narrative events and beats and distills them into 8-9 panels per page (something of a rarity in modern comics these days), over 41 pages, and makes it look effortless. Reading the 4 page appendix, informing readers of the original comics he took from, you may begin to appreciate the work that’s gone into this book. It’s a book that certainly gives you a lot for your dollar, dollar bills, y’all. And, with his careful use of very delicate lines in his art, thickening them here and there to add depth and detail, Piskor’s pages never look muddied or confusing, even when presenting such all-out battles like the one between the X-Men and The Hellfire Club.
An engrossing read that could well stand, for the next few years at least, as the go-to guide for X-Men fans and creators alike. An encyclopedic and entertaining look at everyone’s favourite children of the atom, with added street cred to boot.
You may find issues still on the shelves, or wait for its inevitable collected edition (which I did). Either way, it’s a great, and in many ways, good old fashioned comic book, too.
X-Men Grand Designs: Second Genesis #1, is published by Marvel, as if you didn’t know.