Tag Archives: x-men: grand design

Preview: X-Men: Grand Design – X-Tinction #2

X-Men: Grand Design – X-Tinction #2

Writer: Ed Piskor
Penciler: Ed Piskor
Cover Artist: Ed Piskor

It’s here…the final chapter of Marvel’s best-selling prestige series X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN! Out with the old and in with the blue and gold as the X-Men enter the radical ’90s! Revisit innumerous classic storylines like the return of Jean Grey! The trial of Magneto! X-Tinction Agenda!!! And many, many more! With appearances by Jubilee, Gambit and the Reavers! Brought to life by the multi-hyphenate master of graphic fiction himself, Ed Piskor!

X-Men: Grand Design – X-Tinction #2

Review: X-Men: Grand Design – X-Tinction #1

X-Men: Grand Design - X-Tinction #1

Cartoonist Ed Piskor wraps up the 1980s era of X-Men comics in the first chapter in the final installment of mutant magnum opus, X-Men: Grand Design – X-Tinction #1. On the first page, he picks a narrative through-line (The fate of baby Cable and his parent Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor) and a Big Bad (Mr. Sinister) and then runs with it to an optic blasting, dimension hopping, ginger psychic battle finale. Along the way, he writes one badass Storm and synthesizes complicated X-Men concepts like the Siege Perilous, Roma, the Outback years, and the deal with Forge and the Goblin Queen into one action-packed, entertaining narrative.

X-Men Grand Design: X-Tinction #1 has all kinds of interdimensional and psychic events in it, and this gives Piskor an opportunity to diverge from his underground comics meets Paul Smith, early John Romita Jr, and Marc Silvestri (Any time the Reavers appear.) style and use cool techniques like “ghosting” his figures against a black ground. He first uses this when Kitty Pryde is stuck in her phase state, or when Storm is on a physical journey with Forge’s ally Naze to get her abilities back. It transports the reader to a world beyond the melodrama of superhero comics and uses the mutant powers to further the story or tell something about Storm, Cyclops, and Madelyne Pryor instead of just making the punching look cooler.

Speaking of punching, Ed Piskor does not neglect one of X-Men comics’ usual strengths: well-choreographed team fight sequences. And he uses those fights in an economical way pulling off a three panel sequence that some writers and artists would pad for half an issue. Other than his retelling of the classic hand to hand fight between Storm and Cyclops for the X-Men leadership, my favorite fight in X-Tinction is a three panel old school/new school fight when Archangel flies Iceman up to freeze some of the Goblin Queen’s goons and Colossus and Rogue punch them out. In a single panel and thanks to some big Jack Kirby poses, you know that Colossus and Rogue are the team powerhouses while Archangel and Iceman rely more on strategy and subterfuge in a callback to the fights in the first volume of Grand Design.

The only real weakness I could find in X-Men: Grand Design – X-Tinction #1 is toward the end of the issue. Up to this point, Piskor is easily juggling the Storm and Madelyne Pryor/baby Cable subplots and crafting a downward spiral for the X-Men as their team’s strength is diminished by the Marauders and the Mutant Massacre. This leads into the Outback years, the big Madelyne Pryor reveal, and after some psychic foreshadowing: the return of Jean Grey. However, Piskor immediately throws the original five X-Men into the narrative without mentioning X-Factor or establishing their return. It makes for a cool team-up sequence, but muddies the narrative a little bit.

However, Piskor does redeem himself with a funny final couple pages where the different X-Men basically ask each other, “What the hell is going on?” Like Arcade, Ed Piskor has set up a death trap of continuity mimicking the increasing density of the X-Books with multiple titles and crossovers in the late 1980s, and it looks like he will use X-Tinction #2 to get our heroes, er, readers out of it. Even if the different characters’ backstories are a little opaque and it’s hard to keep track of a growing cast of characters, Piskor’s storytelling is always smooth with clear narration and bright eyed artwork.

Ed Piskor’s X-Men: Grand Design – X-Tinction #1 is an achievement in focus as he chooses not one, but two characters with convoluted backstories (Cable, Madelyne Pryor) to be the anchor point of his exploration into late 1980s X-Men comics. For all the cool digressions and sizzling subplots, Piskor rides the momentum of this mother/father/child/ex-girlfriend/creepy scientist guy melodrama from page 1 to page 40 and even plays telekinetic baby keep away along the way. Like Renaissance painters who would find their own story out of a complex tapestry of Biblical stories and classical mythology, Ed Piskor turns the “X-Overs” of the late 80s into a powerful family drama that happens to involve eye beams and psychic powers.

Story/Art/Letters: Ed Piskor
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.2 Overall: 8.6 Recommendation: Read

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Pharoah Miles’ Favorite Comics of 2018

Vietnamese Memories

Vietnamese Memories – This series by Clement Baloup is not only timely but tells stories that rarely get the time of day, even in comics

Tao Te Ching – The creative team behind this book does more than an adaptation of this important tome, they make it understandable to every reader

The Prince and The Dressmaker – In probably one of the most heartfelt stories I have read this year, Jen Wang, proves to be a master storyteller in story and art, in a story that proves that people are more than meets the eye

X-Men: Grand Design - Second Genesis

X-Men: Grand Design – Ed Piskor has proven himself to be one today’s premiere creators with his Hip Hop Family Tree series, and he shows his love for the X-Men in this series that packs so much in in one panel, it puts most creators to shame.

Old Man Hawkeye – Although this series is meant to be a precursor to Old Man Logan, I found this story to be even more compelling than the story that follows this, as we meet many old faces, as well as new ones, giving fans a dystopian world very much like Walking Dead, but with superheroes.

How To Read Nancy – Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden give comic book fans a treasure trove of information in what really is a textbook but also a graphic novel, as this book both entertains and educates fans on the history of this comic strip and how one should deconstruct a comic strip in the first place.

Abbott

Abbott – In what is part thriller/ supernatural romance, we get a tale of an investigative reporter in Detroit searching for the truth about some ghastly unsolved murders that the police have ignored, one of them being the death of her husband.

Sleepless – As a fan of historical medieval stories, like The Tudors and The Borgias (both series) this series begins with heartbreak as the protagonist, Lady Pyppenia, is the sole heir to the throne, one currently occupied by her uncle, who sees her as a threat, as the series antes up on “ palace intrigue” as she navigates the scary waters of being a royal, as well as romance, as she starts to fall for her guard, the Sleepless Knight, Cyrenic.

Shards Volume 2 – As one of the best upcoming comic studios in the past few years, we get another collection from this talented collective, with their wide array of stories and characters that leave readers engrossed in these worlds, leaving nothing to chance.

Power& Magic: Immortal Souls – In an excellent collection from this small press company out of Oregon, we get a second volume of stories about witches who just so happen to be LGBTQ or POC or both, in what is a pure joy to read from such interesting voices

Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation

Destiny, New York Volume 2 – In the continuation of this excellent series, we drop back into the world of Logan and Lilith, and the mysterious magical underworld that lies in plain view, as they face controversy , secrets and ultimately, loss.

Anne Frank’s Diary: The Graphic Adaptation – In this fantastic adaptation, we finally get to see Anne in all her complexities, as the heartbreak will get the reader even if you know what will happen

Preview: X-Men: Grand Design – Second Genesis #2

X-Men: Grand Design – Second Genesis #2

(W) Ed Piskor (A/CA) Ed Piskor
Rated T+
In Shops: Aug 29, 2018
SRP: $5.99

SPACE INVADERS!
The Shi’ar! The Brood! The Starjammers! Watch as Marvel’s merry mutants take to the stars for the very first time all over again. See the inaugural X-Men adventures of Kitty Pryde and Carol Danvers. Marvel at the conclusion of the now-classic DARK PHOENIX SAGA. A great entry point for new and lapsed X-Men fans alike!

Review: X-Men Grand Design- Second Genesis #1

X-MEN GRAND DESIGN SECOND GENESIS #1 (OF 2)Cartoonist Ed Piskor leaves the Silver Age and enters the Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, and John Byrne era in X-Men Grand Design: Second Genesis #1 retelling the story of the X-Men from Cyclops and Professor X’s assembly of the “All-New, All-Different” team of Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Thunderbird, and Sunfire to rescue the original X-Men from the mutant island Krakoa to the conclusion of the classic “Dark Phoenix Saga”. The comic’s biggest strength is Piskor’s meticulous attention to craft including panel layouts and lengths, color choices, and lettering. With so much material to cover, there are no wasted beats in his storytelling, no filler. This does harm its emotional resonance which pales in comparison to Claremont’s original saga that partially worked because the longform storytelling created a connection between readers and characters and developed various relationships in more depth, like Wolverine and Nightcrawler, Jean Grey and Cyclops, and Professor X and Lilandra to name a few in this time period.

However, for the most part, Second Genesis #1 is beautiful, yet streamlined take on one of the most important pop culture icons from a talented writer/artist. Even though there are appearance from various secondary foes and antagonists and even mentions of and cameos from heavy hitters like Magneto and Galactus, Piskor establishes from page one that the Hellfire Club will be the chief opponent of the X-Men in Second Genesis while continuing the larger Ur-narrative of the Phoenix that he hinted at in the first volume of X-Men Grand Design. And the force or character that these two powers rotate around is Jean Grey and later the Phoenix force taking on the appearance of Jean Grey as Piskor agilely summarizes the retcon that allowed for Jean Grey’s “ressurection” and absolving of a murder of planets in a sequence of dark panels that show her go from a powerful mutant to almost a fetus. He even shows his horror chops in his recreation of the famous scene in the “Phoenix Saga” where Jean absorbs radiation and crash lands the X-Men team after they rescue Professor X from mutant hater and experimenter Stephen Lang. A classic countdown sequence combined with some shocked facial expressions builds the suspense that culminates in a firebird rising from Jamaica Bay.

Although Second Genesis #1 is much more plot-driven, and the best X-Men stories I would argue are more character driven (And Claremont managed to cram a lot of plots in too.), Ed Piskor still takes care to flesh out the individual X-Men’s flaws, personality traits, and memorable moments. There’s a baseball game with Nightcrawler playing catcher, early in the book, Colossus and Wolverine link up in a trademark fastball special, and there’s even a panel with Storm’s claustrophobia. Piskor writes and draws Kitty Pryde as plucky and ingenious without being annoying and accidentally saving the X-Men with her phasing ability as Claremont and Byrne were trying to finish off their great epic while also introducing an actual student for the Xavier institute per editorial mandate. She adds bursts of joy and energy between the shadow and flame of Dark Phoenix and whited out psychic duels between Mastermind and Cyclops. The Phoenix and Hellfire Club predominantly take center stage while Professor X’s deal with Lilandra and Shi’ar runs off to the side, and even though some of my favorite X-Men were on this incarnation of the team, they lack a strong identity unlike the original five plus Havok and Polaris in X-Men Grand Design.

Don’t get me wrong. For all its flaws in the characterization department (For example, Piskor puts Professor X and Cyclops at a graveyard at the top of the page, and Thunderbird’s death at the bottom and barely hints at his headstrong nature.) and lack of focus on the Jean/Scott dynamic when Jean is at the center of the story, Second Genesis #1 is the rare mainstream comic created auteur style by a single creator. Ed Piskor gives the subplot heavy, soap operatic narrative of the X-Men a strong thread to follow and lets his nostalgia and love for the source material shine on every page. His art style is retro without being simplistic, and there is a kind of minimalism to his use of captions and dialogue, especially compared to the overwrought style of Claremont. In fact, his strongest emotional beats involve few words at all like Jean and Scott spending one last night in bed before the X-Men’s honor duel against the Shi’ar, and he punctuates these emotional crescendos with the use of black and white instead of the colorful costumes, spaceships, and energy bursts that permeate this book and the X-Men canon as a whole.

Even if it focuses more on singular narrative building than the growth of one of superhero comics’ greatest ensemble casts, X-Men Grand Design: Second Genesis #1 is a wonderful example of the cyclical nature of myth as Ed Piskor filters the beginning of Chris Claremont’s run on X-Men through a lean, visually striking storyteller’s lens or his childhood fantasies through a steadier, yet no less energetic hand. I’d probably rather reread the “Dark Phoenix Saga” though.

Story/Art/Letters: Ed Piskor
Story: 7.2 Art: 9.0 Overall: 7.6 Recommendation: Read

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day tomorrow! What’s got everyone excited? Sound off in the comments below! While you decide, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

The Comichron – January estimates find Doomsday Clock steady, Hawkman soaring; Comichron adds on-sale dates to comics charts – For those who enjoy the horse race.

IGN – Secret X-Men Movie ‘143’ Reportedly in the Works – Intriguing.

Newsarama – Sony Signs Wizard World Deal To Target Con Attendees – Will this save the struggling conventions?

The Beat – As The Crow Flies and Roughneck win at ALA Awards – Well deserved.

 

Reviews

Talking Comics – Armstrong and the Vault of Spirits #1

ICv2 – X-Men: Grand Design

Comic Attack – Xenoglyphs Vol. 1

X-Men: Grand Design Goes Back to Print

Marvel Comics is going back to press for second printings of issues 1 and 2 of X-Men: Grand Design, the critically acclaimed comic book series by Eisner Award-winning, indie cartoonist Ed Piskor. The second printings will feature all new covers by Piskor and will go on sale on February 14, 2018.

The project, which has been worked on for two years, has exceeded stores’ initial orders. Piskor, who is best known for documenting the history of hip hop with the award winning Hip Hop Family Tree graphic novels, is writing, illustrating, coloring and lettering X-Men: Grand Design, for an epic undertaking that distills three decades of complicated comic book continuity into one compelling, self contained story.

X-Men: Grand Design will return late this summer with X-Men: Grand Design, Second Genesis issues 1 and 2. That will “fold-in the gold standard stuff with Wolverine, Phoenix, Storm Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Kitty Pryde.”

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors are choosing up to five books and why they’re choosing the books. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.

Brett

Top Pick: Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #1 (DC Comics) – I’ve read it and it’s amazing. Writer Mark Russell and artist Mike Feehan deliver what might be the best series of 2018 already. Yes, it’s that good. Russell has taken the classic cartoon character and reimagined him as an in the closet gay Southern playwright with a backdrop of the McCarthy hearings. It sets an amazingly high bar for the rest of the year.

Star Wars Adventures: Forces of Destiny #1 (IDW Publishing) – The popular toy line comes to comics and it’ll be interesting to see what IDW does with it.

Transformers vs. The Visionaries #1 (IDW Publishing) – Speaking of toys, the end of the last Hasbro even had the Visionaries come to the Hasbro comic universe and I can’t wait to see where things go from here. It was an unexpected shocking twist of an end.

The Walking Dead #175 (Skybound/Image Comics) – A new group has been made contact with and this issue kicks off a whole new arc. Can’t wait!

X-Men: Grand Design #2 (Marvel) – Ed Piskor knocked it out of the park with the first issue and what was one of the best releases by Marvel in 2017.

 

Alex

Top Pick: Secret Weapons #0 (Valiant) – When your favourite miniseries of 2017 has a bonus issue released, then you’re a little excited for it to arrive.

Last week’s comics – Due to a problem with the courier service, the entirety of Eastern Canada didn’t get their comics last week. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to getting my hands on those as well this week.

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