X-MEN GRAND DESIGN ‘X-TINCTION’ finds Ed Piskor returning with another gorgeous, detailed, and lovingly created distillation of another chapter in the classic X-Men Saga, including ‘Mutant Massacre’ and ‘The Fall of the Mutants’ and appearances by fan-favorites Longshot, Cable, and The Marauders!
X-Men: Grand Design is a unique concept. Reviews (and even the solicits) call it a re-telling, but it’s much more than that. Piskor has been doing more than re-telling. He has been distilling; those are two different things. X-Tinction’, which brings GD right up to the late ’80s, makes this more evident as this is the era where X-Men lore began to get extremely convoluted and complicated. We’re talking Mr. Sinister here. Yet Piskor is able to deep dive (20,000 fathoms deep) without getting lost in it. He does this by using the overall story as a narrative tapestry, highlighting moments both small (character arguments, thoughts) big (insert classic X-Men epic moment. There are MANY) and weaving them together smoothly.
Another excellent narrative trick is the on-going use of Uatu, the Watcher, as a narrator. It’s not a new trick, but in Piskor’s hands the Watcher narration takes on a certain amount of gravitas that is classic Marvel. It adds a ‘documentary’ feel to the way the comic unfolds (much like Piskor’s Hip Hop Family Tree books if you have read them. If you haven’t you REALLY should).
A mention has to also be said for Piskor’s use of old-school tools like thought balloons. Not enough of those floating around on comic pages these days.
Piskor’s art is refreshing, his indie comics roots are definitely in place. This book has a handcrafted feel missing from far too many pages and panels these days. The art here is miles away in style and tone from the original, yet it fits marvelously thanks to Piskor’s confident and passionate drawings. You can also feel and see a texture to the pages (this is helped by the paper stock used, which has a nice, strong and solid matte feel to it). The art looks great in digital format, but this is something to see on the page for sure.
A project like X-Men: Grand Design doesn’t come often. This is absolutely a comic for obsessive fans of the medium by someone who is equally obsessed. This is also a comic meant to be physically held and read by turning pages. In other words, this comic is meant to be experienced. And that’s what X-Men: Grand Design is. So jump in on this experience with ‘X-Tinction’ because Piskor’s ride is almost over (we have just one more issue left).