Two years ago, cartoonist Ed Piskor posted a tweet stating that he had an idea to condense 300 issues of X-Men comics into a 300-page story, and Marvel took notice. Piskor has earned a lot of acclaim for his Hip-Hop Family Tree series chronicling the history of hip-hop music with meticulous detail and bold style, and he gets to apply his skills to one of superhero comics’ most convoluted properties with X-Men: Grand Design, a five-issue miniseries that gives him complete creative control. Written, drawn, colored, and lettered by Piskor, this title is a showcase for his multifaceted talent, and it’s one of the most personal, intriguing projects Marvel has put out in recent memory.
The first issue of Grand Design hit stands earlier this week, establishing the early days of the Marvel Universe and its team of mutants while also incorporating the multitude of retcons made by later X-Men creators. No one has tried to create a definitive timeline of the X-Men that streamlines all of this history into a single accessible story, and Piskor highlights the complex narrative that developed over the course of 300 issues of superhero plots.
This exclusive preview of X-Men: Grand Design #2, on sale January 3, explores a lesser known era of the team as it chronicles their battle against Mutant Master, a storyline that unfolded when the X-Men were at one of their lowest points of popularity in the late ’60s. It would be years before Uncanny X-Men would become a hit with the introduction of a new group of mutants in the classic Giant-Size X-Men #1, but there are some fascinating concepts introduced in these earlier issues. The joy of Grand Design is seeing these concepts explored through Piskor’s unique point of view, and these pages give him the opportunity to embrace the explosive energy of Silver Age superhero storytelling. The series is a rollicking action-adventure but also a tribute to the work done by past X-Men creators, and Piskor’s appreciation and passion for these characters and their world comes through in every page.