Published: October 4th, 2017 – January 3rd, 2018
Written by: Ed Piskor
Art by: Ed Piskor
Marvel Comics, 92 Pages
X-Men lore is so massive that a series like this is actually pretty necessary for modern fans who don’t know all the details of the older X-Men stories and how things led to where the franchise is now.
X-Men: Grand Design is a fabulous series that goes through the entire history of the X-Men team.
The first Grand Design series was comprised of two 46 page comics. The second series is also broken out over two issues but this is about the original run, which covered the original X-Men team, mainly comprised of Cyclops, the original Ms. Marvel (Jean Grey), Beast, Iceman and Angel.
This comic moves very briskly, as it hits every major storyline in the comic’s original run. We see the origins of all the key players, heroes and villains. We also see how the Sentinels came to be and the formation of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, as well as all the hoopla surrounding the arrival of the Phoenix Force.
Ed Piskor did an incredible job of writing this and mapping out the story so well. Everything just flows and it is perfectly accented by his old school pulp-like artwork.
I know these stories but even I don’t remember every single chapter of X-Men history. For old fans and new fans, this really is a must own and a must read. If anything, it just tapped into nostalgia pretty strongly and it has made me want to go back and read some of the classic story arcs.
Pairs well with: It’s sequel X-Men: Grand Design – Second Genesis.
Published: December 27th, 2006
Written by: Ed Brubaker
Art by: Lee Weeks
Marvel Comics, 39 Pages
It’s been awhile since I’ve read anything from Marvel’s Civil War era but I though that I’d give this one-shot a chance, as I must have missed it back then. Plus, I like Winter Soldier and I like one-shots.
This takes place while the original Civil War was going on. It focuses on Winter Soldier trying to adjust to life after having been a brainwashed killer for so long. It also takes place on the first Christmas after he was freed from mind control while calling back to his last Christmas before everything went really bad for him, back in World War II with Captain America and Toro by his side.
This is short and sweet but it hit the mark for me.
You get to see the camaraderie between Bucky, Cap, Toro and Namor during the war and how important those relationships were. Then Bucky, now as the Winter Solider, is alone on Christmas, goes on a mission for Nick Fury and gets tied up in a fracas with Hydra, The Patriot, The Vision and the female Hawkeye, Kate Bishop.
Even though heroes find themselves on different sides of the Civil War divide, they come together out of respect for who Winter Soldier was and because it’s Christmas.
This isn’t as mushy as it sounds though. There is a lot of solid action and a good gritty tone while also critiquing what Christmas and America have become in the decades since Bucky was just a soldier in the 1940s.
Winter Kills is an enjoyable read and helps to build up Winter Soldier as a character. This also came out just before he took over as Captain America for awhile.
Pairs well with: Marvel’s Civil War, Captain America: Civil War and the Ed Brubaker run on Captain America.