Marvel Premier Classic that collects Uncanny X-Men 186, 198, 205, 214 and material from X-men (1963) #53.
Lifedeath is part of the Marvel Premier Classic series. These are attractive hardcovers with simple black jackets with a featured piece of art on the front (In the case of Lifedeath, the art is an excellent Storm in her mohawk/leather jacket phase). The binding is sewn and the paperstock is high quality both for the pages and for the jacket.
Lifedeath showcases the collaboration between Chirs Claremont and Barry Windsor-Smith. Windsor-Smith's art contains some of the most iconic, best renditions of the characters of the X-Men universe to have ever graced the series. The level of detail and emotion portrayed--particularly on Storm--has probably never been surpassed.
The issues within are a bit of a mixed bag. The only storyline a reader can follow in this hardcover volume is Lifedeath & Lifedeath II stories (Uncanny X-Men 186 & 198). These two issues are the centerpiece of this collection. The issues center on Storm and her loss of her mutant powers at the hands of one of Forge's inventions. The emotional highs and lows of love, loss, coping, and grieving are expertly handled.
Issue 205 "Wounded Wolf" centers on an epic battle between Wolverine and Lady Deathstike (her debut in the X-men). The art is top notch. However it is a bit disjointed and hard to place within the X-Men storyline with out any kind of introduction.
Issue 214 "With Malice Towards All" focuses on Dazzler (but includes the gritty mohawk/leather Storm). This issue is notable in that covers Dazzler's entrance into the X-Men. It also has some great images of the pre-ninja Psylocke.
Finally Issue 53 is pretty campy, early X-Men. It is a great inclusion because it demonstrates how far Windsor-Smith (and the X-Men as a whole) evolved over the decades.
After the collected issues there is a gallery of covers by Windsor-Smith as well as a few other sketches and drawings (covers for X-Men 54, 55; Marvel Team-Up 150 (Spider Man & X-Men); Firestar 4; New Mutants 36, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48; Uncanny X-Men 212, 216).
Because the issues do not contain a single unified story, Lifedeath may leave some readers a bit confused. However, if you have followed the X-Men for a while, I believe that each issue within Lifedeath demonstrates some of the best art in the X-Men series. I tend to think that the Premiere Classics would be better with a couple pages of introduction or preface by the artists. That said, X-Fans will not want to miss these issues collected in a beautiful hadcover.