Author: Mark Millar
Artist: Steve McNiven
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Genre: Comic Book Trade Paperback
Pages: 199 Pages
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“Wolverine: Old Man Logan” is a collection of eight issues of the ongoing Wolverine comic book series. The story is set fifty years in the future after events that transpired where all of Earth’s supervillains banded together to wipe out all superheroes. From the start of the story the villains have won.
Wolverine has been a major player in just about every “what if” or alternate future timeline that Marvel has churned out. “Old Man Logan” is different. The Wolverine is dead and gone. Logan has gone into exile for fifty years to raise a family and plant crops. The villains broke him and he has vowed to never hurt anyone or resort to violence ever again. Even when Bruce Banner’s grandchildren come to collect rent that he doesn’t have and give him an extensive beating or when he’s jumped by the Ghost Rider Gang and beaten to a pulp with chains and spiked bats, he does not fight back…he does not pop his claws. It was definitely an interesting take on Wolverine/Logan.
Mark Millar of “Kickass” and “Wanted” fame is the writer while Steve McNiven takes on the art duties. Most Marvel-ites will recognize that this same team worked together on the “Civil War” crossover. McNiven’s artwork is flat out amazing with any book that he works on and his work on “Old Man Logan” does not disappoint. Although the concept of the villains winning isn’t a new idea in the Marvel U, the way that Mark Millar introduces that fact on the very first page of the story arc is both shocking and haunting. It catches the reader off guard and plants enough mystery to keep you anxious to find out what happened up until the reveal.
The basic plot after that follows Logan as he meets up with a blind Hawkeye shortly after Logan’s beating at the hands of the Hulk kids. In desperate need of money to pay his rent he agrees to join the retired Clint Barton as his navigator on a trek across the former United States of America, which has now been divvied up into sections by the baddest of the bad. Of course, Logan agrees but vows not to fight. Hawkeye believes Logan to be kidding around because he didn’t want to freak out his wife and children, but finds out the hard way that what Logan says is in fact the truth. But Logan realizes that, although blind, Hawkeye is still more than capable in battle.
On their journey across the country, Clint and Logan encounter some major landmarks and fallout from the fall of the heroes. They make a stop in Hammer Falls where the Mighty Thor’s hammer Mjolnir rests in the sand while people gather to pray around it, encounter the remains of the Baxter Building in the Midwest with the remains of Thor’s wicked half-brother Loki beneath it, face off against Moloids that have turned to collapsing entire cities and eating its citizens and barely managed to escape a tyrannosaurus rex that was possessed by the Venom symbiote.
As the story progressed, I really enjoyed these little glimpses into the epic battle that surely ensued between good and evil. When it is finally revealed how the villains took Wolverine out of the picture once and for all, it was surprising and definitely disappointing. I was also a little confused as to the actual real Marvel timeline in which the events actually took place. To nitpick the consistency of it a little bit actually discredits what happens to some extent and takes the edge off of the Wolverine character. For instance, Wolverine is wearing his more modern Astonishing X-Men outfit as are most other members of the X-Men while others have reverted back to their 90’s costumes. Jubilee makes a cameo in a flashback wearing her original costume from the 90’s, but she is apparently a current member of the X-Men roster. When Logan encounters Emma Frost aka the White Queen in the future timeline, they don’t seem to have any history at all together even though they would have been teammates in the Astonishing run. And when the time comes that the supervillains attack Wolverine, it should have been obvious to him that there were villains there that shouldn’t have been like Stryfe who had been gone from the X-Men timeline for years and the Silver Samurai who I believe gave up his position at that time. He should have also realized that he was killing way too many villains out of his power class with ease. Those things to me water down the illusion that is supposed to make that core piece of the story believable. Top that with the fact that Wolverine pretty much abandons all of his friends and fellow heroes and lets them to die makes it even harder for me to swallow.
If you aren’t that well-versed in the Marvel U or you can just accept what is handed to you in regards to the plot, then the end chapters of “Old Man Logan” really stay true to what Mark Millar had in mind. Hawkeye and Logan finish their mission and of course, as one would expect, all hell breaks loose. I like the fact that Logan tries to stay true to his stance against violence and is only forced into it by the villain that single-handedly plotted the destruction of all the superheroes and underestimated and overlooked one man that he shouldn’t have forgotten. Personally, I think that it was really, really stupid for the villains to pretty much let Logan live at all, but to be a villain you have to have that major flaw I suppose.
I would definitely say that “Wolverine: Old Man Logan” was one of the best Wolverine stories that I have ever read, even with some of its flaws. There were some things that I think would have made certain aspects of the story even greater in regards to the sheer comic awesomeness of it and one would have thought that Logan would have at least felt some kind of loss for his fellow heroes, but I think that would have ruined the disconnection that he had with the world around him. I think that the final chapter was really weak at some points even though it was a clearly a catalyst for a possible story continuation. I was very disappointed at how the Hulk was portrayed and I would have really liked to have known why he basically switched sides and became an inbreeding supervillain freak instead of being humanities best hope and I would have loved to have seen a little bit more about the epic battle and how things played out. You had a means to purvey these things via Hawkeye since he fought in most of those battles so I feel like that was somewhat of a missed opportunity. But with all of the aforementioned flaws and plot holes aside, the story of Logan had a resounding and lingering haunting feeling about it when it’s all said and done. And it has been quite some time since I’ve read a story, especially and X-Men story that gave me that kind of feeling. I’ve always been a fan of the dystopian future stories in comics and “Wolverine: Old Man Logan” is one of those stories that I won’t forget any time soon.
Bottom Line: One of the best Wolvie stories I’ve ever read, but not perfect by far. You gotta love a story that starts off with “the villains have won”.