Brian Michael Bendis
VC’s Cory Petit
Wolverine is grizzled, dirty, and tired — but Old Man Logan is downright nasty. Logan’s resolve is killing now in the midst of Secret Wars, his motivations are questionable, his ‘costume’ is covered in blood — welcome to the new Old Man Logan #1.
Author Brian Michael Bendis has a knack for writing characters like this, likely affected by the heroes of his youth portrayed on the big screen. It’s impossible not to feel the vibes of characters like Sam Spade of The Maltese Falcon burning off the pages of this issue. This incarnation of Old Man Logan doesn’t even pretend to care that it’s walking in the footsteps of the original series with Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, the comic is devoted to getting down to the core of the Wolverine character and reminding us why he’s so damn cool in the first place.
Andrea Sorrentino’s art was always stylish — incorporating elements that pushed the medium further with really dynamic color flourishes and poses. Steve McNiven’s more polished pencil set is really hard to live up too from the previous series, and that’s where Sorrentino’s really shines as a creator — he forges his own path in this comic. In fact, the different tricks of the medium and elements of coloring and lettering that make this tale so organic is perfectly weaved within the narrative. I’m not sure where the talent of colorist Marcelo Maiolo and Sorrentino intersect, but I never ever want them to stop working together! When the story breaks free of the regular style of art and thrusts into the lush splash page, we’re introduced to the versatility that Sorrentino’s own art that has grown ever since his time spent on projects like Green Arrow. He’s become more bold since then, and is now unafraid to take even more risks as the story goes on with Maiolo.
One of the best parts of this issue is how the reader really isn’t sure if Logan has gone crazy or not in this story. He definitely seems to be pushing against some line of morality, seemingly now playing the role of The Punisher within his own story. It’s also great to see the character of Logan finally get a bit of a break. We’ve been living in a culture with a Logan on virtually every team within the Marvel Universe. When Charles Soule finally let wolverine die, the character may have found the solace that he needed. Now that we have Logan back in a different sort of capacity I can actually appreciate the character for who he is.
Old Man Logan isn’t a particularly nice dude, but with his family ripped apart and evil continuing to prevail, he doesn’t really have a lot to be happy about. Thankfully, this story isn’t a nuanced character study, it’s an exploration into the dark parts of Wolverine’s psyche that allows him to kill. It’s interesting to see how the Marvel Universe at large is integrated into this story, at the same time, the way that the greater Marvel world was developed within the original story was some of the greatest strengths of the original volume. We need to see the pieces of the Marvel Universe sparingly, but we still need to see them lightly developed within the story structure of Old Man Logan. The only gripe I have in this comic is that one scene in particular plays a little too close for comfort in how it adapts Emma Frost into the Wolverine mythos — other than that, it’s all peaches and cream.
The light ties to Secret Wars are standard at the moment, but effective. Just a slight mention of Secret Wars seems to legitimize whatever sort of tie-in currently inflected within the titles themselves. Sorrentino and Bendis have crafted a tale worthy of Millar and McNiven’s tenure on the title. If we had to have any sort of continuation of Old Man Logan, this is an excellent new path for the title to embark on. Through utilizing circumstance and really making use out of the little moments of mythology conducted in the Marvel Universe during Secret Wars, Old Man Logan #1 is a successful tie-in. Continuing the legacy of one of the grumpiest and oldest superheroes ever further utilizes the strength of Marvel’s flagship event that is dedicated to exploring the outcasts, rebels, and Sam Spades of the Marvel Universe.