Everything old is Marvel again this week as Old Man Logan makes his Marvel Legacy debut!
Old Man Logan #31
Written by Ed Brisson
Illustrated by Mike Deodato
Colored by Frank Martin
Lettered by VC’s Cory Petit
Reviewed by AJ Frost
“This would sharpen you up and make you ready for a bit of the old ultra-violence.” – Anthony Burgess, “Clockwork Orange”
Old Man Logan #31 is a grim, gritty, and sanguinary tale. It’s the beginning of an arc that is wrapped in mystery and unsettling imagery. This is Marvel at its most brutal and unhinged. And, all in all, it is a great issue. Logan’s best assets are his wits and his claws, and both are generously on display here, even if readers are not exactly sure why. There is real villainy present, the dregs of society preying upon the regular folk without rhyme or reason. A certain veneer of nihilism lingers in this story, for which readers are treated to tightly-composed action sequences, strong writing, dynamic art, and brutality that stays ever after finishing the comic.
For the duration of the issue, we find Logan in Japan, though we are not exactly sure why (in the last issue, Wolverine was fighting the Hulk in the Wastelands). In the course of his wanderings, Logan stumbles across a group of thugs calling themselves the Crazy Thunder Clan, and while goons of the highest order, are somehow able to heal in a manner akin to Logan himself. Baffled by the discovery, Logan goes to discover the source of this gang’s power. At the same time, a nefarious chap calling himself the Silver Samurai. Sporting a high tech suit and a sadistic streak, the Silver Samurai is a pompous corporate brat who only realizes his hubris when it is too late. In the interim, readers are allowed to witness his ruthless fighting skills as he cuts down hundreds of Hand warriors with ease. It’s not until meeting the Scarlet Samurai that his fate becomes clear.
The creative team for this issue really pulled out all the stops. Writer Ed Brisson does a fantastic job of giving Logan adversaries that are, while not brightest, worthy of meeting his claws up close. His misanthropy is in top form on this issue. Indeed, a brooding Logan is an interesting Logan, and the former element seems to permeate this book with every turn of the page. I was truly excited to see what would happen next, which a good sign for any successful story.
But even more than the story for me, the art is the real attraction. The mood that artist Michael Deodato Jr. creates in this issue is beautiful in its pure bleakness. The choices made to combine the best of classic and contemporary comic design aesthetics is displayed at the highest levels here. This books simply feels like an old-school comic, though it purely modern. Deodato’s character work is superb and his fine attention to detail elevates the entire book. And when Logan has to transverse the many bulwarks of sinew placed before him, Deodato provides some of the most vivid, if not a tad gratuitous, elements of Kill Bill-esque gore that I’ve seen in a long time.
For fans of any Logan related ephemera, this book is a winner on so many levels. The art is unparalleled in its sense to break from the norm, the writing conjures and encompasses the best of noir and Yakuza literature, and the little details will keep readers coming back for me. Old Man Logan #31 is a triumph of mainstream comic artistry.
Next week The Midnight King returns to Earth!