Friday, 4 August 2017

Old Man Logan (Marvel) Review

This doesn't come close to the amount
of blood in this book.
Old Man Logan
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Steve McNiven
So is this an argument to get rid of the X-Men or to keep them?

Either Old Man Logan shows what awesome stories can be told when all of the X-Men are killed off, or it’s a testament to the awesome stories that can come out of what is, ostensibly, an X-Men book. Either way, I’m surprised that I’m actually writing a review, because if you haven’t read this WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?!?

It’s sometime in the future and everything has gone to hell. The villains have taken over the world, the world is a post-apocalyptic nightmare and every hero in the Marvel universe is either dead or broken.

Wolverine is broken; he hasn’t popped his claws in years, preferring life on a family homestead with the name Logan. When his family find themselves in trouble with the Hulk’s redneck kids (yep, you read that right), Logan puts his hopes on a smuggling run across the US with a blind Hawkeye.

Okay, let’s get the one criticism out of the way: this doesn’t really need to be a Wolverine book. I could picture a Captain America or even a Hulk book being done to this plot without too many major changes. Nobody that is particularly important to Wolverine’s history makes an appearance here (aside from Hulk). We get only a passing reference to other mutants. Jubilee has, what, three lines in the whole book? The supporting cast for the story are otherwise almost entirely new characters save Hawkeye, who, again, could have worked with anyone and nobody would tell the difference.

It gets THIS bloody...
Luckily, Logan isn’t really the star of this book; the world that he inhabits is. It’s a little bit Mad Max, a little bit The Magnificent Seven, a little bit 1984. Villainous America (which, for once, isn’t a new name for the Trump administration… well… not explicitly…) is a bleak and barren landscape. I’ve only ever spent a short amount of time in the USA, but from what I saw, today’s America is geographically diverse and has just as many green places as desert. Not so for this future. Both the east and west coasts are almost indistinguishable from the Nevada. It makes you wonder what on earth these villains did to make the world the way it is. Trying to interpret old Westerns into the modern age doesn’t quite work the way that writer Mark Millar wants it to; everyone but Logan and his family end up coming off as more redneck than homesteader; but the sense of tension throughout in perfectly indicative of a gunfight in a dusty, one-street town. The whole world becomes the most enjoyable part of this book and I’m livid that the All-New-All-Different Old Man Logan ongoing has left that world behind.

... and THIS bloody
That’s not to say that Logan and other characters aren’t well developed. Millar really runs with the idea that the Marvel heroes are completely and utterly defeated. Logan’s reasons for not popping his claws are highly believable. Just as interesting is Hawkeye’s character. He suffers from survivor’s guilt after the supervillains ignore him completely (because, y’know… Hawkeye). In fact, there’s an argument to be made that Hawkeye’s life affects the story of Old Man Logan to a greater extent than Logan’s.

The art here is done by Steve McNiven who also worked on Civil War. McNiven has a way of drawing action scenes that somehow make you feel every punch to the gut. Every stab, slash and puncture comes across with painful kinetic impact. Being the bloody, violent book that Old Man Logan is, this makes the whole story’s emotional impact stronger, honestly, than any other artist would be capable of.

Overall, though, Old Man Logan is an absolute classic. Not to bang out a cliché, but if you only ever read one Wolverine story, make it this one. Nothing else starring the character comes close to this story that gets four and a half out of five redneck Hulk children.

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