- Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
- Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
- Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
- Letterer: Cory Petit
- Publisher: Marvel Comics
- Release Date: May 27, 2015
Artist Andrea Sorrentino has come to Marvel Comics and they seem to have given him the perfect comic: a gritty, Clint Eastwood-esque take on Wolverine in the post-apocalypse. Sorrentino’s sparse, emotive style brings this hard-hit world to life, from the grizzle of Logan’s gray beard to the pain that comes with popping his claws. Fans couldn’t have asked for a better sequel to the original Old Man Logan, a story by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven.
It definitely helps that Bendis mostly ignores Secret Wars — other than the cliffhanger ending. But Bendis and Sorrentino clearly don’t need the Big Event to tell a great story in this world. I wish this wasn’t a tie-in.
Old Man Logan tells the story of Wolverine several decades into the future, in a United States that has been taken over by the Red Skull, where all of the superheroes are simply spectacles from the past. In various clever little ways, the new U.S. is populated by superhero artifacts. There’s the massive skeleton of Giant Man lying in the MidWest, and a small town called Hammer Fall was built up around the spot where Thor’s hammer fell during his final battle. Millar and McNiven clearly had a lot of fun populating their new world with Easter Eggs when they wrote the first story.
In the original, Wolverine was retired and living with a nice family, haunted by the mistakes of his past. All of the super-villains in the world had teamed up to take down the heroes, and they mind-controlled Wolverine into killing all of the X-Men. He hadn’t popped his claws since, but when a spot of trouble started brewing in the original, he set out on a cross-country adventure to slay the Red Skull.
The original ended with Wolverine’s family being killed by the Hulk Gang, so Wolverine killed them all (including Big Bad Bruce, himself) and adopted the last surviving little baby Hulk.
The new Old Man Logan picks up sometime after the original left off. Logan is still old and a noble, tired at what the world has become, but now he’s willing to pop his claws and right some wrongs, like taking out a local gang leader and his thugs. But he’s disheartened to see that the townspeople have no idea how to be free, and probably preferred the gang leader.
When the head of an Ultron comes crashing down outside his home, Logan sets off on a new cross-country trek to find out where it came from and what it means. We visit a few more locales and see a few familiar faces, only for Logan to decide that the head likely came from one of the different districts in Battleworld, so maybe he’s going to have to cross the borders to find out the truth.
Considering Wolverine has been largely missing since the fall, Old Man Logan #1 is a great way to bring him back. The book is pure Logan, distilled down to his very essence as the noble warrior fighting against a world that doesn’t make any sense. He’s Logan at his most Clint Eastwood, all rough, gruff and wilted confidence (at least when he’s not tearing into some assholes). Bendis keeps the dialogue as sparse as the art, keeping the same somber mood throughout. Even when he introduces the weirder elements of Secret Wars – which wouldn’t normally have any place in Old Man Logan – Bendis keeps it all at the same steady, unbridled calm.
And like I said, Sorrentino’s art is perfect for the story. McNiven is a legend in the industry, and the way he and Millar populated the original Old Man Logan, it’s probably for the best that he was around back then. But now that the world is firmly established, bringing Sorrentino in to focus more on mood and character than spectacle is the right idea. And with Maiolo’s help on colors, Old Man Logan may be the moodiest comic in Secret Wars.
Adding a police force of Thors or a visit to the 1990s X-Men would probably ruin everything Bendis and Sorrentino have built here, but such is the way of Secret Wars. I don’t know where Bendis is sending this old man, but hopefully he and his art team maintain the look, feel and power of this first issue.
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