With the most recent trailer for #Logan being an absolute masterpiece, every #XMen fan can hardly wait for the release of the film. As you may know, the movie is going to be based on Mark Millar’s Old Man Logan eight-issue storyline from the #Wolverine series. It’s one of the greatest Wolverine stories ever made; a must-read for every comic book fan.
However, if you thought that the "old superhero in a futuristic world" scenario is something new, you’re very, very wrong! It’s not uncommon at all for a hero to travel to the future, meet his older self and share some adventures. In fact, today I’ve made a little list with the greatest older versions of our beloved superheroes. Hopefully, it will give you some insight into what’s going on in the comic book world and get you excited for Wolverine’s third solo film.
10. Captain America
First Appearance: Captain America # 21 (2014)
First on the list is none other than #CaptainAmerica, Marvel's greatest symbol of hope. Ironically enough, the older version of Captain America doesn’t come from the future but the present. During a battle with the Iron Nail, the Super-Soldier Serum within Steve Rogers's body was neutralized, causing him to age rapidly to match his chronological age of over 90 years. Unable to continue the superhero job, Cap decided to retire from taking part in field mission and take on a role as mission coordinator, naming Falcon his official successor.
9. King Thor
First Appearance: Thor: God of Thunder #1 (2013)
King #Thor comes from a dystopian future in which the menacing being known as Gorr the God Butcher had managed to destroy or capture all the gods of the known world, leaving Thor for last. With the help of his past self, King Thor managed to overthrown the evil tyrant, using his own weapon, the Godbomb, against him. After Gorr’s defeat, King Thor joined the Thor Crops and served as one of Doctor Doom’s enforcers.
First Appearance: What If? Vol 2 #105 (1998)
If you’re a big #SpiderMan geek, you might know that Peter Parker and his wife, Mary Jane, were set to have a daughter during the Clone Saga, the storyline which also featured the return of longtime Spider-Man antagonist Norman Osborn. Thanks to Norman’s schemes, MJ’s pregnancy resulted in miscarriage.
In an alternate universe, Peter and MJ’s daughter, May, lived and grew up to be the superhero Spider-Girl. Peter, now an old man, became his daughter’s advisor. Although he remained retired for most of the series — mainly due to an injury he received in his final battle with the Green Goblin — Peter didn’t hesitate to return to action when his daughter was in danger. He recently died by the energy vampire known as Daemos, the brother of the notorious Spider-Man enemy called Morlun.
7. The Maestro
First Appearance: Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect (1992)
The Maestro is an older version of Bruce Banner who seized control of the world after a nuclear conflict which resulted in the deaths of most of Earth’s superheroes and supervillains. His rule was brought to an end when some rebels brought the Hulk to the future with the help of Dr. Doom’s time machine, using Banner’s past self to overthrow the imperious conqueror. Present-day Banner managed to exterminate the Maestro by transferring him to the past and using the same gamma radiation bomb which transformed him into the #Hulk in order to kill him. However, since it’s comics we’re talking about, the Maestro managed to return to life some years later…
First Appearance: Batman Beyond: Rebirth (Part 1) (1999)
You thought that the list was solely consisted of Marvel characters? Well, here is our first DC entry. We all know and love the dynamic duo of the elderly Bruce Wayne and Terry McGinnis, Bruce’s official successor. Terry’s origin story is considered a classic nowadays; Terry, a rebellious teenager, becomes Batman after his father is murdered by the corrupt businessman Derek Powers, and he tries to save Gotham City under the guidance of Bruce Wayne. Although the series was cancelled after three seasons, the finale actually aired as part of the Justice League Unlimited series, with Amanda Waller, the leader of the Suicide Squad, revealing to Terry that Bruce is much more than his mentor: Bruce is his biological father!
First Appearance: Wolverine #66 (2008)
At No. 5, we’ve got the reason why I made this list: Wolverine from Millar’s Old Man Logan. In an apocalyptic world in which most of the superheroes are dead and the supervillains have divided the United States into territories, Wolverine lives a peaceful life with his family in the Hulk’s territory. In order to save his family from the Hulk’s grandchildren, Logan agrees to help Hawkeye navigate across the country and deliver a package containing the super soldier serum that created Captain America.
Old Man Logan is a great story, featuring some unpredictable, jaw-dropping twists and one of the most epic showdowns between Wolverine and his very first foe: the Incredible Hulk.
First Appearance: Justice League of America #73 (1969)
The Superman from Earth-2 is one of the bravest heroes to ever exist. Mostly known to younger audiences for his appearance in Crisis on Infinite Earths, this older version of Superman played a pivotal role in the Anti-Monitor’s — the main villain of the story — downfall. After the conclusion of the battle, Superman chose to stay in a paradise dimension with his wife Lois and his fellow heroes, Alexander Luthor, Jr. and Superboy from Earth Prime. Years later, during the events of Infinite Crisis, Superman returned and, once again, helped the heroes from DC’s mainstream universe with the supervillain invasion led by his old allies Luthor, Jr. and Superboy-Prime, even sacrificing his own life in the process.
First Appearance: Spider-Man: Reign (2006)
In Spider-Man: Reign, author/artist Kaare Andrews delivers an incredible story about Spider-Man’s career after Mary Jane’s passing. The cause of her death is truly remarkable, with Andrews having Peter himself accidentally "murder" his wife due to the radioactive cells in Peter's sperm and blood. The story is set in a futuristic, darker version of NY ruled by a corrupt, authoritarian mayor and his entrusted associate, who turns out to be the old-time Spider-Man villain Venom and the real mastermind behind most of the mayor’s plans. Parker, with some help from his former boss J. Jonah Jameson, comes out of retirement in order to fight corruption and, most of all, to fight his own personal demons.
First Appearance: Kingdom Come (1996)
The events of the Kingdom Come miniseries take place in a parallel universe in which Superman retired early due to the death of Lois Lane by the Joker. In his absence, some new and more violent superheroes who didn’t hesitate to murder villains rose to fame. After a witch-hunt gone wrong led by those heroes resulted in the destruction of the American Midwest, #Superman and Wonder Woman decide to form an all-new Justice League and take the situation in hand. Superman’s actions contrast with Batman, who resents him for leaving the world 10 years ago and decides to create his own team called The Outsiders, claiming that the Justice League’s interference will only worsen the situation. Batman’s vendetta against Superman leads to a mind-blowing conclusion to one of the most amazing DC stories in the history of comics.
First Appearance: The Dark Knight Returns (1986)
Words cannot describe Frank Miller’s work of art. The Dark Knight Returns is one of the most important DC stories of the 20th century, being mostly responsible for the drastic change of tone in the Batman stories that followed.
Just like Kingdom Come and Spider-Man Reign, which obviously drew inspiration from this story, TDKR tells the tale of a geriatric hero who returns after years of retirement to face off against political instability. In a world without Batman, Gotham is helpless against the gangs that rule the streets. Batman decides to make a comeback and protect his precious city for one last time with the help of a new Robin, Carrie Kelley. In his way stands the cunning, monstrous leader of the mutant gangs, the Joker, who returns from retirement, too, and Superman, who has become the government’s pawn. In the end, Batman battles and defeats Superman with the help of Green Arrow’s Kryptonite arrow, proving that old age isn’t an obstacle when someone is really determined to win!
Which old-man superhero tale is your favorite?