In this latest issue of the fantastic ‘Old Man Logan’ fans finally get some major developments to this plot. Until now it has been a tremendous comic with information being drip fed to both fans and Wolverine alike, but now that status quo has been switched entirely for both and it made for a special book indeed.
For a while now Jeff Lemire has been the head writer for both this title and the equally spectacular ‘Extraordinary X-Men’. Whilst both feature the grizzled Logan their plots had not intersected in any way up until this point. That was a rather intelligent move as it allowed for more creative freedom on this reality hopping adventure and didn’t force Lemire to worry too much about the story he was setting out in the other title. With this issue that has all changed as Logan’s journey of discovery reached its pivotal moment.
Since this new version of Wolverine burst his way onto the scene in Marvel he has been a man not only out of time but out of reality too. Be it in his mediocre original run or this new, far improved, one he has always been destined to have a moment of clarity where he realised that the world he now occupied was not the one in which he lived. That realisation would surely come as a bittersweet pill to swallow as Logan simultaneously became aware that the future hell he fled was no longer a certainty but also that his family would never exist in this timeline so he could never save them as he had surely intended. Lemire handles this with stunning ease as the conflict in Wolverine becomes clear through the way in which his demeanor changes. He is no longer driven by an all-encompassing mission and reverts back to his old life as a drifter, a man without a purpose. In a sense he becomes even more dangerous as his anger is no longer targeted and now anyone opposing him becomes a viable victim. This idea isn’t really explored but there is still room for it to be in the next issue before the X-Men team up truly begins.
The exact point that this book crosses over with Extraordinary X-Men comes at the end and it is hard to think of a better way to do it. You as the reader are not suddenly thrown into the team up but instead you are eased into the idea, just as was the case in the X-Men book. In fact, it is the same scene just told from Wolverine’s perspective as he comes to blows with the Sentinel sent to retrieve him and then is reunited with Storm and Iceman. As a scene it not only signals the future of this book but it also provides a rare peek into the emotionality of Logan as he is genuinely moved to see his friends again after such a long time. All of this adds to the stunning work that Lemire has done in terms of characterisation throughout this series, he may be the best currently at establishing his characters in a meaningful way.
Aside from these major developments, there is a lot of nice work that has been put into the comic as a whole. From the mirroring of the aged Logan and the aged Steve Rogers to the beautifully handled fight scenes. With regards to Steve, seeing him is what pushes Wolverine to begin to accept the truth of this new reality. After initially believing it all to be a trick by Mysterio he soon settles into the fact that Captain America is now an old man too. It is a relatively small detail in the grand scheme of things but it made a later reveal, that shan’t be spoilt here, far more convincing to the character. The aforementioned fight scenes are thin on the ground this time out, as the story demands with its larger focus on the mental rather than the physical, but they are no less stunning that before. The combination of Lemire’s pithy dialogue and Sorrentino’s multi page splashes makes for some of the most eye catching art work you’re going to find in any comic today. The best way to show you how tremendous these pages are is simply to show you this example…
As you can see, Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo are beyond reproach when it comes to their output on this title. Their characters fit the tone of a dark crime story which is exactly what this book often feels like. The switching between outlandish colouring to almost sun-bleached frames tells a story all of its own and very much brings the book to life. Each battle is visceral and gut wrenching to look at, whilst the more tender moments are treated with almost a reverence and are afforded a far softer approach though the expressions on each character tells an effective story in these scenes too.
If you are wondering what book to add to your haul list and you don’t have Old Man Logan already then you simply must pick it up. There are very few books capable of competing with this one in any respect, be it art or writing. The series may only be four issues in but it is already moving into classic territory and that is something that is certain to continue for as long as Lemire cares to write it.