Mar 10, 2017

[Comics] Wolverine: Old Man Logan

With the release of Hugh Jackman's final Wolverine movie, Logan, I figured it would be a good time to review one of the main visual inspirations for the movie - the original Old Man Logan storyline as it appeared in the Wolverine comic.

I finally read the story shortly before watching the movie actually. So yeah, imagine my disappointment when it really sunk in that the movie didn't really have all that much to do with the comic apart from the concept of making Wolverine old. Such is life.

But the original story is a heck of a lot crazier in the way that only Mark Millar can conceive. And given the wide variety of characters involved in this story, I can understand why the folks behind the movie didn't stand a chance of even approximating the story as all the essential elements were beyond the scope of the Fox movie rights.

Logan is a completely different movie than this comic. And that's not a bad thing as there are some things that one can only truly achieve on the page.

Synopsis: Wolverine: Old Man Logan is a story written by Mark Millar with artist Steve McNiven. The story ran from issues 66-72 of Wolverine together with a Giant-Size issue to wrap things up. Since then the character has been brought back in an on-going series.

In the distant future America is now controlled by the supervillains and they have divided the country among themselves. Most heroes were killed when the supervillains decided to take over the country and you have isolated survivors like Wolverine. But he's no longer the costumed X-Man and instead he's trying to live a simple life as a farmer with his wife and kids on a farm deep in Hulkland. He has also sworn never to use his claws again.

When the Hulk Gang rough Logan up because of them being late for the rent, Logan takes a job on from a blind Hawkeye to help him drive across the country to New Babylon to deliver a package. Hawkeye has no idea what's in the parcel but he suspects it's something forbidden. But as he needs the money he goes along for the ride giving instructions to Hawkeye as he quite literally blindly drives the Spider-Buggy to their destination.

What I Liked: The whole premise of an older Logan who has become a pacifist for some reason is an intriguing one and with one piece of his back story you immediately want to know what could have possibly happened to him to change him so much. And the story slowly teases the facts of the matter in a great manner as you move forward in this sad future and learning about the darker future that Logan now lives in.

I rather liked a lot of the ideas that went into the story. Sure it has a lot of disturbing elements like the origins of the Hulk Gang, but Millar crafted a pretty plausible future for the a Marvel USA where the villains decide to just work together. It wasn't even some elegant strategy but merely relying on their superior numbers, of all things. But it all worked and the story we end up here as a whole, not just the setting, is quite compelling indeed.

What Could Have Been Better: Millar has a tendency to get a little indulgent with the way he crafts these stories so you do end up with a fair amount of gratuitous violence even with Logan as a pacifist. We also have some pretty sad stories for the remaining heroes and some of the villains even that I sometimes wonder if they were truly necessary for the story as a whole. But hey, if you're going to play around in dystopian future, you might as well break a few eggs, right?

There is that wish that more of the heroes stood a better chance of surviving despite the worst happening. Or maybe even enclaves of heroes surviving in other countries since it's only established that the villains have divided the US among themselves - the fate of the rest of the world is not immediately clear. But of course such details would be way out of scope for the story.

TL;DR: Wolverine: Old Man Logan is a pretty grim tale but a well-written one with some pretty well thought out ideas for character back stories. It's rater violent at times and rather intense otherwise but there's a lot of good things to take from this story. Thus the comic story as a whole gets a great 4.5 surprise twists of the future out of a possible 5.

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