I’ll admit it, I’m more of a DC guy when it comes to the comics. I have Crisis on Infinite Earths, Flashpoint, Superman: Red Son, and more. However, after a recent announcement of a certain Hugh Jackman, I snapped up the chance to buy a copy of Wolverine: Old Man Logan. And let me tell you: I wasn’t disappointed.
Written by Mark Millar and penciled by Steve McNiven, this is the story of a possible future where the villains banded together to take down the heroes, and the country was split up between the strongest of them. Wolverine is the only surviving X-Man, and promised to never again pop his claws fifty years ago. He settled down, got married, had kids, and decided to live out the rest of his life in peace. However, life wouldn’t let Logan go out easy.
For those who haven’t read it but are still reading, it’s about Wolverine, now retired for fifty years, being hired by Hawkeye, now blinded, to help him traverse the nation to drop off a “shipment”. It turns out that, fifty years ago, all of the villains banded together and fought the heroes, splitting the nation into five pieces after they had won. Meanwhile, a rebellion is forming to take down the villains, and Wolverine is caught in the middle.
I loved this comic. I described it to my brother as “Retired superhero road trip starring a blind Hawkeye and a pacifist Wolverine”, but it’s so much more than that. It introduces us to a world where evil has conquered good and life as we know it has been changed. The people in charge were able to break Wolverine of all people, who at this point has lived for at least 200 years, fought in Galactus knows how many wars, killed many, many people, and had his life destroyed multiple times. To have this looming over you for half the story – how could someone break Wolverine? Finally learning the story was just heartbreaking – I couldn’t even imagine going through that.
Once again for those weird people who want spoilers before reading (why do you do what you do?), the backstory is, on the night the villains attacked, a number of villains killed Jubilee, Wolverine’s sidekick, and when he killed them and went to help protect Xavier’s School for Mutants, the villain Mysterio caused him to see the students and X-Men as villains, and he slayed them all. After seeing what he’d done to his friends, he swore never harm another human being again.
After he gets his money to pay rent, he returns home (wearing the Iron Man suit, may I add) only to find that his landlords (grandchildren of Bruce Banner/The Hulk) have killed his family for not paying their rent that month. At this point he goes berserk. He viciously kills off every member of the Hulk clan, making his way up to the big man himself, the elderly Bruce Banner, who admits that he had Logan’s family killed so that he could have someone important to fight. After all, he hadn’t had a good fight in years. After a grisly battle, The Hulk swallowed Wolverine, who healed inside his stomach and tore his way out, killing the green beast. He then adopted the youngest member of the clan, a baby, and went off to save the world again.
This is a pretty grisly comic. We get to watch Daredevil and The Punisher get eaten by dinosaurs, Kingpin get viciously beheaded, mole-people eat the living and dead, and Red Skull keep the heads of his slain enemies, among other things. It was well-done though, and not too over-the-top. I’m gonna guess that’s not uncommon for Wolverine comics.
I also really love the world-building here. We only get to see it for a few issues (the story takes place over eight issues) but we get to see how it’s run, how the people act in different areas (Logan’s neighbors are very different from the Salt Lake City hero-worshippers), and just how far the mighty have fallen.
The single greatest part of the entire storyline, however, is its use of Ultron.
Ultron-8 is seen here not as a genocidal maniac, nor as a hyperintelligent robot who wants to put all of humanity beneath its rule. Instead, he’s played as the replacement dad character to Hawkeye’s daughter. He’s like Neil from “The Santa Clause”, if that makes more sense to you. It’s amazing seeing how much all this changed him. In fact, the real question is what happened that would make him so drastically different? He may be one of the few characters harder to mentally break than Wolverine. Also, you get to see Ultron in a Hawaiian shirt. If you’ve read this you know what I’m talking about.
The one thing I wish they’d done was use Sabertooth. I mean, he’s the anti-Wolverine, and in a story that covers the psyche of a broken Wolverine, he should’ve been one of the first characters to pop into the author’s minds in my opinion. But they didn’t, and it still worked well, so I’ll cut them some slack.
So, if you’ve read it, tell me what you think of it. If you haven’t, then go read it now. I highly suggest it. Hope to see you again soon!