When it came to lighting upon the perfect ending for he and Steve McNiven’s post-apocalyptic Wolverine road epic “Old Man Logan,” Mark Millar relied upon his long-gestated plans for the series…and a bit of laziness.
“Everything else is exactly as it was, but I’d always left the last issue [to write]. I knew that Steve was taking a bit longer with the art, and I hadn’t finished part eight, and I thought, ‘What a brilliant opportunity to do f–k all for a while just to give Steve some time to catch up,'” laughed the Scottish scribe while telling CBR about May’s stand alone wrap up to the storyline: “Old Man Logan Giant-Sized Special.” Millar admitted that when he finally sat down to script the story’s final chapter, he realized he wanted more space to craft the tale’s final fight than a standard 22-page comic could accomodate. “So I said to [Marvel], ‘Is there any way to do ten extra pages and do what Alan Moore did when he was in his first year on “Swamp Thing”?’ That was make the final issue of his Arcane story line into an extra-sized special instead of a comic. I remember as a kid just wetting my pants at that and thinking, ‘Oh my God. This conclusion is so amazing that a regular comic couldn’t contain it. It has to be a special.’ And they somehow went along with it and said, ‘Good idea.'”
Although “Old Man Logan” reached a major turning point in January’s issue #70, revealing the horrific accidental killing spree that forced the X-Man to become a pacifist farmer, Millar has long promised the series will end with what he calls “a big high five” even though there appears to be more torment coming for Logan and his traveling companion Hawkeye. “Oh God, the high five only comes through in the final four pages,” the writer explained. “Issue five kicked it into high gear because you saw the mystery of what happened to Logan, but then the biggest shock comes in issue six. And then issue seven has the best cliffhanger in the whole series, and that leads up to an enormous fight in part eight, which is why I needed the extra-sized issue.”
Millar added that the issue should help draw earlier chapters of the story into sharper focus as details from throughout he and McNiven’s run come to bear. “It’s structured like a road movie, where it has three short stories – as these things usually are – spread over three acts with something that pulls them all together. But in terms of structure, it’s quite a bit like [David Lynch’s] ‘Wild At Heart’ where it starts off on one place and ends up on another. And when we conclude the story, we’ll pull in all the plot threads together.”
As for whether or not the end of “Old Man Logan” means the end of the post-apocalyptic Marvel Universe run top to bottom by the grandchildren of once great supervillains, Millar said that the end would not be the end. However, unlike some of his previous high concept additions to Marvel, this one would remain under his purview. “I always like to leave something behind, whether it was the Marvel Zombies in ‘Ultimate Fantastic Four’ or in ‘Fantastic Four’ itself where we had those Defenders characters that are catching on it. It’s just great fun, and I love doing that. In ‘Civil War’ I came up with loads of stuff other people picked up on. But the most proprietorial I’ve ever felt with anything is the ‘Old Man Logan’ universe. I don’t know why, but they got about three or four proposals in a couple of months ago from people, and they said, ‘What do you think? Is it OK if we farm this stuff out?’ and I just had to say ‘No.’ I’m never normally that much of a jerk, but I just love that little world and don’t want anyone else playing with it. Right now it still feels like my toy. So I said, ‘Look, I’d like to come back at some point with Steve and do more with the ‘Old Man Logan’ world,’ and that was what I used as a bargaining chip so they wouldn’t let anyone else do it.
“One thing I have noticed sometimes is that whenever something is successful – and this is at DC and at Marvel – then there’s always a cheap, shoddy follow up by the wrong creative team usually. And then there’s an even worse creative team to come and follow them. And then the thing just dies on its arse. I’d hate to see that happen to ‘Old Man Logan’ so I thought, ‘If anybody’s going to f–k this up, it’s me,'” Millar added. When asked whether or not another installment could involve a prequel to the story set in Marvel’s current continuity, the writer expressed hesitance. “I don’t know. Whenever I hear the word ‘prequel’ I automatically get pretty nervous and think of ‘Star Wars’ and someone raping your childhood, because for some reason ‘prequel’ is no longer associated with quality. Also, a prequel has a real problem because you know what’s coming. It’s kind of like the problem Bryan Singer had on ‘Valkyrie’ in that you knew Hitler was going to survive that plot against him. I think prequels really suffer for that, because you know Wolverine and Hawkeye are going to be alive at the end of the story. But in the ‘Old Man Logan’ universe, anything can happen, and that’s nice to play in.”
Although, while there are certain kinds of entirely commercial enterprises Millar will avoid in the name of story, the market-concious scribe also proved his ability to think across media when it came to the “Old Man Logan Giant-Sized Special’s” timing. “It means they can have extra Wolverine product during the Wolverine movie month, so it was a happy coincidence,” he laughed.