I have to be honest and say that this story arc isn’t really working for me. It’s tempting to dress it up as part of some kind of Millar backlash, following the slight underperformance of the “Fantastic Four” run it ties into, but the truth is that between “1985” and “Kick-Ass,” Millar has written as many books this year that I’ve enjoyed as he has books I’ve disliked.
Instead, we have to wonder why “Old Man Logan” is falling flat. For me, it’s the plot, which doesn’t seem to have anything at stake. The only thing that stands to be lost in this post-apocalyptic nightmare is Wolverine’s dedication to pacifism, but far from being a bad thing, genre convention suggests that the world would actually be a little better if that happened. Indeed, even if you empathize with what he might lose, the whole point of the story arc from the first issue has surely been to lead up to the exact moment when Wolvie pops his claws once more, so it’s not like the plotting even has that as a defense.
So, instead of a story with anything at stake, it seems that we’re instead getting an extended tour of the future that’s also being used in Millar’s “Fantastic Four” run, only in the form of a road trip. If the plan is to create yet another post-apocalyptic Marvel future, then it’s done well, but with so many to choose from already, it’s hard to imagine there’s anyone reading this being particularly excited by the idea.
Pulling the focus in even tighter on this issue, and we find a chapter seemingly left with the unenviable task of killing time before we find out just what made Logan quit the hero business. Even by the standards of the series, not much happens in this issue — indeed, the series skips halfway across the country in a few pages, which results in a few nice images courtesy of McNiven’s artwork, but as far as actual story goes it’s pretty sparse.
Some of the sharper moments in the issue come from Millar’s character moments, but without a more concrete theme to hang those on, they remain little more than moments that contribute only to the tone of the story, not the substance of it. It’s possible that Millar can pull a twist out of the bag in the next issue that redeems the series, and certainly I’m looking forward to finding out just what “they” did to Wolverine — but it’ll really need to be something special to make the last few issues worth the aimless, poorly-paced ramble through an alternate future that there’s no reason to care about.