Before his recent death, Wolverine was able to turn his life of violence around and leave behind a legacy that inspired his allies and even some of his enemies, but not all of his interdimensional counterparts were so lucky. In June 2008, writer Mark Millar and artist Steve McNiven introduced readers to a Wolverine whose heroism had been poisoned and perverted with their "Old Man Logan" storyline set on Earth 807128, a dark dystopian reality where super villains had conquered the world and Wolverine was duped into murdering the X-Men. The series followed the now gray-haired title character on a physical journey across a ravaged America and an emotional one from pacifist farmer and family man to violent avenger on a quest to return justice to a savage world.
Brian Michael Bendis and artist Andrea Sorrentino recently revisited the devastated world in their "Old Man Logan" miniseries for the current "Secret Wars" event, which began with the title character leaving his home reality (now part of the Doom-created Battleworld) and concluded with the older Wolverine suddenly finding himself on the streets of the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe. Now has a chance to make sure the horrible reality he hails from never comes to pass.
This January, writer Jeff Lemire will reunite with his "Green Arrow" collaborator Sorrentino to chronicle what the elderly, otherworld Wolverine does with that chance in a new "Old Man Logan" ongoing series. CBR News spoke with Lemire about his title character's views on the new Marvel Universe; the potential stories he can tell with his protagonist; the characters Logan will encounter initially; and how connected Old Man Logan's solo adventures will be to his exploits in Lemire's "Extraordinary X-Men."
CBR News: In "Old Man Logan" your title character is in a pretty interesting role as the survivor of a brutal dystopian possible future who's given a second chance by being dropped into the new, post-"Secret Wars" Marvel Universe. Can you talk about what that has done to the character emotionally? What does that second chance mean to him and how will he view it?
Jeff Lemire: At first Logan, and hopefully the reader, will be a bit disoriented. In issue #1 we pick up with Logan the second after he arrives in the present day Marvel U and we hit the ground running and don't really stop in our first arc. It's a very fast-paced arc.
Logan's initial thought is, "I cannot let that future happen. I must be here for a reason, I will not let it happen again." So he goes to work.
As our story unfolds the emotional weight of his situation starts to really hit him. Everyone he's lost is back. But he will be very hesitant in connecting with them again. His worst fear is losing them all over again.
You'll be picking up the adventures of Old Man Logan first in "Extraordinary X-Men" where he'll be a member of the titular team, but it sounds like the initial arc of his solo series actually takes place prior to him joining the group. How much interplay will there be between "Extraordinary X-Men" and "Old Man Logan?"
Our first arc of "Old Man Logan" will actually take place before Logan meets the Extraordinary X-Men and joins the team. He's on his own at first, getting his bearings and trying to figure out his place in this world. Then things line up with "Extraordinary X-Men" and we will see a bit more interplay, but for the most part I want to keep things separate. Let each series have its own identity. We get solo Logan adventures in this series, and get to see him with a team in "Extraordinary X-Men."
One of the appealing things about Wolverine was that the character's background and abilities allowed him to appear in almost any kind of story. Will that be the case with "Old Man Logan?" Do you think the title character lends himself to a variety of stories or specific ones?
His versatility is one of the most appealing elements of the character. I almost want every arc to feel like its own story in a different genre. We get big super hero stuff in arc 1. Arc 2 is a horror/thriller, arc 3 will be a bit more sci-fi.
Will the action in "Old Man Logan" unfold strictly in the title character's present day or are you interested in exploring more of the world he hails from in flashback?
Both. There are still some unseen corners of The Wastelands I want to explore. Particularly I was interested in the big gap between the time when Logan killed the X-Men and when he met his wife and had a family. There is a lot there to get into. And also the days and weeks leading up to the death of his family at the hands of the Hulk Gang.
Anything we see from the Wastelands will go to inform the present day story and Logan's motivations in the current Marvel U.
"Old Man Logan" is now an inhabitant of a world where his present day counterpart is deceased and was connected to a large number of people. What does that mean for your supporting cast and antagonists? Has word gotten out that an older Wolverine is wandering around? Can you hint or tease some of the characters that you currently have plans for?
If you take all the major players from the original Millar/McNiven story and then look at their present day Marvel U incarnations, you have a pretty good tease of who we may encounter.
To me Old Man Logan is the most scarred character in the Marvel Universe. He bears the most history and the most pain. And, despite all the pain and suffering he endures, he still chooses to be a hero. He still always gets up and keeps going. That is very appealing to me. He's the guy you can put through hell and he just keeps coming, keeps trying to do the right thing.
Wolverine in general is an amazing character, and being a proud Canadian, he's probably the most iconic Canadian super hero, so I was eager to put my stamp on him, but there have been so many Wolverine stories at this point, that it was really the fact that I would get to write Old Man Logan that did it for me. I love the original story and the idea of bringing Old Man Logan back to the present day Marvel Universe allowed me to put a totally new spin on all of Wolverine's relationships and all the tropes one might expect from a Wolverine story.
Another draw of this book for you was the chance to reunite with your "Green Arrow" collaborator, artist Andrea Sorrentino, who illustrated the "Old Man Logan" "Secret Wars" series. What's it like reuniting with Andrea on a book like this? What do you enjoy most about his style?
I really enjoy working with Andrea and colorist Marcelo Maiolo. They are a great team and I love how evocative and unique their art style is. There is certainly a level of comfort I enjoy reuniting with a team I've had success with in the past. But we also want to push ourselves to do new things and tell new kinds of stories together.
Finally, we've talked in general about some of your plans, can you leave us some concrete hints and teases about what kind of action Old Man Logan will find himself getting into when the series begins?
The original story I pitched for "Old Man Logan" will now actually be the second storyline in the series, because the more I got into it, the more I realized I needed the first arc to really be about Logan experiencing the All-New Marvel U. Really seeing it through his eyes. As strange as it may sound, there is actually no villain in the first arc, yet there's a lot of fighting. It's a really strange opening and a really emotional one. Logan is his own worst enemy when the series starts.
"Old Man Logan" #1 debuts January 27, 2016 from Marvel Comics.