Seeing Logan as an old man feels right.
There was always something too Neverland-y about Wolverine to me, with five lifetimes worth of experience despite his youthful appearance. His exterior and interior finally match up in “Old Man Logan” #1. Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino, the guys who made “Green Arrow” a must-read DC title, reunite to drop Logan into his own past. It’s well written. It’s gorgeous. It has a strong hook. Some of the beats may feel familiar to hardcore comics fans and pop culture geeks, but the book is a solid opening chapter overall.
Logan wakes up naked in his own past, much like another metal skeleton’d time traveler. Don’t expect an explanation, though, as Lemire pushes you into Logan’s blind confusion. This is a man who lost everything, a ronin forced back onto the never ending path — an alpha wolf with no pack, drifting across the wastelands of the United States. Now, everything he had reconciled as gone is laid in front of him again. His past is now his future. Lemire explores a lot of Logan’s turmoil in narration boxes scattered among Sorrentino’s expertly laid-out pages. I was pulled in by the pace of the narrative and the way the artist filled the opening shots with close ups.
Logan is the best there is at what he does, and what he does is fight his way out of a corner like a trapped animal. Lemire and Sorrentino give readers exactly that, and the artist uses his key-in panels to drive home smaller moments within larger ones, blowing me away just like he did with Marcelo Maiolo in last year’s “Secret Wars” event series of the same name. Maiolo’s coloring makes Sorrentino’s art shift dimensions. Interestingly enough, Logan has gotten sexier as he got older. Remember the days when Wolverine was like a jacked-up Danny DeVito with an alpaca sweater of chest hair? Now he could be an Under Armor spokesmodel.
I mentioned familiar beats in this story, but the creative team seems fully aware of this, as it’s called out by degrees as it’s happening. There’s also a direct homage to one of the greatest old man superhero stories of all time in the middle of the book; if you like Dark Knight Returns but love Wolverine, pick up this book just for that scene alone.
Logan views this opportunity as his redemption, but he’s half time-crazy. Lemire found an interesting flaw in the character and I hope he explores that more. Logan’s actions are expected; this is the guy that jumped through time and baby Hitler’d Hank Pym, hoping to end the “Age of Ultron,” after all. However, it’s the confusion, the misguided hope and the delusions that interest me. How can this man of honor — a man whose life is built on being given a second chance — justify homicide before an act is even committed? It’s a glaring action but one that Lemire will likely address, as the landscape of the Marvel Universe is very different from what Logan recalled.
The only low of the issue for me was the lack of impact made by Logan’s arrival, as Logan has been back for six issues over in “Extraordinary X-Men.” It doesn’t take away from Sorrentino’s infodump spread, though, which jams as much of Logan’s past into as minimal a design as possible.
If you missed Logan, you should check out this book, particularly since the creative team has a track record of outstanding work. The lead is a flawed man seeking forgiveness for his sins by erasing those who will come to cause him harm, which is a dangerous moral edge, but one on which Wolverine has danced his entire career. Welcome to the Marvel Prime Earth, Logan. Hope you survive the experience.