SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Old Man Logan #46 by Ed Brisson, Damian Couciero, Carlos Lopez and VC's Cory Petit, on sale now.
The tale of Old Man Logan in the Marvel Prime Universe is seemingly poised to end soon, starting with Issue #50 as the series finale of his current solo title. This all builds to a 12-part limited series called Dead Man Logan, which will bring the curtains down on the hero and cap off his story of being a mutant displaced from his own reality post-Secret Wars.
To set up this conclusion, Marvel is focusing on his healing factor mysteriously weakening, more or less painting a death sentence. Come Old Man Logan #46, readers get a few more details about why this is happening, which makes it clear that Logan's slow demise is actually something we've seen before.
The adamantium coating his bones is poisoning his body, which is the same plot Fox used for the character in the Oscar-nominated Logan last year.
In James Mangold's movie, Hugh Jackman was no longer the Wolverine. He had accepted his fate and was simply waiting out his days, poisoned and withering away. Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and X-23 (Dafne Keen) would get him back into the mix of things eventually, but the world's most popular X-Man would meet his end when a clone, X-24, impaled him on a tree.
With his healing factor basically gone, Logan died in a very emotional ending that honestly felt like a relief for the character, who had become susceptible to every bullet wound, blow and cut delivered upon him -- and there were a lot in Logan. In short, Logan had become more human than we'd ever seen him, not just physically but mentally, too.
Here, Old Man Logan is evoking that same kind of drama, drawing out a world-weary Logan in his last days. In this issue, he partners with Alpha Flight to fight off a parasitic alien engulfing a strange town, but his pain is getting the best of him, hindering him in the field. We've known for a while his body can't heal like it used to, but we didn't know exactly why. Now, following medical testing by Alpha Flight's Shaman, the official diagnosis confirms he's being poisoned by the very thing that has protected him for decades.
The adamantium is releasing toxins into his bloodstream, nullifying his healing factor. The new Regenix substance he introduced into his system is also catalyzing the decay instead of helping to preserve his body, and this leaves Shaman with one choice: Remove the adamantium from his skeleton. However, that option's not feasible because the metal has been grafted onto Logan for so long. Taking it off would kill him, as he wouldn't be able to heal from such an extensive extraction process.
Shaman tells a depressed Old Man Logan that even mysticism is beyond saving him, and that, as much as science created him, it has little to no solution for the problem at hand. In other words, Logan has to wait to die a slow, painful death, which Shaman more or less calls his destiny. It's all summed up when he tells the superhero he should prepare "for what comes next," meaning death.
Aside from telling Puck, Old Man Logan keeps it a secret because he just wants to spend his final days dispensing bloody justice. He doesn't want to burden anyone and, to that point, his actions are also very similar to Jackman's Logan. He's now being depicted as someone who wants to pull away from the world and become a recluse. Sadly, given that he slaughtered his own kind back home and is truly missing his dead family, he's not so much resigned to death, but instead welcomes it. His diagnosis is quite tragic, but Old Man Logan has endured a very turbulent life. Perhaps a heroic send-off to the afterlife to be reunited with his wife and kids could be just what the doctor ordered.