During the Secret Wars fiasco, the Marvel world saw the arrival of an alternate Wolverine, Old Man Logan. It is fair to say that the initial run for this character was disappointing but could a new writer deliver on the promise all Wolverine comics hold?
Jeff Lemire has taken over from Brian Bendis as the writer for this title and the change is immediately noticeable. The tone is much more fitting of the grizzled character and isn’t too far removed from that of ‘Gran Torino’ which also focused on an elderly man who still had a great deal of fight in him. Eastwood’s character in that film was also very similar in temperament to Logan and that is captured perfectly in this book also.
You get a glimpse at two versions of the same clawed killer in this comic, one from the present day and one from an alternate Earth fifty years in the future. The future Logan is depicted as a family man just trying to survive in an impossibly tough environment. This alternate take on the character is very refreshing and doesn’t sacrifice the anger at his core. In an exchange with The Black Butcher you see that internal struggle for control that this character was constantly fighting in his original timeline. He also appears broken in many ways, the depiction of him as an old man helps a great deal with this but also he doesn’t have quite the same fire as he backs down from a fight and shows fear regarding what the Hulk Gang will do to his family if he dares to stand his ground.
Present day Logan is something of 180 from this character. Of course he isn’t totally different but this version has been through so much hell that the readers have not seen yet. It is known that circumstances led to him killing all of the X-Men in his future and that his family were killed by the Hulk Gang but little else has been explored as of yet.
He is once again the angry, vengeful brute that fans have loved for so long. Beyond that though, this book is something of an introspective tale as the audience is guided by Logan’s monologue throughout as he tries to piece together what is happening to him now that he finds himself on a vastly different Earth.
Lemire is also working on the very aptly titled ‘Extraordinary X-Men’ book but he does an admirable job of differentiating between the two tonally here. The focus is less on relationships and more on the character of Wolverine himself. Lemire delves into what makes the man tick and how what he has experienced has shaped him into a psychologically damaged, yet still peculiarly relatable soul. This is not the Wolverine you will be familiar with and yet he is not a massive departure either.
Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo are responsible for the visual elements of this title and to say they have done a great job is to do them a grave disservice. Whilst the art on many books may be in receipt of some very high praise you will be hard pressed to find another title on the market that is drawn and coloured in such a fitting way as this. The tone has been matched with exquisite attention to detail and the end result is truly a sight to behold.
The book feels gritty and the flashback sequence has a subdued palette that puts readers right into an old Wild West movie. The hazy nature of the sun drenched, washed out pages makes for the perfect portrayal of the apocalyptic wasteland Logan is supposed to be living in. When the action moves back to the city the colouring changes slightly and things become a touch darker, trading washed out tones for bold blacks aside from the initial waking up scene where things remain suitably disorientated.
This team truly show their worth though through the creation of a pair of beautiful two-page splashes. Each is very in different in style to the other but both are a poster worthy sight to behold.
The buzz for this book has been pretty big and Lemire and co. have lived to the expectations. In fact, they have surpassed them with relative ease. The story looks to be going in a very exciting direction from the next issue onwards and you do not want to miss a single frame of it.
Score: 5 out of 5.
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