The Wolverine everyone knows and loves may be suffering from a slight case of death at the moment but there is a more than adequate replacement at hand in the form of Old Man Logan. Was his encounter with Hulk as good as it had every right to be?
Jeff Lemire has proven himself to be a shining light in the world of comic books as is evidenced by his outstanding work on the ‘Extraordinary X-Men’ series. That same genius is being translated perfectly onto this title as Lemire seems to revel in telling the complex yet enthralling tale of this much older, much wiser, and much more troubled Wolverine.
The issue starts with a flashback to the future, but that future is Wolverine’s past (This is a deliberate attempt to confuse you, is it working?). In it you see a pair of Hillbilly Hulk’s, who are descendants of Bruce Banner, gleefully killing some livestock and torturing a farming family who have failed to pay The Hulk Gang.
Not only does this give the reader a keen insight into just what it is that Logan is trying to stop from becoming reality but it also creates empathy for the character as he had to live through these horrors, unable to help. It was through his inaction that a man died and then, later, his family met the same fate. You will find yourself routing for him despite knowing that the reality he has ended up in is not the same one that led to his future.
He is also finding this out slowly as he goes to confront and kill Banner but ultimately finds that Hulk is now Amadeus Cho, meaning he could never create the gang that blighted Logan’s life. There are other moments that have him questioning all that he knows too as things are not as they should be in this version of this past. This creates an exaggerated man out of time effect and it is done brilliantly. Lemire is crafting a narrative that is compelling, heartbreaking, and pulse raising all at the same time and he should be hailed as modern day creative hero for his efforts.
It will be nice to see if and how he will tie in the events of this comic to those going on in his other X-Men title. It might be smarter to leave the two as separate entities for the time being but it would not be impossible to make a crossover narrative work either.
Before going on to the bulk of the art on this book a moment must be taken admire the two-page splash that Andrea Sorrentino delivers early on.
Wasn’t that beautiful? So is the rest of the comic. No opportunity for gritty realism combined with the occasional bit of comic brutality is missed and it makes for one of the most visually arresting books you are likely to find from any of the big companies. Marcelo Maiolo provides some exquisite colouring to accompany Sorrentino’s work. It pops off the page when necessary, such as the above blood splatter, but it is also subdued and wistful in many places too. Such a well-balanced and stunningly penned book should be heralded in this day and age where too many are either massively over-the-top or disappointingly understated.
The summary on this book? Read it. There is no good reason not to and you will most definitely not regret it. This is one of the finest titles available at this time.
Score: 5 out of 5.
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