Here you have the kick off to the second arc in this series, ‘Bordertown’. In perhaps a surprising move, Jeff Lemire changes the pacing of this issue entirely from what it has been in the past and slows things to little more than a crawl. Was it a genius way to ease into a new story or a misguided sidestep teeming with exposition? As always with Lemire it was far closer to being the former than it was the latter.
There will be those fans out there who wish to complain about such a terribly slow issue, and rightly so as it does make reading it more of a slog than comic fans would typically be used to. What those people seem to be forgetting is that this kind of dawdling pace is entirely fitting of a character that is seemingly in his twilight years. Old Man Logan is just what the name suggests, an old man. He is no longer the foolhardy renegade from his youthful days but is now a more thoughtful, less merciless character who is constantly tormented by the horror of his past. Sure, everyone reacts differently but it seems a safe bet that if you went through what he has you’d slow down quite significantly too.
An argument could of course be made that the world around him doesn’t need to have slowed accordingly and that the action of the piece could be forced upon him rather than having him actively seek it out. This is very true but then not every instalment needs to be laden with action. Every plot, no matter how nonsensical, needs the proper build and to rush directly into the bloodshed and dire consequences is to do the plot and the characters a massive disservice. Truly, Lemire has hit the right note with his script for this issue as he gives the reader a chance to become better acquainted with his lead character.
Lemire manages to achieve this by writing a large portion of the issue through the eyes of Logan in the form of an internal monologue. It is through this technique that you get a real sense of how mournful and broken this man still is. He may have been granted some solace in the rediscovery of friendships with Storm and the like but his past still haunts him. In a well linked in flashback, Logan recalls his first ever meeting with Maureen who was his wife once upon a time. To give the source of his anguish such a kindly, human face was a stroke of genius as you too can feel some sliver of the pain that Logan deals with daily. For a brief time Lemire perfectly relays the complex psychology of this alternate Wolverine and has you clamouring for him to find love once more and to be fulfilled as a character. Not too many writers can manage that in such a meandering issue.
By the end you find Logan to be in something approaching a better place, he is at least on his way to being redeemed. It is that fact that makes the final reveal all the more troubling and perfectly sets up what is sure to be a traumatic plotline ahead. Bordertown is not a story you’re going to want to miss if it goes in the direction that it so strongly hints at.
Andrea Sorrentino continues to bring Logan to life in way not previously seen. His character designs are as dynamic as they come and his ability to make even the largest of moments seem deeply intimate is a true asset to this particular title. It is a shame that the lack of action means that his uncanny ability to portray violence like no other is not on show but rest assured there will be plenty more opportunities for his sprawling splashes as this story hots up.
If you’re wanting an all-out thrill ride of a story then you have most certainly come to the wrong place. This issue is not trying to give you that in the least bit. What it is gifting to you though is a closer look at a fascinating character and the opportunity to latch onto this new Logan in a very meaningful way. To miss this issue would be miss out on something of potentially huge importance to this character going forward.
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