Writer: Mark Millar
Art: Steve McNiven, Dexter Vines, Morry Hollowell
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Since the dawn of time… ok, since Dark Knight Returns, writers have been obsessed with the grim future that lies ahead for their aging superheroes. Just recently, we’ve seen Spiderman: Reign, various ‘The End’s for all manner of Marvel characters and even that #666 Morrison issue of Batman. These stories produce, let’s be honest, mixed results.
Now Mark Millar’s stepping up to the bat with ‘Old Man Logan’. The baddies have taken over, carved the country up between them, in a way that reminds me of Alan Moore’s proposed ‘Twilight of the Superheroes’ story for DC
(which if you haven’t read, by the way, you can and should check out here)
All the heroes are gone. Wolverine’s dead… but Logan isn’t. He’s living the simple life out in the country, farming, and struggling along with his family. Which is okay, though nothing particularly interesting happens character-wise in this issue.
What is interesting is the mystery: trying to fill in the blanks between what we know. All we know is the current Marvel universe (how current is also mysterious: more on that in a second), a few panels of exposition (“The heroes…disappeared and the bad guys have been calling the shots ever since”) and Wolverine injured and seemingly giving up, and the not-particularly futuristic future as shown within: all Wild West deserts and low-tech surroundings rendered beautifully by McNiven. Okay, obviously, but here he’s definitely firing on all cylinders, with a scratchy, sketchy look that compliments the surroundings perfectly.
But, fellow fanboys, let’s be honest. The real hook is seeing updates of classic Marvel characters, and spotting the little obscure references. Which there’s quite a bit of, with two cameos in particular which I won’t spoil except to say both are… interesting choices given current and recent events in the Marvel U. You even get a great big map of the US as run by super-villains to gobble up. Enjoy.
So the ideas are here and it’s interesting and it’s pretty and it’s very Millar, to be honest, but it’s hard to know what to expect from the arc as a whole. The issue is all setup: there aren’t any mind-blowing moments or anything that suggests genius at work. But I have faith that this should be a hell of a lot of fun. The concept should be a difficult one to screw up and, at the very least, it’ll be a Wolverine title that doesn’t tread the same tired old ground. Which we’ve got a good few of recently. Now, if only they’d drop the ones that do.
(Based on the promise of bigger and better things on the horizon)