Secret Wars & Wolverine Review & Spoilers: Old Man Logan #1 By Brian Michael Bendis, Andrea Sorrentino, Marcelo Maiolo

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“” (31 pages)
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Andrea Sorrentino
Colors by: Marcelo Maiolo
Letters by: VC’s Cory Petit
Covers by: Andrea Sorrentino & Marcelo Maiolo; Skottie Young;
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
The long-awaited sequel to the Mark Millar-penned and Steve McNiven-illustrated story has slashed its way onto shelves!! I was smart enough to collect this epic in its initial run, despite the delays. No regrets!!

Who’d have thunk that Bendis could scribe the Claw-Man like a champ?!? This is a futuristic western that is set to become a new modern classic. Brace yourselves for the intensity. SNIKT!!

Normally, I critique the art and story at the end but I’ll start with these criteria. I already lauded the writer in the aforementioned paragraph. Let me just emphasize how tight and focused the narrative turns out to be. There is just enough dialogue and zero exposition. This works in favour of the tale since Logan is a man of action and less than fifty words. Bendis places the accent on Logan’s new mission: to be a hero despite the dystopian milieu. Logan is one of the most complex fictional characters ever. In this chapter, he goes from unwanted lawman to father-figure to compassionate colleague to determined do-gooder. The last two traits are a complete 360 of someone who slices and dices with nary a though (even if it directed at the deserving individuals). This is level one of Logan’s rage. The more visceral parts are yet to come!!

Andrea Sorrentino’s presence at Marvel is a major coup. The Italian-born artist made his mark (pun intended) at the Distinguished Competition’s GREEN ARROW. I have all twenty issues of that run and drooled like a baby over each and every one of them. This man is a triple threat having inked and coloured his own pieces as well as that of others. You’re in for a terrific treat each time you crack open a comic featuring this man’s craft. His style is nuanced, bombastic, intricate, multi-paneled. In short, he is changing it up with every single page. He is a master of the foreground and close-ups, the panoramic sweeps, the components behind the scenes that you might miss if you just gloss them over. This man draws the hell out of everything!! Facial features, body language, additional backdrops, sound effects, the contrast between shadow and light. You name it, he does it!!! Each panel from each page should be examined thoroughly. Remember: comics is a collaborative, two-tiered form of storytelling — the images count more than the words ninety-five percent of the time. I’ll stop gushing for now. I may go back to him afterwards.

Marcelo Maiolo is a frequent collaborator of Mr. Sorrentino’s. His colours boost Andrea’s inks and pencils. In fact, I’d speculate that the shading or darker tones may be done by Mr. Maiolo in Andrea’s stead. Marcelo elicits the Western feel. The vast wasteland that Logan now walks is characterized by the buttes, cacti, and dust. The sepia tones reflect the lack of brightness in this era. Logan is a pale rider but he is not the harbinger of death. He is the herald of hope.

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On with the show!! I’ll divide this opener into five parts.

1: Clean-up, Wolverine style [14 pages]

A agen poker game is being played. A guy in a Daredevil costume is given some face time. He has news to deliver: the Hulks seem to have vanished off world. The head honcho is named Gladiator. He sports an Iron Man helmet and has that code name tattooed all across his chest. He is doubtful of this piece of news. The wannabe DD begins to tell him of ‘this guy’. That is interrupted by the appearance of said guy. A shadowy figure who wants to take down the falsely-named straw boss for the abduction and murder of children. This mystery man is so bold that when he is threatened with the count of three, he pours cola over DD’s head and does the countdown himself. ‘Gladiator’ is enraged, pulls out his guns, and orders his execution.

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Calm leads to the first goring. Blood splatters. Limbs and organs are severed. Glass is broken. Impact is made against a jeep. I was amiss in my observation. There are several DDs. When Logan is tossed out the window and catches his breath, he lunges forward. Bullets make contact with his brick-like body. With the last man standing, he demands that the young gun take off his mask. Logan asks him if he is even aware of the significance of the costume. The punk responds that it’s a cool look. Logan is more enraged by the ignorance and before you know it, goodbye Charlie!!

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The local prostitutes are caught off-guard. They muse over their return to Santa Fe. They are completely clueless with their newly-found freedom. After being subjugated for so long, the emergence of free will is foreign to them. Logan suggests they just make the most of their new lives by salvaging and carrying on.

A bullet grazes Logan’s face. A chubby, bald boy (kinda like the Kingpin) pulled the trigger. BB is upset that Logan killed his pa who happened to be that town’s tyrant. Logan tells the kid that he did him an enormous service and that he’ll be grateful in the near future. The boy vows vengeance. Logan will indulge him if/when that day comes. The townsfolk gather round. Logan encourages them all to relish their freedom. His encouraging words are met with silence. I love how he ends his speech: upon his return, if nothing positive has been done, he will raze their habitat and usher the entrance of a new overlord.

2: Dust in the wind [4 pages]

Trotting along atop his alabaster equine, Logan travels at a slow, undetermined pace. The landscape is breathtaking. Nothing but mesas, cacti and sand flying about under the blazing yellow orb. After a minor dust storm, Logan spots an Ultron helmet. In a Hamlet-esque pose, he speaks to it, expecting a response. Nada. He is a bit baffled by this.

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3: Home is where you hang your hat (or drop a helmet) [3 pages]

Logan makes a pit stop at home. Danielle Cage is waiting for him along with baby Hulk. Say what?!? Read the recap page! This is Bruce Banner, Jr. from the previous installment. Danielle wonders about Logan’s well-being and asks of his mission. Both A-OK. When Dani espies the Adamantium-laced cranium, she is at a loss. Logan informs her that it comes from a malevolent AI and that her dad busted a few back in his day. He is leaving immediately. He must investigate the waylaid relic. He asks her how she is getting along with little Bruce. She enjoys the company and mentions the infant’s voracious appetite. Logan has to abandon her once again. With a tinge of sadness, he states that she takes after both parents in terms of her looks. She cuts him short since they are deceased. Logan drops enough cash for her to get food and supplies. As he walks out, a family photo shows Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, and Dani as an infant.

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4: Product of a bygone era [8 pages]

Logan makes his way to Hammer Falls, Nevada. This is the reinterpretation of Sin City. As he approaches a seedy hotel, Jean Grey is there to greet him. Fake-out!! It turns out to be none other than Emma Frost. She’s not an illusion caster but as a telepath she sure can mess with your head!! I gasped when I thought it was Jean.

She insincerely wonders about the nature of his visit. Luckily, Logan isn’t as susceptible to her mind games. He wants to know the whereabouts of the Ultron familiar to him. He then demands that she drop her defenses and show her true appearance. Womanly pride makes her refuse. That, and she’s envious of Logan’s healing factor that causes him to delay the ageing process.

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Logan is disappointed at the ramshackle where Emma now resides. She flat out blames him. After he took out the Kingpin, the Hulk Clan, and Banner himself, a vacuum was created. The Punishers vied for the power that granted them the open territories. Emma came to the city and witnessed the massacre. She tried to overtake them but her elderly status has weakened her powers.

Logan is seeking Ultron-8 so that he can examine the head. It belonged to an Ultron-5. Emma tells him to cease and desist and live the idyllic existence. That’s definitely not Logan’s raison d’être. Emma points out that Logan already has the answer to his question. Number Five’s helmet came from over the walls (the Shield). He shouldn’t bother playing the hero anymore. He retorts that Doom is supposed to be the absolute saviour. Logan tries to convince Emma that she can still make a life for herself. Too little, too late. The Punishers got to her. They were quick in their attacks that she couldn’t turn into her diamond form. Her telepathic assaults exacerbated the situation rather than subdue the gun-crazed men. She’s bleeding out but assures Logan she feels no pain. He commends her on her lifelong contributions. She mentions how much she misses teaching. He agrees. Her last words are the fact that she was awaiting the angel of death and assumed it to be Logan. The rock-hard woman has crumbled.

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5: Escalation [2 pages]

Logan reaches the wall and begins the climb. Those Adamantium claws sure come in handy!!

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Westerns are not my thing. Nevertheless, this iteration of Wolverine works better than expected. I read the original saga and raved over it. The depiction of the genre is quite apparent here. I’m looking forward to more dust-ups caused by a lone traveler who is over one hundred years old!! I’m not even looking at the advance solicitations to see what lies ahead. I want to be devoid of spoilers.

Killing machine:
Recently, Wolverine was deemed the most lethal murderer of the Marvel Universe. Based on an infographic from Morphsuits UK, the fury-filled furball has racked up 46 bodies. That number seems strangely low. At any rate, check it out:

In this issue, Logan does what he does best — punch, stab, slice, maim, and just plain kill.
• pp. 3-4 – Beautiful spread of Wolvie’s two hands going right through Gladiator.
• p. 5 – Uppercut and penetrating of the lungs going out through the back.
• p. 6 – Claws cut right through the chest. Loss of an ear, an ankle, and some fingers.
• p. 9 – Not the face!!
• p. 10 – Gored.

Marvel U in plain view:
Everyone enjoys Easter eggs (say that five times fast). It’s such a cool, common way of rewarding the eagle-eyed observers. I’m going to ruin your fun. Here are but a few:

• title page – The Daredevil logo (the double D’s) are below the building identified as ‘The Flying Devils’; Las Vegas’ newest boxer is Warpath; S.H.I.E.L.D. logo on two dilapidated airplanes.
• p. 12 – The two prostitutes are most likely nods to Storm and Dazzler.
• p. 22 – Mjolnir has been lying there for at least half a century. Clever name for the city 😉
• p. 22 – What the beep are those plushies?!? Creepy, that’s what!! Cutesy versions of Captain America, Iron Man, and Wonder Man(?)
• p. 22 – Blue jacket with ‘4’ emblem on the left breast.
• p. 22 – ‘Avengers’ is the name of the hotel. I almost missed that but noticed the “gers” and the red A underneath.
• p. 25 – The Punisher emblem on the black flag. RRREEAAALLL obvious.
• p. 27 – Can’t quite make out the albino attacker going for Punisher. Some help here??
• p. 30 – T-Rex: a remnant of the Savage Land?? The same applies to the pterodactyl on p. 31

Sound of fury:
Logan is by far the strong, silent type. On occasion though, he’ll unleash a few expletives or vocalize his primal rage. Andrea just aced it with all the onomatopœia!!

• pp. 3-4 – the easily audible sound effect identified with the ferocious one: SNIKT
• p. 6 – HUURRAAGGH!! A guttural sound if ever there was one.
• p. 7 – CRASH. One whole page for this interposed with a violent ejection.
• p. 8 – CRRASSSH. The white lettering effect has you feeling the crush.
• p. 8 – GAH! HURRAAAA!! Pain expressed.
• p. 8 – SNIFF. The heightened sense of smell never hinders.
• p. 8 – #$@&! I’ll leave this one to your imagination.
• p. 8 – CHA-TLACK. Loading of the shotgun.
• p. 8 – SNIKT. The coming out of the claws is an eternal iconic image!!
• p. 9 – HURRAAAGGH!! Barraged by bullets.
• p. 9 – SPING (6x) Bullets reaching their target.
• p. 9 – BUDDABUDDA Holy frijoles!! This one almost escaped me :0 Thank me for my thoroughness >_<
• p. 9 – HURRAAAAAGGHH!! Going for the kill. Superbly stretched across two panels.
• p. 9 – GLKK!!! Kiss that mouth goodbye. Uh, actually, no more kissing.
• p. 9 – AGH! Shock and horror.
• p. 10 – RRR…Ready for round two.
• p. 11 – BANG! Almost blended into the background.
• p. 11 – PING Another bullet grazing the grizzled visage.
• p. 14 – WHEEEEEE Classic call. Giddyup, horsie!
• p. 23 – SNIKT Always be on guard!
• p. 31 – CHUCK Rock is a piece of cake for Wolverine’s claws.
• p. 31 – HUAARR!!! Put some elbow grease into it, Logan! I mean, flex those forearms!

Where, oh where can you be??
If I’m not mistaken, I’d hazard a guess by pointing out that this is Domain #31: The Wastelands.

I’m having an enthusiastic attack @_@ I just can’t contain my awe and admiration!! I must be in really high spirits lately since two other books I reviewed last week were given the perfect score. As such, OLD MAN LOGAN originates from Earth-807128. Now there is only Battleworld!! That’s irrelevant. If you take the last two numbers of that designation and you want them together, you get…[insert skill-testing answer here]!!

Ack! What am I thinking? Bowing down to ‘The Best There Is at What He Does although What He Does Isn’t Very Nice’, I give this book 6 claws out of six. Now, back off, bub!

Wolvie poppin' claws

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