Given the recent criticisms of the new Mad Max movie, some of our readers might be looking for another way to get their post-apocalyptic fix. Well, I have exactly the comic book you’ve been looking for: Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s 2008 book Old Man Logan.
I’ll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum. The story is set 50 years in the future where the villains have won. Wolverine has given up his life as a hero to raise family and run a farm. In an attempt to make some money and pay the rent, Logan reluctantly decides take a cross-country trip with a blind and elderly Hawkeye and some mysterious cargo. Along the way, Logan and Hawkeye travel through various domains ruled by super villains. As you’d expect, a world ruled by supervillains is hardly civilized.
The story’s primary thrust revolves around what made Logan walk away from his life as a hero. For someone like Wolverine, simply being killed off wasn’t an option for Marvel’s villains, so instead they had to break him. Having Mysterio manipulate Wolverine into killing his own teammates was the moment that changed Wolverine and made him dedicate his life to pacifism.
Naturally, Old Man Logan‘s story follows Wolverine’s journey to overcome his pacifism and resume his role as a hero. While I admit that some of the story’s twists are fairly predictable, the ultimate payoff is worth it, as Wolverine faces off against the Hulk’s inbred redneck family and eventually with the Hulk himself. Wolverine’s final showdown with an elderly Hulk is a nice homage to Wolverine’s first appearance in Hulk #181. As ridiculous as that sounds, it works in this bleak, apocalyptic vision of the Marvel universe.
In addition to the plot, Steve McNiven’s art brings to life every visceral detail of Old Man Logan’s world. This is the kind of bloody, violent and gritty book that puts his talents to good use.
Comparisons to both Mad Max and Unforgiven are not uncommon when talking about Old Man Logan. If this book were to be made into a movie, I would like to see Clint Eastwood cast as Wolverine and Jeff Bridges cast as Hawkeye. However, this is the kind of story that will probably never make it to the big screen, mostly due to legal reasons. Old Man Logan is the kind of story that works well for comic books.
Currently Wolverine: Old Man Logan is available in trade paperback, so there’s no need to hunt for old issues. It’s also light on canon and is a great read for anyone looking for their first Wolverine story. With that being said, Old Man Logan’s story will continue as part of Marvel’s Secret Wars event. That comic is written by Brian Michael Bendis and will pick up where the trade paperback left off. It’s due out next week.
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