“Past a certain age, a man without a family, can be a bad thing.” – Detective Martin Hart, True Detective.
When you’ve got a character that is as revered, loved, and financially viable as Wolverine, it’s an unwritten law that the character never truly dies. Even me, your average casual comic book fan is wise to that fact. Still, I’ll be the first to admit that Marvel’s launch of Secret Wars Old Man Logan took me completely by surprise.
The original Old Man Logan, by the gifted Mark Millar and Steve McNiven and a team of talented inkers and colourists, spanned eight issues and has earned its place in any comic collection. The 2015 edition of the dystopian western revenge epic continues the tradition of having top talent at the helm, with Brian Michael Bendis and Andrea Sorrentino taking fans through a breathtaking five issues.
Readers would do well to check out the original before picking up the new stuff, to make sense of events that unfold later on in the new story, including references to whats happening in Marvel’s ongoing Secret Wars saga.
The story is set soon after the events of the first volume, and readers will notice that right from the start, things are already in motion. That being said, there would be some readers who might find the steady pace of this opening book perhaps a little frustrating and too slow for their liking.
Amongst the first things that caught my eye, was the wonderful treatment Sorrentino has given the story. Epic landscapes of a barren frontier, a la the spaghetti westerns of old, are the backdrop to realistic depictions of characters, and the phenomenal work of colourist Marcelo Maiolo deserves every accolade. This is a book that seemed more like a cinematographer’s storyboard images come alive. Inventive panel arrangements here are nothing short of spectacular, with a vivid colour palette that appropriately conveys the story’s sombre nature. Panels of pure black and moments of wordlessness all heighten dramatic tension, furthering the story’s sense of mystery and intrigue.
Another area in which Sorrentino shines is in his depictions of female characters. The artist adopted a realist’s approach to his portrayals, giving his female subjects classical, unexaggerated almost understated forms. This is in stark contrast to the work of others who elect to portray their subjects in overly sexualised light. The lead character earns extra care, with helpings of wrinkly facial lines to convey Logan’s distinguished seniority. The Logan we see here isn’t the 6 foot 3 Hugh Jackman from the X-men films. Old Man Logan has already lived through a few things, but even that hasnt stopped him, and he’s now on a new mission.
The closing scenes of issue 1 inform readers that there’s still a long way to go before Logan finds peace, and that the journey will see his resilience and mutant abilities put to the test a few more times yet, before the dust finally settles. With all that it offers readers, Old Man Logan is perhaps one of the best of the Secret Wars tie-ins that Marvel has to offer.
Writer – Brian Michael Bendis
Artist – Andrea Sorrentino
Colourist – Marcelo Maiolo