Monday, 29 August 2016
Wolverine: Old Man Logan, Volume 1: Berzerker Review (Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino)
Just when I’d written off Jeff Lemire he comes out with a really good superhero comic - and of course it’d be for a fellow Canuck like Wolverine!
Old Man Logan is the best Wolverine story bar none. Originally a standalone (and I know this is a DC term but it’s fitting) “Elseworlds”-type story by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven from 2008-09, the character and world was revisited in a Brian Bendis-written miniseries during last year’s Secret Wars and now it’s an ongoing.
Not realising he’s in a different universe, Old Man Logan thinks he’s time-travelled to before the world became a wasteland and he’s been given a second chance to save everyone: the heroes and his family. He just has to kill the Incredible Hulk…!
Like a lot of his books, Millar’s Old Man Logan was really, really dark and, surprisingly, Lemire’s kept the tone here - this is one of the darkest non-MAX Marvel books I’ve read. Logan is a broken, desperate man willing to do brutal things to keep what he thinks is his future from happening.
Despite colourful cameos from Amadeus Cho Hulk, Kate Bishop Hawkeye and Old Man Cap (and I love that we got to see these two old geezer versions of the characters meeting), the tone of the story is very grim. Andrea Sorrentino’s art certainly helps maintain that atmosphere!
I really enjoyed Sorrentino’s work in this one. There are some really cool splash pages like the brilliant Dark Knight Returns homage, the fight scene framed in a Canadian maple leaf, and the flashbacks showing the ruined world with downed helicarriers were awesome. It’s weird how he’s modelled Logan’s face on his own though…
Partly because I love Millar/McNiven’s original and partly because I love Mad Max, but I really liked that Lemire spent some time in Old Man Logan’s world via the flashbacks because it’s such an interesting place to be explored further. I love that a character like Logan, who’s defined by his violent nature (hence the subtitle Berzerker), is forced to be a pacifist in a world where he would thrive if he gave in to his base nature. It means the writer has to be more creative than simply have Wolverine SNIKT in a scene and end things with a bloody brawl.
Disappointingly, it’s a short volume at four issues and Marvel pad it out by including a reprint of Millar/McNiven’s Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1 from 2009 which you’ll have already read if you read the original collected edition.
Old Man Logan is one of the few gems to have emerged from the hot mess that was Secret Wars. It’s not as amazing as Millar/McNiven’s book but it’s a surprisingly good continuation of that storyline. Good Wolverine solo books are rare, guys - it’s well worth checking out if you’re a fan of the character!
And Jeff Lemire: sorree - you’re alright, bub, eh?