Sci-Fi Guide Reviews – Comicbooks – Old Man Logan:

Warning! Warning! This following is a review of Old Man Logan and so contains an extensive reference to the graphic novel and comic series along with other related movies, series and novels, contains major spoilers. Read ahead at your own risk…

So this is a graphic novel story I’ve been to review for quite a while now ever since I originally talked about the Science in the backstorys of Marvel characters back in late November. It’s probably one of my absolute favourite graphic novels of all time not just as a future version of Marvel pictured as a post-dystopia but also in the grittiness and depth in the characters and their setting. Before I go on to the review, I would like to first briefly describe what the series is about, its history and the story that unfolds.

Written by Mark Weid with art Steve McNiven, Old Man Logan takes place in a future where the supervillains have taken over the Marvel universe, well a parallel universe anyway. With Logan/Wolverine, now a grissled family man, and a blind Hawkeye at his side, they travel across the the wasteland with the objective of delivering a package to New Babylon, the corrupted (more than usual) parallel future version of Washinton D.C. which is now controlled by Red Skull as a way to pay off his debts to the incestual Hulk family. What occurs in the meantime is a Mad Max esc drive across Amerika now split up into four states of Hulkland, The Kingdom of Kingpin, Doom’s Lair and The President’s Quarters each controlled by their own villains (including a now battered and evil Bruce Banner) in the fall of the heroes.

The rest of what follows is a chaotic ride through the most dangerous places on the planet in a corrupted Marvel universe and whilst I could go into a lot of those elements right now, I want to go more in-depth into them later in the review. First, I would like to talk about the writing, art and structure/panelling of the book series itself. What I’m going to say is that the detail into the art and the creation of this world is emaculate. The story looks at the events that cause a man like Logan, who you could possibly subsitute for an assassin who gives up his craft or in this sake claws in after a major event that makes one the best fighters into a pacifist.

It’s an interesting story in itself, what makes a man, anyone give up what they do best in the sake to do live another live, the breaking point that kills the very thing we are and how it can effect the world around. Upon this it also throws many references to the Marvel universe on top of that. It shows a Marvel world where the villains control America, where the world has become corrupt and shadowed. Whilst many stories could be over-shadowed by the references to the wider universe as most cross-over stories tend to do these days, Old Man Logan’s greatest feat is making the story feel honest and human even in how brutal the story is.

Another great thing in the writing and visual storytelling is that is that the artwork makes the book feel realistic but also fantastical at the same time. No one is safe in this parallel universe, there are realistic, brutal consequences. Logan and Hawkeye really shine in this story, they are on their last legs, trying to find some peace in a world. Whilst Hawkeye has lost his sight and wants redemption, Logan has killed his family, the X-men, in one horrifying manipulation that sent him and the world into a dystopian spiral. He’s fooled by Mysterio of all people, he is tricked to kill them all as if they were villains infiltrating Xavier’s School. Broken, he retires the Wolverine persona.

There are many fascinating aspects of the plot such as how Bruce Banner has eventually devolved from his original unconfident form where he takes over a whole section of America as a way to feast his boredom, fully embracing the Hulk persona which becomes one of the grimmer moments of the comic. There’s also the story of how the X-men are killed and the backdrop of the world controlled by villains as another fascinating backstory to Old Man Logan.

There’s also seeing Logan as a man with a family after all his history within the Marvel universe, a pacificist farmer under the control of the Hulk family all to have them all be (and this is where major spoilers come in) killed. You also have the story of Hawkeye’s daughter/Spider-Woman deceiving them and becoming the new Kingpin. These are just some of my favourite elements of the story and I haven’t even mentioned how they use the Spider-mobile is used by Logan and Hawkeye across the wasteland of Amerika. This however, brings me to the main problem with the book, that being the over-reliance on previous continuity to understand the main stakes and situation of the story.

The book is full of references, story elements from Marvel continuity and whilst this is great for fans, if you’re picking up the book as a person that is not already associated with Marvel even with the basic form of the continuity that the films portray. The story is one of my favourites and its a fantastic portrayal of the post-dystopia but you are going to find it hard to pick up if you aren’t a reader of Marvel comics or educated in the continuity/history of the universe. It’s based around knowing the characters, portraying a grim and dystopian version of them and the universe. The book isn’t based around just references but knowing the characters and this can be a main problem with getting into the graphic novel or comics in general. Otherwise there are not many problems with the book apart from that issue of continuity; the pacing is excellent, the writing incredibly well done and interesting, the artwork fantastic and the story is a great piece of fantastical Sci-Fi based in that universe.

In conclusion, as you can probably see in a lot of the artwork I have shown throughout this review are some of the examples of the great storytelling that comicbooks provide and I have a large respect for people that write, edit, letter, illustrate and colour comicbooks and manga. There is so much you can do with the format and Old Man Logan is a fantastic format of that. Upon this it is also a great example of post-dystopia and taking an interesting spin on the genre with the form of the Marvel universe. I love to see these characters take on the grim and deadly dystopian world controlled by villains and although it is very continuity extensive, I think a lot of non-marvel readers can still appreciate and enjoy the story.

You can find the book in most local comicbook stores, Amazon, digital comic stores and in most online retailers and bookstores. If you haven’t checked it out please do, it’s a great comicbook/graphic novel. I also love the movie Logan which is based on this story, X-23 and the western Shane although I probably won’t review that here but expect something on my Letterboxd soon. Anyway, I would love to hear your thoughts on the graphic novel, future thinkers. Have you read it? What are your favourite moments? Anything I missed? Let me know in the comments below…

Michael McGrady, Signing Off.

3 thoughts on “Sci-Fi Guide Reviews – Comicbooks – Old Man Logan:

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