Original Release Date: 2008-2009
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Characters: Wolverine, Hawkeye, Hulk, Red Skull
Writer: Mark Millar (Kick-Ass, Civil War, Ultimate Fantastic Four, Marvel Knights: Spider-Man)
Art: Steve McNiven (Death of Wolverine, Civil War, Meridan)
Scorecard (Each category ranked on a 10-point scale)
Storyline – 9
Art – 9
Captivity and Length – 8
Identity – 8
Use of Medium – 9
Depth – 8
Fluidity – 9
Intrigue/Originality – 10
The Little Things – 9
Overall Awesomeness – 9
With the multitude of Marvel and DC events that happen each year, I have found it is actually quite rare that a story comes along like Old Man Logan that completely encompasses nearly everything I love about superhero comics. This series was just one short story among the long-running Wolverine Volume 3 comics, but it was by far the most iconic arc of its run – so much so, it got a second volume for the recent Secret Wars event. Both volumes have very iconic writers helming the stories, with the original volume being written by Mark Millar of Kick-Ass fame. This story follows an old Wolverine who seemingly has not SNIKT’ed his claws in over 50 years, and now lives on a farm with a wife and kids. Lucky for us, the story does not follow a domesticated Logan. Despite Wolverine vowing to not fight for most of the novel, the action within is intense; it’s one of the more violent Marvel stories in recent years. It also happens to be one of my favorite graphic novels of all time – and definitely my favorite Wolverine story ever.
Mark Millar’s story for Old Man Logan is a very heavy undertaking; it’s dark, violent, and extremely original with an outstanding identity that shines above a lot of Wolverine’s past, present, future – even his death, which we saw not long ago, was illustrated by the same artist as this series, Steve McNiven. This may have been why I enjoyed Death of Wolverine much more than most readers. For most of the book, McNiven’s art is easy on the eye and has such intense detail, it feels more like a film than a comic. So with the story and the art both being outstanding, the only thing to dislike about this series is how horrible the villains are in it, and there are a lot.
This series sees Logan and Hawkeye traversing the United States with a mystery package and along the way they encounter almost every villain who has gained control of the United States. This is all thanks to one night where every villain teamed up and wiped out almost every hero, leaving the world hopeless and free for the taking, leading to villains killing villains for control. It’s not a future anyone wants to be in, let alone Logan, who has let his Wolverine lay dead in the past. Along this journey, we see Logan continually struggle with whether fighting is good or not, ultimately leading him to the realization of who he is and, despite being the best at something not very nice, it is needed and the world is a much better place with Wolverine around.
When you learn exactly why Logan has not SNIKT’ed his claws in over fifty years, your hearts drops and gives you a very empty feeling inside. There’s a certain two-page spread that’s enough to make any Wolverine or X-Men fan have nightmares for years. This bombshell was one that instantly made you realize what was making Logan hesitate to pop those claws again, and why Logan seemingly killed off his Wolverine persona.
When you learn this, you almost don’t want to see Logan be the Wolverine again and hope they can avoid conflict at all costs, but along the way, you learn that Hawkeye’s daughter has been kidnapped by Kingpin. They take a detour from their trip to Washington D.C. to save his daughter, who has taken up the mantel of Spider-Girl. Logan reached a point where he must enter the fight during this interaction as when they arrive, and break in to save Spider-Girl.
After a very long trip, Some Moloids, a Venom T-Rex (Seriously, it is terrifying!), and a chance encounter with Emma Frost who has married Doctor Doom in an attempt to preserve some mutants. Hawkeye and Logan seem to reach their destination with their cargo. This cargo, which we are led to believe is drugs this whole time, is actually vials of super soldier serum. Things don’t go according to plan and Logan ends up being riddled with bullets.
The bodies are then delivered to the president who happen to be Red Skull, and before anyone with a brain realizes Logan can heal he shoots up out of his body bag and takes out the guards and is left there with Red Skull in his trophy room of hero relics. Logan get punched a couple times until he gets knocked into the trophy case and right by Captain America’s old shield. The battle doesn’t last very long, but Logan’s escape from the facility is amazing. With no exit in sight, he dons parts of Iron Man’s armor blows the place to shit, grabs a suitcase of money and swiftly flies home to deliver the rent to the hulks, only to find the Hulks got there first and killed his whole family… SNIKT!
Now we get to the grand bloody affair, and as Wolverine heads to confront his old frenemy, he takes out just about everything green along the way. After some quick montages of Hulks losing limbs and lives, Wolverine finally reaches the Hulk and as old curmudgeonly Bruce Banner comes out, he smacks Wolverine in the face. Wolverine returns that with a stab to the gut, but sadly Hulk shows up thanks to the stab and actually grabs and eats Wolverine in a couple huge bites. With Wolverine seemingly dead, the last remaining Hulk family member shows up just in time to make Hulk realize what everyone seems to forget in this series – Wolverine has a healing factor! This leads to Hulk having his spine explode and just as fast as Bullwinkle can pull a rabbit out of a hat, Wolverine shows up. After this Wolverine realizes there is a baby and the last thing one of the Hulk’s see is Logan grabbing this baby and taking off to burry his own family and raise this hulk as his own.
This mini-series reached into some dark places I never wanted to know about but am so glad I did; it can make even the most die-hard Hulk fan kind of hate the green guy. The story is mind-blowing on every page and further cements Mark Millar’s validity in the comic book world. This novel is a must-read for everybody who calls themselves a comic book reader. The only downside I saw in the story is that reading it in collected form made the jumps in time from issue to issue seem much more noticeable than reading them in single-issue format. I am glad I got to also experience this series month to month off a fluke of buying a cheap comic at a gas station on a road trip. Thanks to that stop, I experienced one of the best stories Marvel has delivered in recent years and one that seems to be a major factor in the future of Marvel with recent reveals of the future and Old Man Logan #2 coming out this Wednesday. So dust off your walkers, color you hair if you don’t like the gray, and sharpen your claws and dig into this novel so you can make sure and be in the loop for events now and post Secret Wars.