From: Marvel Comics
Writer: Mark Millar
Art: Steve McNiven with Dexter Vines
Color: Morry Hollowell
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit
Two caveats come with the idea of shamelessly aping someone else’s pop culture iconography: one, you better be paying your homage to something worth receiving it, and two, you better do a good job yourself. Fortunately, Millar, McNiven and company bring their talent to bear on “Old Man Logan”, an extremely entertaining new story arc that carries some very loud echoes of Unforgiven and the rest of the retired-gunslinger genre.
In terms of set-up, the overarching idea isn’t terribly different than what we’ve seen in previous “What Ifs”. There came a day where the bad guys won, and precious few of the good guys were left. Obviously, the impossibly tough-to-kill Wolverine survived, and here he is, fifty years down the road, trying to carve out a simple existence with his family. The Western milieu suits the story and what it’s trying to accomplish, but it also offers a couple of bonuses for the creators. McNiven gets to really show some great stuff here; he gets to bounce some Sturges-style panoramas against simple scenes like a family at dinner. When the story allows for a flash of action, he hits it running. Considering the subtlety that he has to employ at various occasions, this is probably better work on his part than his art on Civil War.
As for Millar, he has the chance here to deploy some of the tough-guy banter that he frequently uses. However, he wisely keeps that to a minimum and shows a restraint (for the most part) that fits a saga like this: the laconic claw-slinger forced back into action for proper, albeit painful, reasons. His particular take on a futuristic America under the villains is wildly inventive; granted, he did a take on that in Wanted, but here he cleverly (and somewhat literally) redraws the map.
Some people may not like the idea of the regular series pausing for what’s essentially a “What If” story, but I’m quite pleased to see everyone roll the dice on the monthly title. It’s my belief that comics are plagued with a few too many off-shoot minis. It’s nice to see that an inventive take by some strong creators can still “borrow” a book for a while. Even if you’re not a huge Wolverine fan, I can safely recommend this one. Bonus points if you dig Clint (both of them).