DEAD MAN LOGAN #12
Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Mike Henderson
Colorist: Nolan Woodard
Letterer: Cory Petit
Cover Artist: Declan Shalvey
Rating: 7 decapitated Sabertooths out of 10
I took a huge break from comics for a while. It was the early 2000’s and I didn’t like the changes the House of Ideas were making to my beloved X-Men. I felt that they were trying to reflect the X-Men movies (which I hate with a burning passion of a million suns) too much in the pages of the comic books and it just turned me off. In retrospect I was wrong about the X comics in that period, namely Grant Morrison’s run, and of course the return of Chris Claremont, but at the time I felt it was all gimmicky and growing stale, even my all time favorite Wolverine.
But, out of that era came a gem, one that brought me back into this crazy world of comics we all passionately love. A gem, suggested to me by my good friend and fellow Comic Lounge writer, Dylan. He urged me to read it, saying that it’ll change my mind, “earth shattering” may have been the exact words he used. It was a little gem of a story that ran through Wolverine #66 - 72, Old Man Logan. It was gritty, raw, compelling, Mark Millar brought us into this dystopian world where the villains won and the heroes were dead and gone, save for one broken, grief filled man burdened with guilt, living under the thumb of this new horrifying world. It was a story of redemption, regret and of course vengeance, every quintessential ounce of what makes Wolverine my favorite character. Millar had it in aces and I loved every minute of it. Dylan was right, it was earth shattering. It brought me back and I wanted more, and imagine my excitement and glee finding out that Marvel was going to continue this old man’s story.
The continuation had the unfortunate timing of coinciding with the death of the original Wolverine in the comic books, and OF COURSE they wouldn’t just kill off one of the most popular heroes of all time, so what did they do??? Marvel decided to not continue with the awesome apocalyptic western that Millar laid out for them (which would have been AMAZING) , but instead used Old Man Logan to fill the void that the original left in the main comic continuity. Using the whole alternate reality hopping McGuffin, they tossed him into a world not his own, in a past similar to his, but not really. What followed were a series of stories, some good, but mostly boils down to just “old Wolverine reacting to people and stuff”, which to me sadly tarnishes the character and story that the original arc gave us.
Which brings us to now, to Dead Man Logan. I’m pretty sure the title gives away the main event of the story, but in this case it’s about how we get to that conclusion. The first half of the arc is Logan tying up his loose ends. Finding out that he at most has 12 months to live, he continues his quest to prevent his future from happening and eliminate those who would bring about that nightmare in extreme, body parts flying fashion. Forge was able to fix Maestro’s dimension hopping device, which was previously damaged in his and Logan fight, but Logan chooses not to use it until he’s completed his mission. He does so, and has some touching moments with the people he cares about, saying his goodbyes, and even has a conversation and a good ‘ol bar fight with the main and original Wolverine (SURPRISE!!). Things start to pick up again after he finally gets back to his own world, and starts to rampage throughout the wasteland in search of the baby Hulk Bruce, who he took in in the original story.
We come to find out that he left little Bruce in the care of Dani Cage, daughter of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage who is now a grizzled survivor of this villian ravaged world. He runs into roving gangs of wanna be despots and cannibals, who are using him as a regenerating source of meat, in his search for the pair, only to be saved by said duo from the hungry flesh eaters, after they followed his trail of destruction and rumors of the one who killed president Red Skull returning. Logan realizes that he’s been gone for a long time as little Bruce has grown considerably, but their bittersweet reunion is cut short when a jigsawed sewn Sabertooth appears with a pack of his clones have come hunting for them, little Bruce in particular. A now wheelchair bound and morbid Mr. Sinister is pulling the strings and wants little Bruce for his experiments and to ultimately use his gamma irradiated genes to restore his former glory and perhaps immortality.
It all comes to a head and body parts fly, little Bruce smashes and Dani, who is gravely injured comes into the possession of Mjolnir, which heals her and powers her up to become it’s new wielder. She is worthy. They defeat the nefarious ne’er do wells, but the savage battle has taken its toll on our advanced aged hero. His healing factor is no longer doing its job, overworked and exhausted by his use of regenix to prolong his ass kicking mission. Mortally injured, he’s in his last moments and he knows it. He asks Dani and little Bruce to take him back to his farm so he can be with his family. They oblige and he passes, apologizing to his family for not fighting for them sooner, with the hope that if there is an afterlife that he will see them again. Danni and Bruce bury him, pay their respects and continue on their journey to fight back against this tyrannical world. With that ends the story of our once thought immortal, unstoppable hero.
Ed Brisson and Mike Henderson’s mini series is solidly written and beautifully drawn, and finally gives us a story that brings us back to the world which made the character of Old Man Logan who he is, sadly, it's a little too late. I’m not opposed to the way that they ended the character, but more so to the previous handling of his whole story trajectory after the original. Marvel (not Brisson and Henderson mind you) have missed a great opportunity to tell us a story in a world that Mark Millar masterfully laid out. We could have had an incredible run that explored this dystopian nightmare future further and given us a western / Lone Wolf and Cub like epic.
As I said Brisson and Henderson gave us a nice end to a character with so much potential. Ed Brisson gave us beautiful, poignant moments and dialogue that cuts to the core of an even more tortured Logan, and Mike Henderson’s incredibly kinetick, frantic and stylized art really brings an impact to the whole run. I truly enjoyed this mini series and I do urge you dear reader to check it out, especially if you are a Wolverine fan. It’s a great story, but as I am a self proclaimed Wolverine fanatic and a HUGE fan of the original Old Man Logan, the prior runs leading up to this finally, just leaves me wondering what could have been, or even maybe that the original was better left alone. Either way Rest in Power Old Man Logan, I hope you found the peace you were fighting for.