I have a confession; since Marvel’s Secret Wars began back in May I have pretty much taken a break from reading all of their properties. However, just like any addict, I began to get the itch to jump back in again. The options of short series’ to read right now is overwhelming so I decided just to pick one and go with it. That’s how I started reading Brian Michael Bendis’ and Andrea Sorrentino’s Old Man Logan.
Old Man Logan was originally conceived as an eight-issue arc by the creative team of Mark Millar and Steve McNiven that ran through Wolverine #66-72 and ended in Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size. It received high praise from fans and reviewers alike so it goes without saying that Bendis and Sorrentino have big shoes to fill, and so far they haven’t quite been able to.
In this version of the tale, we meet Logan who has been ruined by two major events in his life. First, from Mysterio secretly manipulating him into killing all of his fellow X-Men and second, the Hulk and his gang murdering his wife and child. The first issue was promising. There were a few necessary pages of setup but for the most part it rolls at a pretty good pace and is dripping with potential by the end of the issue. Unfortunately, that potential has yet to be fulfilled.
As I continued reading into the second, third and fourth issues a problem surfaced, the story fails to gain any substance. It lacks an overarching story arc and feels like a realm of the week with Logan, usually literally, being thrown into a different setting every issue. Bendis does little to make any of Logan’s interactions with other characters have meaning as they are seemingly forgotten in the next issue. The book isn’t all bad though, what it lacks in storytelling it makes up for with it’s art.
There is no doubt that the best part of Old Man Logan is Sorrentino’s art. While Logan jumping from setting to setting lessens the quality of the story, it allows Sorrentino to really show off his artistic range. He transitions Logan from the futuristic Technopolis to the hell-like, symbiote and zombie covered Deadlands with ease. His take on each of the many characters Logan meets along the way, from Sabretooth to Iron Man, are all well handled. I was blown away by his ability to capture Apocalypse’s intimidating and god-like presence. Can someone please reference this while trying to translate him onto the big screen? Please. While I favoured Sorrentino’s larger panels and two page spreads, he did a great job of managing the small, quick action panels that frequently appeared during battle sequences.
At the end of the day, there’s enough in this series for me to check out the fifth and final issue. Sorrentino’s pencils more than make up for the book’s lack of substance. Hopefully Bendis introduces some sort of payoff to wrap series the up but if not, at least it will be pretty to look at. If you’re reading this, and haven’t read Millar and McNiven’s Wolverine: Old Man Logan, I’d strongly suggest skipping this version and picking that up but if you’ve already read it and want more Old Man Logan, you’ll probably be able to find something you like here.