Oh Man, Old Man Logan
With the exception of the recent Marvel Netflix series’, which have seen the franchise heading down a darker and grittier path than we’ve seen before, the mainstream view of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that it is light-hearted, humorous and happy-go-lucky. That Tony Stark guy: drunkenly selling weapons and levelling cities – what a laugh!
The same can be said when it comes to Marvel’s graphic novels. Compared its dark and brooding rival, DC, Marvel has shown time and time again that it can successfully mix the moral battles between good and evil with a bit of carefree entertainment anyone can enjoy.
Deep down however, true Marvel fans know that there are darker tales to be told in the pages of the graphic novels and comics produced by the superhero powerhouse.
One of Marvel’s darker tale’s centres on everybody’s favourite mutant and resident bad-ass, Wolverine in Old Man Logan. Following the fall of the worlds heroes there are very few good guys left in post-apocalyptic America. The land has been conquered and divided by the worst villains Marvel has to offer – with Red Skull naming himself President, and regular turf wars between the likes of Magneto and Dr. Doom.
Despite things going to shit for most people, we find out that Logan has given up the “Wolverine” persona, and finally has the happy family life that he always seems to have taken away from him. During the opening chapters of Old Man Logan, we learn more about the territory known as “Hulkland”. Conquered by the Hulk and ruled with an iron fist (geddit?), the Banner Family’s reign is brutally enforced by Hulk and his incestuous Hulk babies.
One Last Score
Shit hits the fan for Logan when low-level relations of Banner turn up demanding money, threatening to kill his family should Wolverine fail to come up with the cash. At this point Clint Barton, AKA Hawkeye (yeah, that Hawkeye!) turns up to offer Logan one last job: deliver a batch of super-serum across the continent in order to create a new batch of heroes & overthrow the ruling powers. In perhaps the most comic book plot point of all time, despite losing his sight Clint is still an expert archer and can even drive a car. However, as comic books have a history of making archers still impossibly good at firing arrows despite missing limbs etc, we’ll give this one a pass.
The two set out on the mission, which naturally sees them cross the entire new-age USA with various encounters and cameos along their way. Throughout the job, Logan refuses to acknowledge himself as Wolverine or draw his claws for any reason. After much resistance, Logan eventually reveals that on the night the mightiest Marvel heroes fell, he was directly at responsible for the death of the X-Men.
In a truly heart-breaking scene we discover that a mind trick was placed upon Logan to make him see his fellow X-Men as an attacking force of Marvels worst villains. Naturally wanting to defend his friends and his home, Logan slaughtered all of them. After his murderous rampage, Logan’s mind was freed, and he returned to discover who he had actually murdered. From that day on he declared the Wolverine dead and vowed to never use his claw again. Old Man Logan was born.
Welcome to the White House, Mr. President
The journey continues, with Logan and Hawkeye reaching the White House, where President Red Skull rules his territory surrounded by a collection of famous armours from well-known Marvel heroes. In a pretty creepy reveal, Red Skull himself is dressed in the armour of his long-dead nemesis, Captain America. Following a botched operation, Logan escapes with his life, stealing some of Tony Starks old Ironman armour and using it to fly back home & pay off the Banners.
Old Man Logan returns to find his family slaughtered by the Hulk offspring who had threatened him. As any sane minded individual would do Logan Loses. His. Shit.
Snikt! Claws are out and the Wolverine is back!!
He heads straight to the dwelling of the Banner family to confront and kill them all. In an all-out berserker killing spree, Old Man Logan proves he can still kick-arse by slaughtering the monstrous Hulk family where they stand.
This leads to the final confrontation with the original Hulk, Bruce Banner. Even in his human form, Bruce has an unimaginable degree of strength, easily fighting off Wolverine. Banner reveals to Logan that he ordered his grandchildren to murder Logan’s family as a means to rile the weathered hero, leading to a fight to satisfy Banners boredom. There is also a pretty cringe-worthy and slightly uncomfortable to read description as to why Banner mated with She Hulk. Um, yeah…
You Wouldn’t Like Him When He’s Angry
Ultimately, Banner transforms into his Hulk form, which has now reached a truly remarkable size and unparalleled strength. Despite his best efforts, Hulk gets the better of Old Man Logan and swallows him whole, foolishly presuming that would be enough to kill the Wolverine. Of course Logan, being the serious bad ass that he, is able to regenerate inside the stomach of Hulk, who all of a sudden feels… a bit under the weather. Needless to say, in a truly satisfying panel, Old Man Logan bursts out of Hulk, killing him in the best way.
A New Hulk Hope?
As Logan leaves the scene, the entire Hulk family lies dead (except for one: a tiny baby Hulk. Showing his softer side, Old Man Logan spares the child and takes him to raise as his own. Wolverine leaves the place he has called home in order to start a new life, with baby Hulk in tow. It becomes clear that his intention is to start a new superhero team, to once again make the world great.
Old Man Logan’s Run
Overall, Old Man Logan is by far Marvels greatest attempt at a dark and gritty theme. A well-conceived and emotional story, which ultimately leads to a greatly deserved vengeance for arguable one of the most well known and beloved heroes Marvel has. A definite read for any Marvel fan and no doubt a future classic.