Over the course of the five issues contained in volume eight of Ed Brisson’s Old Man Logan (accompanied by Dalibor Talajic for issues #36-38 and Ibraim Roberson for issues #38-40), Logan doesn’t so much effect change or act with autonomy as much as he acts as an instrument in other character’s stories. It’s an interesting — often confusing and frustrating choice — that holds back an otherwise well written, paced, and beautifully rendered collection of stories.
First up is “Moving Target”, a dour but crisp arc focused on Logan’s time in a New York where Wilson Fisk is mayor and has heroes, Logan included, in his sights presumably to clear up the path for his own nefarious purposes. It’s a largely predictable affair that deals with the former Wolverine getting his hands on an elicit flash drive of Fisk’s, looking for a means to find out what’s on said flash drive, and pissing off the wrong people (as he’s so good at) — namely Bullseye, hired by the criminal mayor to eliminate our reluctant hero.
The subsequent clash between Bullseye and Logan is the best part of this entire collection as Talajic smartly uses layouts and spacing in truly unique ways, sculpting entire pages around imposing character frames brought to life by Carlos Lopez’s often minimal but balanced colorwork. Brisson, too, is in top form as Bullseye and Logan trade smart, hilarious jabs and lay down punches in a compelling bougie supermarket setting that leaves Logan seemingly permanently scarred due to his slowed healing factor.
Following this is a sharp left turn in tone and direction, the almost Logan-less “Glob Loves, Man Kills”, focused more squarely on an often-overlooked group of X-men cadets and their run-in with a sect of the mutant hating Purifiers.
Supremely funny, kind-hearted, and electric with that unique X-men energy, this one is a lot of fun. And, although this arc is as beautifully drawn, paced, and often scripted as the first, the change in direction between the two is hard to reconcile and highlights the primary issue in this collection – a lack of connective tissue. If the story here is Logan reconciling with his slowed healing factor, I wish it were highlighted more, the same going for any larger themes like making amends or saying goodbye. But, those issues are largely swept to the side as Logan plays part in stories that feel like they would proceed without his involvement, it’s a hard to ignore oversight in an otherwise polished package that fans will undeniably enjoy but may feel is missing some heart.
I’m hopeful, and trusting, that Logan’s character and stories are in good hands with Brisson as he continues down this ever-dying path, and the artists alongside are more than capable, bringing these dark and fun worlds to life in equal measure, I just wish there was a slightly clearer path forward here.