Ed Brisson’s concluding arc to Old Man Logan is an effective, emotional and satisfying end to the extremely popular alternate universe version of Wolverine. First introduced into the Marvel universe in the late 2000s, this older version of Logan came from a world where supervillains had defeated Earth’s heroes. Old Man Logan worked to disrupt that potential future, guaranteeing that this alternate world would not come to be.
In this final arc in the character’s history, Brisson tosses everyone imaginable at Old Man Logan, as the character is dying due to adamantium poisoning. Knowing that his life is coming to an end, he puts his final ounce of energy and soul towards stopping Mysterio and the dark forces manipulating him behind the scenes.
Writer Ed Brisson brings it all to Dead Man Logan, what is essentially the denouement of Old Man Logan. While packed with superheroes and traditional comic action, this book gives ample occasions for readers to experience the poignant, fatal end of the ostensible character. I had only a passing interest in the Old Man Logan version of Wolverine when he was active in the Extraordinary X-Men — as he was just one of many time-displaced alternate versions of an X-character appearing regularly at the time, he felt tacked on to those arcs. Having gone back to read these Old Man Logan trades, I can see why this version of the character resonated with readers, and that’s a testament to Brisson’s effective character scripting. The final issue, where Logan shares his final words with his family before his body gives in to the frantic hell bestowed upon him over the course of this adventure, is a standout piece of comic writing. Even though I had little interest in Old Man Logan prior to reading these trades, this piece of scripting was a powerful sendoff to the character that is genuinely touching.
The only downside to the trade is the frantic pace. It feels as if this was two or three separate stories that had to be crammed together to fit editorial publishing expectations. With so many characters thrown in to complement Logan on his journey, this trade is a delightful way to give the larger fictional universe a role to play, but also detracts from some of the personalized drama centered around Logan that may have been more effective for his final sendoff.
Artist Mike Henderson and colorist Nolan Woodard also give the book an successful visual style and presentation. Even when the narrative throws dozens of Marvel characters into the grinder, Henderson’s blocking is effective in concentrating the reader’s attention at the most commanding (and often terrifying) aspects of the passage. Henderson knows when to let a panel breathe, carefully positioning the reader’s view where concern and fright will be mentally inculcated. While the book is high on violence and gore, Henderson and Woodard’s visuals keep the narrative firmly in the superhero style, which was pleasant and appropriate for the story at hand.
Alternate universe versions of existing characters can be a tricky thing to write; it gives writers the ability to give a finite interpretation of a mainstay, but may come across as superfluous in the hands of lesser talent. Dead Man Logan validates just how well one of these multiverse characters can bond with readers, giving them a meaningful sendoff that feels true to the character’s larger tone and narrative.
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