Marvel Comics is dipping back into the Wastelanders universe made famous by Old Man Logan. Dr. Doom, Hawkeye, and, of course, Wolverine are getting new stories from the dystopian future of the Marvel universe. Kicking things off is Wastelanders: Wolverine #1 by Steven S. DeKnight and Ibrahim Moustafa! Logan is the surrogate father of a baby Hulk, but what will he encounter in the days after collecting the little one as he tries to figure out what to do?
The Wastelanders universe is a compelling one, most recently explored by Ed Brisson and Jonas Scharf in Avengers of the Wastelands. This new one-shot takes place earlier than that series, picking up after the events of Old Man Logan. As you can see in the preview, the Wastelands are as dangerous as ever. While Logan is pondering what he’ll do with a baby Hulk, he must fight to keep himself alive as he faces off against threats like the Ghost Riders gang.
This one-shot is heavily steeped in western vibes. Logan’s look is like a cowboy, and his quiet but dangerous vibe is certainly aligned with that too. If you haven’t read Old Man Logan, DeKnight gives us proper flashbacks so you won’t be totally lost. That said, the weight of this book is lessened if you haven’t read Mark Millar’s original series. As it goes, Logan is a wanderer in life and a surrogate father. There are little moments that show that–like when he tells baby Hulk that “we do not eat people”–though in general, he’s not very emotive.
The big hook for this book is that there are more stories to tell in this universe that have yet to be explored. If you dug this, or the recent Marvel podcasts, you’ll enjoy finding out how key characters were put to bed and/or return. Aside from that, however, casual fans may not have enough to go on to pick this up. Even with no prior context, if you dig cool action scenes this might be a solid purchase, I suppose.
Moustafa gets to draw quite an action scene featuring Logan taking licks and slashing right back. The scene is entertaining and well choreographed. It didn’t have to be in a Wastelanders comic per se, but it’s good all the same.
The western vibe is also present thanks to Neeraj Menon’s colors. There’s a muddiness to everything, as if Moustafa’s lines are caked in a bit of mud and dust. It gives the book a muted feel, although it does make the fantasy elements that do use color pop and feel fantastical. A bit more brightness could have amped the book up a bit, though, and that goes for backgrounds to lift the characters off the page. The final page utilizes a sunset very well, though, creating an atmosphere that suits the scene.
Wastelanders: Wolverine #1 is a good comic, but it’s a hard sell if you’re not already interested in this universe. It reads like a lost story that superfans will love, but casual readers won’t find a lot in here. The action is good, though, and who among us can’t use a bit more snikt-snikt action?
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