Thursday, January 8, 2015

Where Have All the Heroes Gone?

Published: November 11th, 2009
Wolverine: Old Man Logan
By: Mark Millar & Steve McNiven
Marvel Comics
ISBN-13:  9780785131595

Nobody knows what happened on the night the heroes fell.  All we know is that they disappeared and evil triumphed and the bad guys have been calling the shots ever since.  What happened to Wolverine is the biggest mystery of all.  For 50 years, no one has heard hide nor hair from him...and in his place stands an old man called Logan.  A man concerned only by his family.  A man pushed to the brink by the Hulk Gang.  A man forced to help an old friend -- the blind archer, Hawkeye -- to drive three thousand miles to secure his family's safety.  Get ready for the ride of your life, Logan!


       The synopsis basically explains everything you need to know to be able to dive into this particular story arc.  It's been 50 years since all the supervillains finally figured out that by teaming up, they could get rid of the heroes and take over completely.  Wolverine is now just known as Logan and has let himself just become an old man, caring for his family in a harsh new world.  The Hulk Gang (Bruce Banner's inbred, cannibalistic descendants) runs what used to be California and they come calling when Logan falls behind on the rent.  After beating the Hell out of him, they demand double next month or they'll kill his wife and kids.  Then Hawkeye, also an old man (and blind to boot), shows up looking for a cross-country driver.  The money he's offering could set up Logan's family for quite awhile, so he accepts.  But he refuses to do anything but drive, as he hasn't used his claws in 50 years - since the tragic night when Wolverine disappeared from public life.  Can Logan manage to save his family and will he ever be able to get over the horrors he lived through the night the heroes died?
       I mostly LOVED it!  It made sense that out of everyone, Wolverine and Hulk would be two of the only "heroes" left standing when all the others had been assassinated.  I love that Logan has decided to put away the Wolverine, but still hasn't completely lost that part of himself just yet (the awesome panel near the beginning where he imagines ripping apart his Hulk landlord demonstrates just that).  We get to see a completely different side of Logan than normal and the westernized feel of the artwork and the storyline (man goes on journey to save family from destitution/death by evil landlord[s]) definitely lends a dystopian feel to things.  I liked that Hawkeye had gone through a lot of the same things, but led a completely different life.  Blind, three-times married/divorced and ornery as ever, Hawkeye calls out Logan constantly for hanging up his claws.  But they come to mutual understanding, when Logan finally tells him what horrific things happened on that night 50 years ago.  As someone who has never read a Captain America comic, the thing with Red Skull and his trophy room still sent shivers down my spine.  Also, the scene with the Iron Man suit was perfect.
       My main problem, the one thing that really kept this from being perfect for me, was the motivations of the Hulk and the ending that they led to.  I thought it was a very weak, "bwahahaha" type of characterization and kind of disappointing.  Seeing Hulk be just plain insane would be one thing, but the over-the-top, backwoods hillbilly tint didn't really make all that much sense.  Bruce Banner, the counterpart of the Hulk, was a very educated man and I never really bought that he would've married/mated with his first cousin, Jenny (She-Hulk).  He would've known the kind of genetic problems that would cause in his bloodline.  And the rationale?  She was the only one who could keep up in then.  I guess in the context of true insanity, anything can be explained away, but it just didn't really ring true to me.  I did enjoy the end though, with Logan walking into the sunset holding Baby Bruce Banner Jr. on his back, ready to start fighting again.  Overall, a mostly fantastic comic book and a great alternate universe story, with some mostly overlooked weak spots.  I highly recommend it.  And boy oh boy, is it hella gory!

VERDICT:  4/5  Stars

*No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.*

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