Review: OLD MAN LOGAN #1


Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Andrea Sorrentino, Marcelo Maiolo
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: May 27, 2015

This is a SECRET WARS: WARZONES tie-in

Old Man Logan returns, as one of the most popular Marvel stories of the past decade is revisited during Secret Wars. Gone is the original superstar creative team of Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, but in their place steps in two of the best creators in the business today – writer extraordinaire Brian Michael Bendis, and the magical Andrea Sorrentino. It feels as if the previous creative team established this take on Wolverine seven years ago knowing that the current team was always meant to take it to the next level. This is is an absolute masterpiece of a first issue.

Unlike most of the Secret Wars tie-ins, Old Man Logan serves as close to a direct sequel as possible with Battleworld looming in the background. Luckily for readers both new and old there is a recap page that fills in all of the pertinent information from the original needed for the sequel. While the recap page is a nice bonus, even if it wasn’t there Bendis does such a good job in this first issue that readers wouldn’t have trouble understanding what is happening. Except one might wonder why Logan is raising a baby, and why that baby just happens to be a Hulk.

A constant in my Secret Wars reviews have been the fact that the more successful tie-ins have been those that take a unique spin on a beloved genre. While the comparisons to the film Unforgiven have followed the Old Man Logan character around from his days in the pages of Wolverine, Bendis and Sorrentino embrace the Clint Eastwood aspect just as much, if not more than before. This take on Logan compares quite a bit to the “Man With No Name”  and also to one Max Rockatansky. The Max comparison is especially appropriate given the setting. While the fellow upcoming tie-in 1872 looks to capture a more traditional take on the Western genre. Old Man Logan is a post apocalyptic take. The setting in this story has more in common with Mad Max while blending in traditional western elements every once in awhile. The result is a stunning comic book in every aspect.

Following the events of Millar and McNiven’s action filled romp, Logan is making good on his promise to make the vicious world a better place. The issue begins in media res as Logan finds himself in the city of New Vegas to stop a human trafficking ring. Almost immediately Bendis proves to be a master of his craft with a script that recognizes the strengths of the artist attached and exploits it to maximum potential. There aren’t very many words spoken, but a lot of blood spilled. The opening action scene that takes up about half of the extra sized issue is one of the most intense and visceral you will see in any comic.There is a nine page gap between Logan saying anything more than three words, and a lot of grunting. Once the action calms down Bendis makes it clear that Logan’s job is thankless as he stands bloody in front of the confused trafficking victims. The following interaction between Logan and a child furthers this idea, and the short conversation is haunting.

The explosive opening action piece sets the tone for the entire series, and is so intense that it allows the second half to be a bit more on the quiet side in order to setup the plot of the series. We are introduced to Logan’s makeshift family which consists of Baby Banner, and an adult version of a character that has been being used quite a bit as of late. Logan finds an item that sets him off on the quest that looks to be the heart of the series. He makes his way to the only person he knows that can help, finds them a perilous situation, but gets enough to figure out what he needs to do next. What Bendis does well in the final half of the issue is contrast the fierce Logan from the beginning of the issue with the softer, more reluctant hero that he is. This isn’t your typical Wolverine. This is an old man who lost his family, found a new one and vows to make the world a better place for it. He doesn’t have to do anything, but he does so because he can. It is a wonderful dichotomy that readers of the original story saw build up, but Bendis is able to put on full display here.

Andrea Sorrentino may just produce the most visually stunning artwork of any artist in the industry. Over the past few years he has caught plenty of attention for his work at DC on I, Vampire and Green Arrow but his jump to Marvel,mans his work with the company’s biggest writer has quickly escalated his standing. He has been exclusively been paired with Bendis while at Marvel. Whether it was on the two part Eva Bell story in the All-New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men Annuals or his work on The Black Vortex issues of All-New X-Men, he has been developing quite the rapport with Marvel’s go to writer. As I mentioned before it is Bendis knowing how to write for his artists that has really brought out the best in Sorrentino. The art is spectacular in both its pure look, and ability to convey a story. The layouts for each page are probably the most impressive part of Sorrentino’s work, and that is saying something. I’d love to see what a script written by Bendis for Sorrentino looks like.Sometimes I wonder if it is even possible to get to the bottom of Sorrentino’s vast talents to adequately script for him. He is that talented.

The use of sound effects, broken up panels, number of panels, size of panels, double page spreads, and even color all help convey what is needed to be told, and how it flows. At the start of the issue it is all about brutality. Logan stabs his claws through people, cuts off ears, gets shot up, and jumps from a window. Colorist Marcelo Maiolo is the unsung hero anytime Sorrentino’s art gets mentioned. The two have worked together quite a bit, and the use of color in the art is phenomenal. The blood red panels, the blood splattered on Logan, the dusky browns used to beautiful effect in the desert. It is just amazing work. These two are inseparable in my opinion, and they sure know how to craft an issue. The opening fight starts off with a larger double page splash panel and then as the action gets more hand to hand the alternating between the all black, and the fight panels give the sense of being up close and personal in the fight.The all red hue on these alternating panels give the feeling of a bloody, brutal fight. Then all of the sudden a big splash page comes out of nowhere expressing a big moment that will take you by surprise. The perfect flow of the art goes on and on for the entire issue. Even when the issue calms down it is expressed in the layout of the pages. The panels become bigger, and less chaotic. Everything seems more open and at ease. The turn is quite dramatic, and takes place on the beautiful page of Logan returning home. It isn’t hard to say that Old Man Logan #1 is an almost perfect piece of comic book art.

Bendis, Sorrentino, and Maiolo are three of the most talented individuals at their respective jobs, and seeing them work together over the past several months has been amazing to see unfold. They were good together from the get go, but Old Man Logan is their best work together yet. The scary part is that the three of them together seem to bring out the best in each other and they all keep upping their game. They have achieved creative harmony in less than ten issues together that sometimes takes years for creative teams to find, if they ever find it at all. Given where this issue ended it’s possible that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg. This was only the first issue, things are going to get even crazier. Bendis has taken what Mark Millar started in 2008, and has ran with it to give us one of the most interesting takes on Wolverine ever. Andrea Sorrentino continues to absolutely astonish with his work, and he is establishing himself as one of the absolute best in the business. This is a must read, must look at, must consume comic that has just about everything.

The Verdict: 10/10

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