Ed Brisson had a solid start to his run on Old Man Logan as he brought Maestro back into the fold to give us some good old fashion Hulk vs Wolverine action, with Hawkeye thrown in for some added fun. Now moving away from the non-stop rampage that was “Days of Anger” Logan decides to take a vacation to Japan. Though given Logan’s history in Japan the vacation he is looking for may not exactly happen. And with this new story arc called “Scarlet Samurai” there is sure to be plenty of action that may cut at the heart of who Logan is. Let’s see if that is the case with Old Man Logan #31.
Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Mike Deodato Jr.
Colorist: Frank Martin
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Logan walks around the Kabukicho area of Tokyo and is reminded of how much he missed the city.
Logan comes across some gangsters attacking a person. Logan quickly stops the gangsters from killing the person. He then goes about kicking all there asses. He leaves one gangster conscious so he can find out what is going on.
At the Yashida Corporation a scientist named Touko stays behind when all his co-workers clock out for the night. Now alone Touko takes some samples from the lab and sneaks away.
Sometime later as Touko is about to get into his car when he is confronted by Keniuchio Harada (Silver Samurai) and his guards about stealing from the Yashida Corporation. Touko tries to apologize and explains that he was threaten to steal for someone.
Keniuchio says if Touko doesn’t reveal who it is he will personally kill Touko’s wife and use his daughter for Yashida Corporation experiments. Touko says it was Kenji Aizone from the Crazy Thunder Clan. Keniuchio transforms into the Silver Samurai and throws Touko off the building, killing Touko in the process..
In Ikebukuro Logan confronts the Crazy Thunder Clan, who are waiting for Touko to show up. Kenji tells Logan to leave before he regrets losing his life. Logan sees the illegal operation goin on and does not leave.
Kenji sends the Crazy Thunder Clan after Logan. Though outnumbered heavily Logan is able slice his way through the Crazy Thunder Clan.
Logan threatens to kill Kenji if he does not tell him where he got his supply of Regenix drugs. Kenji says it was from a Touko, who words for the Yashida Corporation.
At the Yashida Corporation headquarters an army of Hand ninjas break into the building and attack Silver Samurai in his office. While Silver Samurai tears through the Hand army Gorgon shows up. He says that the Hand has decided to take the decision for unification with Clan Yashida out of Silver Samurai’s hands.
Silver Samurai uses some of his new technology to eliminate the Hand Ninja and makes fun of Gorgon for always being a step behind. Gorgon says he does not need to fight Silver Samurai and all he is doing is using Silver Samurai’s arrogance against him.
Silver Samurai is suddenly stabbed from behind by someone calling themselves the Scarlet Samurai. End of issue.
The Good: Old Man Logan #31 shows how Ed Brisson and Mike Deodato know their audience and cater to those taste. When it comes to a comic starring Logan, whether he is Wolverine or Old Man versions, fans want to see what he does best and that is kick ass while helping save the day. Brisson and Deodato waste no time in doing just that while building on a fun conflict around the Hand’s current goals.
Putting Logan back in a familiar setting of Tokyo was a great move. Not only has Logan’s Japan adventures been a fan favorite for Wolverine fans but also keeps him away from all the things going on with the X-Men and other Marvel heroes. That separation allows Old Man Logan #31 time to breathe and Brisson uses that to show what makes Logan such a fun character. The setting also gives Brisson the opportunity to give a different underground vibe to this arc that help it stand out from all the other street-level comics Marvel is publishing.
By putting Logan in this setting Brission is also able to explore more of Logan’s own history without beating us over the head with a long backstory. The opening page is an excellent example of this as Logan is reminded why he loves coming to Japan, even when the country holds deep personal tragedies. Even with those tragedies Japan is a country that Logan also sees as home and can’t help but keep coming back.
At the same time Brisson does not spend too much time going down memory lane as he immediately pivots Logan to be involved in the Hands’ latest plot, even if he didn’t realize it. Seeing as the Hand’s power is much greater and noticeable in Japan there was no way for Logan not to cross paths with the organization again. And it was good to see how Logan getting involved with the Hand’s latest plot was not rushed. Instead we see Logan working his way through the various Clans that make up the Japan underground. This not only keeps Logan from clashing with the Hand right away but also develops the underground world that exists in the country.
In keeping Logan away from the Hand Brisson was able to take his time in developing what the organizations latest plot is. With the Hand’s power diminishing over the last decade or so it has been good to see how some Marvel writers are taking the time to redevelop the organizations standing. We saw that most recently in Daredevil with Matt Murdock barely surviving his battle to rescue his protege from the Hand’s grasp.
Now with this latest appearance in Old Man Logan #31 we are able to see what the Hand are busy with doing as they attempt to unify gangs under their rule. This approach makes what the Hand are doing have a long-term feel as Brisson adds to how the organization is being rebuilt from the ground up. And having Gorgon lead the Hand against Silver Samurai’s company, the Yashida Corporation, is a great power move. It shows how dangerous the Hand are becoming with their approach in “unifying” the underground. Adding in a new mysterious character in the Scarlet Samurai added to how dangerous this move by the Hand are and gives Logan another possible villain to his Rogues Gallery.
Additionally, it was great to see Silver Samurai back in action. The character has always been underrated with how he brings his own flare to the stories where his personality is allowed to be shown. That personality is on full display in Old Man Logan #31, where we see how much of an overconfident asshole he can be. From throwing one of the Yashida Corporation employees off the building to his annihilation of the Hand ninjas, Silver Samurai had plenty of time to show off who he is. That all made the ending with Scarlet Samurai stabbing him something Silver Samurai deserved for being too overconfident in his abilities.
With all the various warriors and gangsters brought into Old Man Logan #31 Mike Deodato had plenty of room to flex his artistic muscle. And he did exactly that by delivering poster worthy action sequences from both Logan and Silver Samurai. He made every action sequence feel like a big event, even if they were all over quickly. The quickness of the action made for Logan and Silver Samurai’s approaches in a fight stand out even more. That is especially the case for Logan, who as Old Man Logan does not waste time in taking out whoever wrongs him. This approach made the moments where Logan intimidated the last standing gangster come off as even more effective.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Old Man Logan #31 was a treat that all Wolverine fans will enjoy. Taking Logan’s talents to Japan made for a good change of pace for the character that was still familiar thanks to the characters history within the country. That along with the development of Silver Samurai and the Hand made the story crafted by Ed Brisson and Mike Deodato an even more enjoyable tale. If you are a Wolverine fan this is a story arc you should pick up as Old Man Logan #31 is very easy to get into even if you haven’t read other issues in this series.