Comic Book Review: Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1

Well, look at this! We are finally going to get the long awaited conclusion to Old Man Logan with Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1. It has only been four months since we got the last installment of this story over in Wolverine #72. Old Man Logan has been plagued by horrid and inexcusable scheduling problems. This eight issue story first began with Wolverine #66 that came out back in June of 2008. Taking a year and three months to deliver an eight issue story is completely unacceptable.

Okay, now that we got that perfunctory complaint out of the way we can now focus on the merits of Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1 independent of the terrible shipping schedule. I have loved Millar’s Old Man Logan story and have been anxiously waiting for the conclusion to Old Man Logan. I have confidence that Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1 will be a satisfying end to Old Man Logan. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Mark Millar
Pencils: Steve McNiven
Inks: Dexter Vines

Art Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 9.5 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: We begin with two members of the Hulk Gang washing up in the river. They talk about how they found some Jim Belushi movies and are going to go back home and watch them. Suddenly, one of the Hulk Gang members is pulled under the water. We then see the Hulk gang member’s various body parts float back up as he has been sliced and diced. Logan then springs out of the water and kills the other Hulk Gang member.

We zip over to Sonny Stark’s bar (Nice! The descendant of Tony Stark, a notorious drunk, owns his own bar.) where three members of the Hulk Gang are eating and drinking. One of the members, Elrod, is holding Logan’s daughter’s doll. Elrod says it is pretty and it still smells like baby-milk. Suddenly, the lights go out. Logan enters the bar and kills one of the Hulk Gang members. Logan then attacks the other two members.

We cut to Heff’s mansion where three of the Hulk Gang, including Beau, have finished celebrating killing Logan’s family by completely wearing out about ten hookers. The Hulk Gang members leave the brothel and find Logan (who is wearing Clint Eastwood’s trademark cowboy hat and duster) standing in front of the Hulk Gang’s Fantasti-Car. Logan then attacks the Hulk members.

We hop over to Banner’s Lair, which is a giant trailer park outside of a cave. Banner lives in the cave. Banner tells his daughter that Logan will be coming to Banner’s Lair looking to kill them all. Right on cue, we see the Fantasti-Car come flying through the air and crash into the trailer park outside of Banner’s cave. We see Beau tied to the Fantasti-Car with a bomb taped to his mouth. The bomb blows up and kills several members of the Hulk Gang.

Logan comes walking out of the wreckage and says “No more games. No more talking…I’m just here to kill you people.” Logan begins slaughtering all the members of the Hulk Gang in Banner’s Lair. Logan kills everyone and then finally arrives at the entrance to Banner’s cave. Banner walks out of the cave. Banner is now a small old man. However, Banner is still incredibly strong. Banner tells Logan to keep quite or Logan will wake the baby.

Banner begins kicking ass on Logan. Banner says that this is just like old times. Banner says that people say he went mad due to radiation sickness. But, the truth is who else was Banner going to mate with other than his first cousin. Banner says that Jenny, the She-Hulk, was the only woman who could take the damn pace. Banner says that he wanted to kill Logan’s family so that he could have the old Wolverine back. Banner says that he has been bored being a landlord and bored being a super villain. Banner says that he needed someone to make him feel alive again.

Logan screams for Banner to shut up. Logan then gets the upper hand in the fight and begins slashing Banner. Logan then guts Banner and says that was for his wife and kids. Banner then falls to the ground and called Logan an idiot. Banner says that Logan should not have made him angry. Banner says that people piss themselves when he gets angry. We see Banner transform into the Incredible Hulk.

The Incredible Hulk then grabs Logan and chomps down on him. The Hulk eats Logan.

We then cut to twelve hours later with the Hulk sitting in his cave. Billy-Bob then enters the cave with the Jim Belushi movies. Billy-Bob says that Logan killed everyone. That the only people left from the Hulk Family are Banner, Billy-Bob and Baby Bruce. The Hulk replies that he fought Logan and that he beat Logan and ate Logan.

The Hulk says that all they need are the three of them to re-grow the Hulk Family. Hulk says that they will get some women from Heff’s mansion and start this thing all over again.

Hulk says that his super power is surviving. That he survived the atomic blast and the rise of the super villains. The Hulk then holds his stomach and complains that he has had bad cramping for the past couple of hours. Hulk then doubles over in pain.

Billy-Bob says that Hulk ate Wolverine. Hulk replies that they have been snacking on their enemies for years. Billy-Bob replies that none of their enemies that they ate had healing factors.

The Hulk replies “You gotta be kiddin’ you little runt.” We then see Logan ripping out of the Hulk’s back. Logan tears all of the Hulk’s insides open. The Hulk dies.

Billy-Bob then begs Logan not to hurt him or the baby. Logan replies that Banner had his baby killed so why should Logan spare Banner’s baby.

We zip to Logan’s ranch one month later. Logan places the doll that he got back from Elrod onto his daughter’s grave. The locals ask Logan if he is ready to walk away from his ranch. Logan says that without his wife and children that there is no reason to stay here. That all Logan has are his memories and he can take them with him where he goes.

Logan tells the locals that he plans on bringing the law back to the country. The locals say that such an endeavor is impossible. Logan replies that a friend of his told him that there was no such word as “impossible.” Logan says that his same friend taught Logan to forgive himself. (Hawkeye.)

Logan then says that he has his little partner with him in baby Bruce and that this is some nice poetic justice that Bruce Banner, Junior will be the first guy on his new team. We see baby Bruce in a little sling on Logan’s back.

The locals tell Logan that he is going to get himself killed. Logan replies that they killed him fifty years ago and he got better. Logan says that he has kept his head down long enough. We then see Logan with baby Bruce on his back riding on his horse into the sunset. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1 was an absolute blast to read. Miller uncorks a fantastic ending to this story. Was this issue totally predictable? Yes. But, that was not the point of this story. The magic of Old Man Logan was not the destination. This story was not supposed to be one where the attraction was the reader having to guess and figure out where the author was headed. This was not a mystery based story.

The magic of Old Man Logan was the journey. It was irrelevant that the reader knew how this story was going to end. What was so compelling was what happened to Logan during this journey. It was the peeling back the layers of Logan’s character as we finally got to the animal that still lived deep inside his soul. The tapping of that animal and the rebirth of Wolverine was the payoff that we have been waiting for and finally got in Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1.

And the incredibly violent and bloody payoff that we got in Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1 was absolutely worth waiting for and completely satisfying. The reader has been anxiously waiting for Logan to transform back into Wolverine and to pop his claws and deliver some bloody retribution.

Our hero has taken a beating during this entire story and kept his pacifistic composure. Having to sit by and watch Logan get beat down and humiliated over the course of this story made this final issue all that much more delicious and enjoyable.

Old Man Logan is the comic book equivalent of an action packed summer blockbuster movie. Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1 was basically the kinetic and explosion filled final thirty minutes to your classic summer blockbuster movie.

Millar loads up this issue with tons of action. We get non-stop fighting from start to finish in this issue. The fighting between Logan and the Hulk Gang is brutal, bloody and wicked. Millar knows how to cook up some excellent action scenes.

Of course, the signature scene in this issue was the climactic battle between Logan and the Hulk. Millar has been seriously hyping up this confrontation since the first issue of Old Man Logan. There is always that chance that the payoff will be anti-climactic or unsatisfying given the incredible amount of build-up. That is most certainly not the case with this issue. Millar delivers the goods with this clash of titans.

I liked that Millar had Banner fight the Hulk in his normal form first. This showed off how much stronger Banner has gotten over the years even in his human form. It also made for some great psychology in the fight scene as Logan took a beating at first and then battled back to take down Banner only to see Banner then morph into the Hulk. It made the moment that Banner turned into the Hulk that much more dramatic and exciting.

The pacing and plotting on Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1 was perfect. Millar hits the ground running with this issue and does not let up on the gas pedal until the final scene. The fight scenes come rolling at the reader in waves. However, even though this issue moves at a lively pace, it is never rushed or hurried. The reader has plenty of time to savor each scene where Logan dishes out his revenge.

The plotting was solid as Millar kept his focus until the very end. This story has been moving with a clear direction and purpose since the very beginning. I like that Millar based this story around the important role that the Hulk played with the birth of Wolverine. The Hulk is what started the Wolverine’s career as Wolverine made his Marvel Comics debut in Incredible Hulk #180.

Millar’s initial task in Old Man Logan was to show the reader that Wolverine was dead. That all that was left was a broken down old man who went by the name Logan. The journey in this story consisted of Millar to stripping back the layers of Logan’s character and get to the core of who and what the Wolverine was and why he was so important in the fight against evil. The end goal of this story was then to bring about the rebirth of Wolverine who would give hope to the hopeless and bring law to the lawless.

Millar rightly realized that there was only one way for Wolverine to be reborn: A battle with the Hulk. The Hulk was tied to Wolverine’s original birth and it only made sense for the Hulk to want to trigger the rebirth of his longtime rival for that chance once again to truly feel alive.

I liked how Millar took Wolverine’s rebirth and combined it with the hope for a better future. Millar’s decision to have Logan keep baby Bruce with him was a brilliant move. It shows that even though Wolverine has been reborn that Logan still has some compassion. That Logan realized that he could take the spawn of a great evil and use and shape that spawn into a source of good that could help the world. Logan understands redemption better than just about any other hero.

Also, by having Logan raise baby Bruce, Millar continued the bond that exists between Wolverine and the Hulk, but this time in a much more positive manner. The Hulk and Wolverine seem to be two characters that are inextricably tied together.

Of course, I have adored the setting for Old Man Logan since the first issue. Millar has done a fantastic job fleshing out this dystopian future for the 616 universe. I liked Banner’s Lair consisting of a huge trailer part surrounding Banner’s cave. Heff’s mansion was a humorous touch. Glad to see that even in the future that Hugh Hefner’s mansion is still a Mecca of hedonistic pleasures.

Millar has stated that the future world of Old Man Logan leads directly into the future world that we saw on Millar’s Fantastic Four run. The Fantastic Force that operates on Nu-World stars an Incredible Hulk who is incredibly smart and who is the son of Bruce Banner. That Hulk’s father turned out to be Logan.

Millar never explained the history between the Bruce, Jr. and Logan over on Fantastic Four. However, the reader finally gets that information in Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1 . I dig how Millar tied in the Old Man Logan continuity seamlessly into the future world over on his Fantastic Four run.

Millar served up plenty of solid dialogue that is actually quite economical. I like that Millar knows when to keep the dialogue to a minimum. That seems to be a skill that few writers have these days. When dealing with two characters like Wolverine and the Hulk, it makes sense to keep the dialogue trimmed back. There was no need to force in endless narration or dialogue with two characters that are not loquacious people.

I liked Millar’s character work with both Banner and Logan. It was evident that Millar was using Clint Eastwood as his template for Logan’s character in this story. However, Millar made it completely obvious in this issue as Logan dons a cowboy hat and duster that Clint Eastwood wore in many of his Western movies including Unforgiven.

Logan’s character in Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1 mirrors Eastwood’s character in Unforgiven during the final 20 minutes of that movie. Logan pulls off his best Clint Eastwood impression in this issue. Since I love Eastwood, I enjoyed the parallels that Millar drew between Eastwood and Logan.

All of the members of the Hulk Gang were truly repulsive and I absolutely loved them. They made for some fantastic cannon fodder and grunts for the main villain in the Hulk. However, Banner put all the other Hulk Gang members to shame. Banner was flat out gross and disgusting. It was great!

Millar makes Banner into a person whose mind was driven insane by the radiation poisoning. The fact that Banner realized that only his first cousin, She-Hulk, could handle him sexually was just twisted. Any successful story needs a strong and interesting villain and Millar certainly delivered that with Banner’s character in this issue.

Steve McNiven and Dexter Vines combined to deliver some absolutely beautiful artwork in this issue. I know that McNiven has extreme problems meeting any sort of deadline. And criticisms of his inability to keep a schedule and his long delays is completely fair. However, the fact remains that I just love his style of artwork. McNiven created a simply gorgeous looking issue.

McNiven is able to inject some incredibly powerful emotion into Millar’s story. McNiven is able to convey the age and emotional baggage that hangs on both Banner and Logan. McNiven is able to pull off incredibly intense action scenes as well as moving dramatic scenes. The amount of detail that McNiven is able to pack into each panel is incredible. McNiven is a huge reason why Millar’s entertaining future setting for this story appears so rich and captivating.

The Bad: I must say that while Millar having the Hulk eat Logan set-up a cool and dramatic kill scene, it also lacked logic. Why would Banner, who clearly is well versed with Logan’s healing factor, ever think that eating Logan would be a smart idea? I just had a bit of a problem that Banner would have fallen for that trick. Of course, Banner had morphed into the Hulk and the Hulk is usually rather dumb. Maybe the Hulk would have thought that eating Logan would have been enough to kill Logan and prevent his healing factor from bringing him back to life.

Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1 is certainly not an issue that is going to appeal to everyone. This issue is a bit thin. As entertaining as I have found Old Man Logan, the fact remains that this story is not terribly deep.

Readers who desire stories that challenge their minds and require them to guess where the writer is going to go next will probably not enjoy Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1 . Readers who prefer more intellectual indie styled comic books should probably avoid this issue.

Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1 was full of cannibalism with the members of the Hulk Gang chowing down on body parts and the Hulk eating Logan. This has been a reoccurring theme in both Marvel and DC comic books for several years now. It is not longer even remotely “shocking.” At this point, I would like to propose a moratorium on cannibalism in comic books for at least a year or two. Can we manage that?

Overall: Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1 was a great read. I completely enjoyed Old Man Logan and would recommend this story to any readers who like action stories. Wolverine fans, Eastwood fans and readers who like big summer blockbuster style action are sure to enjoy Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Size #1 . If you missed out on this story or dropped it due to the poor shipping schedule then definitely pick Old Man Logan up when Marvel releases the hardcover edition on October 28, 2009.
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Rokk

3 Comments

  1. It is absolutely fantastic. I was looking for this issue for months. Thank's for the review.

  2. Excellent review. I enjoyed everything about this book except the cannibalism. I agree with you on this trend to make many of the villains cannibalistic. It's too played out and I wish they would stop. I think that's my only complaint with this story's run. Other than that I found the entire story great. I never read the Fantastic Four run, but now that you've pointed out the connection I'm going to have to go out and get it. I'd love to see more of universe's story. Even a run showing how each of the heroes fell. That would be great.

  3. Even though every person reading this book knew it was going to end with Logan popping claws and going after the Hulk gang it seemed a little too easy didn't it? I realize that getting digested ain't easy but still I would have liked to see some more scrapping.

    Anyone remember when wolverine could be hurt and theoretically killed? Those were the days.

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