‘Past Lives’ has not had the cleanest starts. Though there have been some good elements to the story it has not fully clicked with in the last few issues. Jeff Lemire has shown that he understands how to tell well executed stories that combine the past and the present expertly there is no reason ‘Past Lives’ can’t reach the quality that Old Man Logan is known for. With the next stop in Old Man Logan’s tour through the past taking the character back to when he faced off against Hulk at the beginning of his Wolverine career things should turn around quickly. Will that actually be the case? Let’s find out Old Man Logan #22.
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Eric Nguyen
Colorist: Andres Mossa
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Hulk fights Wendigo in the forests of Quebec, Canada in order to try to cure Wendigo while Wolverine watches from a distance. Wolverine spots the amulet on the ground where Hulk and Wendigo are fighting.
Wolverine lunges at both Hulk and Wendigo to try and get the amulet. Instead of getting the amulet Wolverine ends up getting involved in Hulk and Wendigo’s fight. The three begin to fight it out.
Just as Wolverine finds his shot to grab the amulet the Hulk smashes him on the ground. Hulk grabs and tosses the amulet to another part of the forest. Hulk then goes to smash Wolverine with a boulder. Wolverine gets out of the way and quickly slashes Hulk’s ankles.
Wolverine uses this opening to search for the amulet. As he runs through the forest Wolverine thinks about how he still has yet to grasp the rules of the magic Asmodeus used to send him through time.
Wolverine finally finds the amulet but just as he grabs it the Hulk lands right on top of him. Hulk starts pounding on Wolverine.
Suddenly the amulet activates and sends Old Man Logan through a time portal as Hulk continues to pound on Wolverine.
Old Man Logan’s soul suddenly finds himself in the timeline when Jean Grey became the Phoenix. The Phoenix uses her powers to send the X-Men flying through the sky and crash land on the ground.
Having sworn to not let Jean die again if she returned, Logan in his Wolverine body attempts to stop Phoenix but is unable to get close to her. Phoenix’s power soon becomes too much for Jean to control. The X-Men, including Logan, are only able to watch as Phoenix’s powers grow out of control and Jean ends up flying away.
Logan picks up the amulet and activates its powers to send him through another time portal.
Logan ends up in Japan when he was fighting some Hand ninjas. As Logan fights the Hand in his brown and yellow Wolverine costume he begins to understand that he can’t change the past. Though he can’t change anything Logan does find joy in being able beat up some ninjas.
Logan picks up the amulet but instead of activating it again he goes to Mariko’s house to take advantage of being able to revisit the past. Mariko asks Logan if he is okay. Logan says he is and that he missed her. They then kiss.
After some time Logan activates the amulet again and ends up in the sewers. As he heads up to see where he is Logan knows the smell of the place he is in can only come from Madripoor. End of issue.
The Good: Old Man Logan #22 is exactly what this ‘Past Lives’ arc needed to pick up the pacing of the story. Keeping the focus on Old Man Logan’s journey through the various points in his career as Wolverine allowed us to understand the greater purpose that Jeff Lemire has for his final story arc of this series. In doing so we are able to see Logan see some much needed character progression.
There was a definite sense of nostalgia in seeing Logan back in the three most iconic versions of the Wolverine character. That sense of nostalgia was perfectly used by Lemire to enhance what he was looking to accomplish for Logan. With each visit to his time as Wolverine, we got to see how things were beginning to click for Logan as to why the amulet was jumping him all around his timeline.
That progression allowed Logan to receive some character growth along the way as he understood why he needs to stop looking to the past. With each visit we saw how Logan came to accept the fact that he has to push forward with who he is now. It also made for an effective way for Lemire to tell readers how the Old Man Logan version of the character is the version we are going to be with. And his evolution in Old Man Logan #22 further strengthen the case as to why this version of Logan is a great character.
Lemire also did a good job in having the three important periods in Logan’s life build on top of each other. With Logan realizing that he can’t change things Lemire was still able to give Logan an important moment with one of his greatest love interests. And I love that this moment was with Mariko rather than Jean Grey.
Though Logan and Jean have become linked for a while now it is his time with Mariko that was possibly more important. Because with Mariko, she represents someone Logan actually saw himself settle down with and possibly live a normal life. So being able to get in a final kiss was a great moment to deliver before the issue came to a close.
Ending Old Man Logan #22 with Logan finding himself in the middle of Madripoor is very intriguing. Given that Logan still maintained his younger appearance Lemire has a lot of possible periods to go with for the next issue. Using the fact Logan has been so connected with Madripoor added to how dangerous things may become before Logan can find his way back to the present.
For his part Eric Nguyen did an excellent job enhancing Lemire’s story with his artwork. Nguyen added to the sense of desperation Logan had with the close-up shots we had to his eyes. Nguyen got across how useless Logan felt with being able to change the past, especially when we saw the X-Men trying to stop the Phoenix. Logan trying but continuing to fail stop Jean as Phoenix completely took her over was a great visual.
The Bad: Nothing
Overall: Old Man Logan #22 did a fantastic job getting over what “Past Lives” is all about. Jeff Lemire was able to make Logan’s sense of uselessness as he was unable to change his past to give him some strong character progression. That character progression is only furthered by Eric Nguyen’s artwork that does a great job complimenting Lemire’s story. Now things are set-up for “Past Lives” to be a great final arc for Lemire’s run on this series.