While the big return for the X-Men was Jean Grey over in Phoenix Resurrection it wasn’t the only character to return to the X-Men character to the Marvel Universe. And that return was yet Wolverine’s first love interests, Mariko Yashida, in the pages of Old Man Logan. As is usual, Mariko’s return was not one that immediately brought happiness to Logan’s life. Unfortunately Mariko was brought back by Gorgon, the leader of the Hand, and was manipulated to work for him as the Scarlet Samurai in an effort to take over Yashida Corp. Luckily Logan happened to be in Tokyo when Mariko returned and by teaming up with Silver Samurai he was able to defeat the Hand and bring Mariko back to normal. Now on a mission in Madripoor, Logan and Mariko won’t have a lot to catch up on as they try to stop the next big threat to the world. Let’s see how things go by checking out Old Man Logan #34.
Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Ibraim Roberson
Colorist: Carlos Lopez
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Mariko tells Logan that Clan Yashida and the Hand’s rivalry dates back to the 1600s when her great-great grandfather, Renchi Harada, prevented the Hand from establishing a home base in Madripoor. Mariko mentions that Clan Yashida ended up losing their interest in maintaining control over Madripoor and now the Hand are trying to use Regenix to claim the city.
Mariko does not want to waste time and wants to go after the Regenix the Hand are distributing. When Logan attempts to stand up he ends up falling down in pain. Mariko finds it odd that Logan is the same guy she remembers given how quickly he used to heal from such injuries. Logan says he still heals from injuries and will join Mariko, drinking some beer to show he is the same guy.
Mariko still wants to go alone given Logan’s injuries. Logan says he is not letting Mariko take on the Hand alone and says he is all healed up. Mariko calls Logan a terrible liar as they walk out to the streets of Madripoor.
Logan and Mariko proceed to shake down gang members on information about where the Crazy Thunder Clan are located. They finally track one gang member that is completely hooked on Regenix but was cut off by the Crazy Thunder Clan. Logan and Mariko intimidate the guy into revealing the Clan’s location.
At the Crazy Thunder Clan’s Regenix production facility the leader tells all the workers to work faster in creating more Regenix. One of the workers gets nervous and causes a small explosion that scorches his hand. The leader calls the worker an idiot and curb stomps him on the ground.
Suddenly another explosion occurs that blows up part of the building. From the smoke Gorgon and the Hand appear ready to take back the Regenix.
Logan and Mariko hear the explosion but the guy they are following convinces the two to continue following him. The guy ends up leading Logan and Mariko into an alley where the Hand corner the pair.
Back at the Regenix facility Gorgon has all of his Hand ninjas kill every member of the Crazy Thunder Clan inside except for a man named Kenji.
In the alley Logan and Mariko defeat all the Hand ninjas though Logan gets more injuries in the process. Logan says he can walk off his injuries. He and Mariko then head to where they heard the explosion.
Back at the Regenix facility Kenji tries to work out a deal with Gorgon. Gorgon is only interested in where the remaining Regenix is located. Kenji points to where the only Regenix in the facility is located. Gorgon takes off his mask and uses his powers to turn Kenji into stone, which he then completely shatters.
Gorgon then has his Hand ninjas take the remaining Regenix. As they do so Logan and Mariko show up. Gorgon is pleased to see them and he and the Hand charge at Logan and Mariko.
Logan ends up taking on the Hand ninjas while Mariko takes on Gorgon alone. Mariko is able to go toe to toe with Gorgon and eventually is able to knock him out.
Mariko goes to check on Logan. Logan has a bunch of swords in him after taking out the Hand ninjas. Though he stands up for a bit Logan ends up passing out from all his injuries. End of issue.
The Good: Old Man Logan #34 does an excellent job picking up where “Scarlet Samurai” ended and continued to develop this latest conflict with Gorgon and the Hand. Keeping the spotlight on Logan and Mariko’s helped ground the story around the Regenix as we get to see how these two are reconnecting In the process Ed Brisson is able to add some much needed depth to the backstory between the Hand and Clan Yashida, of which Mariko and Silver Samurai are a part of.
Kicking Old Man Logan #34 off with some backstory between the Hand and Clan Yashida was an interesting move. This was one of the things that we were missing from the previous arc as we only knew that there was some deep history between the two warring factions. The thing was that we didn’t know how far that history actually went. Dating the conflict back to the early days of Madripoors origin help show how deep the hatred between the Hand and Clan Yashida goes.
This context made it clear why this is such a personal matter for Mariko. With how deep the history is between both sides the Hand bringing her back is actually something that Mariko does find offensive. That offense makes Gorgon an even greater personal enemy for Mariko since he is the one who tried to use her against her own Clan. That added animosity made the fight between Mariko and Gorgon more satisfying, especially since Mariko came out on top.
All of this made Gorgon and the Hand come off as even bigger villains that needed to be stopped. The relentless way Gorgon led the Hand to retrieve the remaining Regenix in Madripoor showed how they aren’t messing around. Seeing Gorgon use his powers added to how big of a threat he is with the Hand behind him. And while Gorgon was defeated there was enough done to make it so the character does not lose what makes him an intriguing ongoing bad guy for the second arc in a row.
The development of the Hand and Clan Yashida’s rivalry strengthened the core of Old Man Logan #34 being centered on Logan and Mariko’s relationship. Brisson did a wonderful job showing how both characters still care about each other. Unfortunately for both of them the things that they have gone through recently, Logan’s “Old Man” timeline and Mariko experiencing a resurrection due to the Hand, made the reunion awkward. Brisson used that awkwardness to its fullest as Logan and Mariko tried to keep up a facade that they were completely focused on their mission.
This also furthered one of the narratives Brisson has been working with as we see once again that Logan is pushing himself beyond his current limits. Between his fights with Maestro and the Hand we have seen Logan be seriously injured. Those injuries are not a good thing for this version of Logan since his healing factor isn’t what it used to be. The slower healing factor made Logan pushing himself to still watch Mariko’s back even harder to watch. There was an anticipation that Logan could pass out at any moment after each fight. When that did happen Brisson was able to maximize the impact as Mariko now has to be distracted by keeping Logan alive.
Ibraim Roberson does a good job taking over the art duties for Old Man Logan #34 while maintaining some consistencies with Mike Deodato’s style. Roberson’s artwork was particularly at its best with the slower character driven scenes where he was able to show strong facial reactions that matched Brisson’s dialogue. He also delivered some good action when needed as the damage Logan, Mariko and the Hand inflict looked brutal.
The Bad: The only problem that Old Man Logan #34 had was how quickly the Crazy Thunder Clan looked like a bunch of chumps. After being slightly built up as having some form of power in Madripoor the Clan just came off looking extremely weak when compared to the Hand. Even though that was not a surprise, it would’ve been good to see the Crazy Thunder Clan actually put up some sort of fight. Instead they were just walked all over and completely taking away how the readers should perceive them as a dangerous Clan within the dark underworld.
Overall: Ed Brisson once again showed his strong understanding of Wolverine’s history with Old Man Logan #34. The pacing of the entire story in Old Man Logan #34 added depth to the ongoing conflict Logan and Mariko are having with the Hand. At the same time, Brisson strengthened the relationship between Logan and Mariko as they each got used to being back in one another’s lives again. All of this came together for yet another strong chapter in what has become one of the best comic books Marvel is publishing.