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If you haven’t read the original Old Man Logan limited series by Mark Millar, stop reading this and do so. Caught up? That should be sufficient backstory to jump into Logan’s new adventures, right in the prime Marvel universe. Ever wary of threats that can bring about the apocalyptic alternate-reality wasteland which he comes from, Logan presently fights alongside the X-Men.
In his solo book, however, Logan is taking a breather in Canada when he encounters the most sinister menace from his past; the Hulk gang. These inbred offspring of a deranged future Bruce Banner now serve yet another refugee from an alternate reality – the Maestro. In this superbly drawn installment from writer Ed Brisson, artist Mike Deodato Jr., and colorist Frank Martin, Logan hunts down the Hulks to stop whatever scheme the Maestro has in store.
Old Man Logan is an interesting character. Always wrought with guilt and foreboding, this current arc plays on his greatest fear; that the terrible future he comes from will come to pass. And the Maestro, being a megalomaniac Hulk from another future, will prove a tough threat to stop.
The main strength in Ed Brisson’s writing is in the pacing. At the start of this issue, we get a flashback to Logan’s past (er…future? alternate realities are weird). There, he explains to his young son how nuclear weapons wrecked the world while Old Man Logan supporting character Hawkeye looks on. That perfectly sets up the threat the rest of the story establishes. While tracking the Hulks, Logan soon finds an old Department H facility housing nukes – but some are missing.
Pieces and characters are arranged for an inevitable confrontation. Logan’s narration does a great job of conveying his dread and the lengths he’ll go to protect this new world from the horror he’s endured. Similarly, as the Maestro brutally attacks a remote military base he pontificates to his hulked-out progeny of the threats this world poses to them. These weren’t great people to begin with, and with a malevolent intellect like the Maestro’s leading them Logan has his work cut out for him.
That leaves the dialogue, which at times can get a little clunky. The Maestro’s rants can drag on, and with so many secondary Hulks as his army, they kind of bleed into each other in terms of characterization. I concede that there’s not a lot going on in the heads of characters named Billy Bob and Buck anyhow, but a concerned look from one lady-Hulk is the most we get to flesh out this army.
Still, detailed and visceral art compensate for any drawbacks on the character front.
A consistently great artist, Mike Deodato Jr.’s work here highlights the brutality of the Hulk gang. As they descend on the base, a wide shot shows just how outmatched these grunts are in the face of such power. Smaller panels detail the soldiers literally getting torn apart, but there’s such care put into each frame nothing is lost.
Furthermore, even the quiet moments convey the pensive focus Logan puts into the hunt. As he calls old ally Puck for some valuable intel, Logan’s impatience and concern are apparent in just a few panels. A furrowed brow, an exasperated look upwards – this is a man desperate to stop evil but equally desperate to keep it away from his friends.
Honorable mention should go to the portrayal of the Hulks as well. When depicting super strong green rage monsters, sometimes overly bulky muscles can get in the way. However, with Deodato’s work the Maestro’s enormous frame brings more menace than ridicule, which is exactly the right balance.
It’s great to see the saga of Old Man Logan take such a personal turn. The character may be stretched thin across various X-books, but this one stays true to his roots and brings great depth to a legendary hero. Pick up this and other issues at Downtown Comics and we’ll surely check in with Logan again soon (he’s in like 6 different books).