This article was originally published at Comics Bulletin on February 25, 2016.
For more than a year whispers have swirled around Marvel’s X-Men line of comic books. While their far more profitable movie rights are still owned by Fox (see: Deadpool), comics rumor mongers have said this franchise was doomed in funny books. Is there any truth to this though? Are the X-Men bound to follow the other ill-fated, Fox licensed franchise of The Fantastic Four? There’s no way to know much of anything outside of the boardrooms at Marvel, but we can take a look at the line itself to see how it’s faring. So this week Chase Magnett is examining all five of the ongoing series in the X-franchise to see how healthy it is.
Now for today’s review…
Old Man Logan #2
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Andrea Sorrentino
Colors by Marcelo Maiolo
Letters by Cory Petit
Old Man Logan #2 benefits from not being Old Man Logan #1, but that isn’t quite a large enough favor to make it recommendable. This issue at least drops the painful Dark Knight Returns references and inanely silly set up of its predecessor, but continues to fail in its quest for a coherent tone or purpose within the X-books The jostling of ideas in this issue reflects its protagonist’s state of mind: confused and a little sad.
The story continues to be steeped in violence as Logan furthers his quest to kill the Marvel universe, except he doesn’t further much of anything because this isn’t an “X Kills the Marvel Universe” mini. Old Man Logan is set smack dab in the middle of continuity and that’s the fact that makes its premise outright laughable. The first issue dredged up a Z-list super villain, that Wolverine could kill without any editor crying fowl. Now he’s after the Hulk and running into a world and tone that doesn’t match that of his own series.
This issue features the renowned tracker Logan seeking out the Hulk and taking the entire issue to realize that it’s actually Amadeus Cho and not Bruce Banner. Apparently looking, speaking, and acting differently were just too subtle of clues for the old man to pick up on. So he goes at Cho for the better half of the issue before realizing what’s actually occurring and sadly walking off into the rain. The scene resembles an Alzheimer’s patient attacking his nurse because he thinks they’re actually a Nazi, then getting upset when they realize the mistake. It’s not exciting, it’s mostly pitiable.
The fight that occurs is pretty great though. Andrea Sorrentino proved that he could construct one hell of an action sequence with Jeff Lemire on Green Arrow, and goes even bigger with the superpowers in this series. Logan and Hulk’s fight sprawls across a construction site allowing the two combatants to do plenty of damage to themselves and their surroundings without having to worry about people. Sorrentino highlights every hit with bright red inset panels that make each hit feel painful. He also uses space excellently creating vast distances between the two with each new hit. Panels increase in width to display power.
Sorrentino also displays the two characters personality in his own work. The overwhelming darkness of Logan’s original saga is present in every line on his face, while Cho is a neon lit, teenage dream with excellent hair. It’s a great bit of visual characterization that struggles to remain consistent because of the jarring tonal shifts of the story itself. Old Man Logan #2 shifts between bloody shots of Logan’s dead family to Cho cracking about superhero team ups, but cannot find a bridge between the two.
This is a comic that is at war with itself. The premise of the comic is as ugly and gritty as it gets, but it is plotted as a Marvel team up feature with all of your favorite superpowered pals. There’s no awareness of this dichotomy though. It’s every bit as bizarre as it sounds and the friction between the two concepts results in a comic that doesn’t know what it wants to be, besides an excuse to show off Sorrentino’s excellent action sequences.