Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Scanned Thoughts: Old Man Logan #4

When you find a winning formula, the smart and sensible thing to do is stick with it until it stops working. But for some people, finding shit that works and is sufficiently awesome just isn't enough. They have to take it ten or so steps ahead of where people are currently giving a fuck. Naturally, this tends to be confusing and infuriating. It makes me wonder if some people are just trying too hard to out-think themselves or they just have a shitty weed dealer.

Wolverine is one of those characters who didn't need to be reinvented. But at some point, someone decided that being the gruff, badass, lovable brute that Chris Claremont and Frank Miller helped perfect just wasn't enough. They (and by they I also mean Chris Claremont) had to make him this guy who could be everything to everybody. He could be a badass, a teacher, a mentor, a father-figure, a lover, and pretty much everything else James Franco pretends to be. The problem is, this doesn't make him more awesome. This just makes him more of a douche.

That's why Old Man Logan is so refreshing. This is a Wolverine without all the failed attempts to make him everything to everyone in the X-men and the entire Marvel universe for that matter. This is a jaded, old, don't-give-a-fuck version of Wolverine who dares to give the finger to a god-powered Dr. Doom. That makes him, by far, the most likable character in Secret Wars to date. He's been defying Doom, picking fights with Thors, and hopping across various AUs. And it's been an awesome ride every step of the way. Old Man Logan #4 continues that ride and I'm just clenching my asshole hoping that nobody tries to fuck with this winning formula this time.

Thankfully for Wolverine and my asshole, Brian Michael Bendis doesn't just stick to that winning formula. He adds a little napalm and tobasco sauce. Old Man Logan managed to piss off both Apocalypse and the Thor Corps in the previous issue? Why? Because fuck you, that's why. That has become Old Man Logan's default excuse and it works. However, it also landed him in the closest thing Dr. Doom has to a Hell in Battleworld. It's a world populated by zombies, symbiotes, and Fox lawyers. And it's where Old Man Logan ends up.

But does this means he stops being badass and starts whining for a deal from Mephisto? Fuck no. He's Wolverine, not Peter Parker. He decides to fight. And thanks to more beautiful art from Andrea Sorrentino, it's the kind raw, violent, visceral fighting that brings out the best in Wolverine. It's the kind of violence that Dick Cheney probably finds sexually arousing. On top of that, we get some insanely badass inner monologues that show just how driven and tough this version of Wolverine is. He's old, he's grumpy, and he doesn't give a fuck. That's Wolverine at his most pure.

He fights and he fights through this insanely visceral shit that would make Freddy Kruger himself sick to his stomach. He continues musing about how far he's come and how fucked his is in his world. It's worth remembering that the Wolverine in the Old Man Logan universe is more pissed off than most and not just because he never got to touch Jean Grey's tits. He killed all his friends and loved ones in that world. He's a broken, pissed off, beat up motherfucker. So zombies and symbiotes aren't going to slow him down.

But it's not all brutality and torture porn, much to the chagrin of the Charles Manson crowd. There are also a few flashbacks of the family Wolverine had in Old Man Logan. It's the family he had to leave behind in order to give a sufficient middle finger to Dr. Doom. It's an important detail because it shows that as badass as Old Man Logan is, he's still a man who had a family. He's not completely broken. That means he still has a chance to fuck up Dr. Doom's plans for all the right reasons.

However, is Old Man Logan is going to succeed in pissing off a god-powered Dr. Doom, he's going to need help. He's already gotten his share of help from various X-men in various worlds. Sure, they didn't stop him from getting his ass shot into Battleworld's darkest buttholes, but they still helped him from being nothing more than target practice for the Thor Corps. But who can help him in a shit hole like this? Who besides him could even survive and not go Deadpool-level insane?

How about She-Hulk? She's the only one who can survive like Wolverine and still look good in a thong. Old Man Logan manages to find her in a pretty demoralized state. Apparently, she tried to make a logical, concise legal argument against Dr. Doom. He rewarded her the same way Fox News rewards such arguments and banished her to this hell. She reveals just how fucked this place is. Even she can't smash her way out of it. But she's one of the few who aren't Wolverine or clones of Wolverine or rip-offs of Wolverine who can survive. In terms of allies, this is probably as good as he could've hoped for. The fact she has nice tits is a bonus for any old man.

Old Man Logan and She-Hulk have a nice, meaningful chat that gives some context to just how fucked they are. This barren landscape is apparently so big that even the Hulk can't just jump out of it using shitty effects from an Ang Lee movie. There's no sense of direction. It's just zombies and symbiotes as far as the eye can see. Dr. Doom wanted to make this the kind of place that would make a North Korean prison camp seem like a luxurious resort. I think it's safe to say he exceeded and overachieved.

Beyond the grim circumstances, it's an appropriate exchange that reveals how crushing this place is. Even She-Hulk, who is a fucking Hulk mind you, is close to her breaking point. But Old Man Logan isn't ready to stop giving the middle finger to Dr. Doom. He's still willing to push his already insanely over-powered durability to the limit. But he needs She-Hulk's help. It's a nice moment that shows that in addition to being insanely badass, Wolverine knows how to inspire people and not just bartenders and Asian hookers.

The fighting gets more brutal. At this point, that's like saying Jennifer Lopez's ass is getting sexier. It seems impossible, but it just keeps happening. Andrea Sorrentino's beautiful artwork continues to shine, showing every visceral detail that can be shown. It effectively brings out the most feral components of Wolverine's persona. He's less a grumpy old man here and more a deranged, razor-clawed death machine. He's like Wolverine with a hangover and on a Monday morning. The circumstances bring out the best in him and it's truly a sight to behold.

Wolverine fans, at this point I'm going to give you a moment to wipe the tears of joy from your eyes. I know you'll need it. I think I speak for all of us when I say it has been way too long since we've seen something this awesome.

However, all the brutality and badassery in the world only goes so far in a domain where zombies and symbiotes run wild and have too much free time on their hands. At some point, Old Man Logan needs to get the fuck out of this place and find a more appropriate part of Battleworld where he can fuck up Dr. Doom's unholy vision. He can't get there just be clawing everything in front of him, although that has been pretty effective to this point.

This is where She-Hulk comes in. As demoralized as she is, I get the sense Old Man Logan's don't-give-a-fuck attitude has inspired her. It may have even made her a little horny. She finally gets in on the action, mixing in a little Hulk-style smashing with Wolverine's adamantium-laced stabbing. It's like chocolate and peanut butter. It's as delicious as it sounds. But to get him the fuck out of this hell, they need to do something both badass and smart.

So what could possibly meet that criteria? How about the ultimate fastball special? Take the strength of the Hulk and the durable, don't-give-a-fuck attitude of Old Man Logan and maximize it's potential. It's one of those ideas that doesn't sound possible without a few shots of tequila and a whole lot of blow. But fuck if it isn't appropriate for a situation like this. And fuck if it doesn't work. Sure, it means Old Man Logan gets thrown across Battleworld like a feather shot out of a rail gun, but it gets him out of zombie/symbiote land and send shim crashing into another domain of Battleworld. And no matter where he ends up, it can't possibly be anywhere nearly as fucked as the one he just came from. Right? Right?!

Wrong, motherfucker! He just exchanged one Battleworld hell hole for another. Because now Old Man Logan finds himself in Ultimate Marvel, also known as the infected rectal wart of Marvel Comics. This really isn't much of an upgrade over a barren wasteland full of zombies and symbiotes. At least in that domain, there's plenty to stab and get pissed at. In this world, no amount of stabbing and fastball specials will unfuck the series of clusterfucks that is Ultimate Marvel. It's like Old Man Logan just can't catch a break, but why would we want him to at this point? If any world needs more stabbing from Wolverine, it's this one.

Well, I can now stop clenching my asshole for one reason, but I'll have to clench it again for another. Old Man Logan and his don't-give-a-fuck attitude in a world with a god-powered Dr. Doom has put him in yet another hell. First, it was Age of Apocalypse. Then, it was the barren wasteland populated by zombies, symbiotes, and probably meth-addicted Raiders fans. In each world, Old Man Logan has found a way to be the same, insanely badass self he hasn't been allowed to be for years. Now, he has to be that self in the rotting butthole that is Ultimate Marvel. I didn't think I could love a crazy old man not named Stan Lee any more, but Old Man Logan keeps proving it with every issue.

If you're a Wolverine fan, you should already be jerking off to this issue. If you're Hugh Jackman, you should be sleeping with this comic under your pillow and memorize every single panel in preparation for the last Wolverine movie. If Wolverine were a precious stone, this series would be the fucking Hope Diamond. It is the most polished, pristine, and visually stunning work of Wolverine since the Claremont/Miller days. I don't have to sober up to know that's a big statement. But Brian Michael Bendis and Andrea Sorrentino have worked some omega level awesome with this series and I can no longer deny the extent of its awesome. I give Old Man Logan #4 a perfect 10 out of 10. If you love Wolverine, this comic should be enshrined in an adamantium case. If you hate Wolverine and can't find a way to enjoy this series, then chances are we should never meet in a bar. Nuff said!

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