Saturday, February 13, 2016

Old Man Logan #2: Nuff Said!

He’s old, his tough, and he can be mean as fuck. No, I’m not talking about Bernie Sanders. I’m talking about Old Man Logan, although I imagine he’d be an awesome spokesman for Sanders’ campaign. The most jaded version of Wolverine who didn’t have to kill Jean Grey is back in the Marvel universe and he’s every bit as awesome as before. Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino have put him in a Marvel Universe where he has plenty of shit to stab. He got off to a great start with the Butcher. Now, he’s aiming a little higher in Old Man Logan #2 with the motherfucking Hulk. I normally don’t make political endorsements, but if Bernie Sanders exists in the Marvel Universe, then he should make Old Man Logan his running mate right now. His balls alone should sway independents.

Before Old Man Logan can get around to being his graying, gritty self, a little context is needed. Just like the first issue, we get a quick flashback to provide some additional insight into the world Old Man Logan came from. In that world, the Hulk went batshit and that was bad enough. But when he decided to start knocking up women and churning out hulking, green-skinned kids, then the shit got a lot worse. Because what could possibly go wrong with an entire population of hulked out youths in a world completely devoid of heroes?

It’s an important context to consider and one that Jeff Lemire makes sure to reinforce. In this particular flashback, we find one of Hulk’s darling little bastards slaughtering the innocent cow of an innocent farmer because he’s either bored, hungry, horny, or some combination of the three. It effectively conveys that the Hulk created an entire generation of unapologetic assholes. If he were alive, he probably would’ve ripped his own balls off in disgust.

But what does Old Man Logan do while these Hulk degenerates are out slaughtering farm animals and killing innocent ranchers? Well, he can’t do much of anything and not just because he’s a walking mascot for the AARP. In this shitty world, he actually has a family to consider. He has a wife and two kids to protect. He can’t just pick fights, chug a beer, and get into a dick-measuring contest with Cyclops every other day. Being older actually got him to mature somewhat and he actually values his family’s well-being over fighting a hulk. It might not sound badass, but it’s probably the most decent thing he can do in a shitty post-apocalyptic future like this.

The problem is all that restraint and hiding ended up doing jack shit in the end. Eventually, the Hulk gang ran out of cows and innocent ranchers to harass. So they eventually found their way to Old Man Logan’s family. In a world where all the heroes are already dead and he’s a walking arthritis commercial, he couldn’t do jack shit to save his family. While Wolverine has had many painful personal losses over the years, this one still has an impact. And at least this time, he didn’t kill them by accident. He did all the right things while the Hulk fucked him over with his degenerate offspring.

I’m not usually a fan of flashbacks that don’t involve Emma Frost’s time as a stripper, but there is a right way and a wrong way to use them. Lemire did all the right things with this one and then some, providing insight into why Old Man Logan is this willing to pick a fight with the Hulk. Most people will avoid fighting the Hulk the same way they avoid root canal surgery. Old Man Logan is ready to end the not-so-jolly green giant and his reasons for doing so are personal, emotional, and perfectly understandable.

There’s just one problem that might or might not make a difference. Well, there two actually. First, the Hulk in this time period isn’t an asshole yet and hasn’t started fathering asshole children, although it might be on his to-do list. Second, the Hulk in this time period isn’t Bruce Banner. It’s Amadeus Cho, the ultimate Hulk fanboy who doesn’t prioritize fathering asshole children nearly as much.

But does this dissuade Old Man Logan in the slightest? Fuck no. Keep in mind, he still thinks he’s in the past. He’s still bathing in the afterglow of the clusterfuck that was Secret Wars. He has no idea that Amadeus Cho is the new Hulk. That doesn’t make his initial attack any less brutal or bloody. Maybe he can claim senility at his age, but I doubt the Hulk accepts that excuse.

What follows next should bring tears of joy and soaked panties for Wolverine fans. It’s Wolverine versus Hulk. It’s Marvel equivalent of chocolate and peanut butter. Sure, this is an AU version of Wolverine and a new version of Hulk, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still every bit as brutal and visceral as a Wolverine vs. Hulk fight should be. Thanks once again to Andrea Sorrentino’s artwork, the brutality and violence is a sight to behold. It couldn’t be more appropriate without a bottle of Canadian whisky and green jolly ranchers.

The fight isn’t just brutal. We can see that kind of brutality in a WWE event. What gives this battle weight is the personal drama that Old Man Logan has put into it. As he battles the new Hulk, memories of his family still haunt him. It’s an important detail to remember because it gives a certain level of emotional weight to the fight. That kind of weight is difference between an epic brawl and a super-powered pissing contest. The drama surrounding Old Man Logan’s memories help make this fight appropriately epic.

Because it’s so epic, Old Man Logan takes quite a beating while Amadeus Cho remains confused. As far as he’s concerned, this is another clone or time traveler. Unlike Bruce Banner, he has no real history or personal connection with Wolverine. So he’s basically just reacting as we would expect any pissed off Hulk to react. At least he’s more reasonable than Banner once Old Man Logan’s age starts to catch up to him. I guess that means Cho is a lot better about respecting the elderly.

Finally, only after Old Man Logan is too beaten up and battered to keep fighting, Cho explains to him that he’s not Banner. He even offers to help him. This after Old Man Logan greeted him by slashing the tendons in his legs. It’s understandably confusing for Old Man Logan and not just because Cho didn’t use this as an excuse to rip his spine out through his nose. It shows that the shit he remembers isn’t exactly in place. He’s basically running on old instincts, old bitterness, and old assumptions. Some might call it senility. I just call it Old Man Logan doing what he does best…even if it means making an ass of himself sometimes.

Despite Cho’s overly generous offer to help, Old Man Logan runs off. Cho isn’t the one he needs to take down. Now he’s confused and understandably sore from a fight against a Hulk. Hell, most people who fight the Hulk are lucky enough to be in one piece. How lucky is Old Man Logan? He founds out the Hulk punched him all the way into Brooklyn. Not saying there are worse places to be punched, but that’s going to sting a little extra.

While in Brooklyn, he tries to collect himself and rest so his internal organs can get back into place. He ends up finding a place that belongs to another friend of his. Since Old Man Logan isn’t one to send a text or tweet asking if he can stay, he just lets himself in. Because when has an old man sneaking into someone’s house ever caused any problems? Somewhere out there, Wes Craven is rolling his eyes.

That old friend of his eventually does show up, but once again it’s not who he expected. Just as the Hulk now has a new identity in Amadeus Cho. Hawkeye has a new identity and this time he has boobs. Yes, Old Man Logan is about to team up with a female Hawkeye. Excuse me while I get another case of Canadian whiskey and popcorn. This show just keeps getting better. I can’t wait to see how he reacts when he finds out there’s a black Captain America now. it awesome?

That should be a rhetorical question at this point, but I’ll humor it. A better question would be what did Old Man Logan #2 NOT have to make it anything other than awesome? Personal Wolverine-style drama? Check. Brutal Wolverine-style violence? Check. Dark and gritty art, courtesy of Andrea Sorrentino? Check. Jeff Lemire capturing Old Man Logan’s voice perfectly? Check. Do I really need to go on? Can I please save some of my hard liquor for Valentine’s Day? Because there really isn’t much more that needs to be said.

Old Man Logan, even if he is dense and misguided, is the kind of Wolverine that has soaked the panties of X-men fans for generations. Old Man Logan #2 continues to ruin panties while providing all the right thrills. He’s still learning that this world he woke up in is way more different and way more fucked up than he remembers. And this is a guy who came from a world where gangs of Hulk wannabes rip apart farm animals for fun. I ask again, do I really need to go on?

Final Score: 9 out of 10


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