Thursday, April 28, 2016

Old Man Logan #5: Nuff Said!

They say with age comes wisdom. But does it really? Or is it just that as you get older, you stop giving a flying fuck? I guess most of us won’t find out until our hair starts turning gray and we start shitting in bags. For Old Man Logan, he doesn’t have to wait. He knows and despite looking like a walking Just For Men before picture, he carries himself with the kind of wisdom and don’t-give-a-fuck attitude that makes Wolverine awesome.

The first arc of Old Man Logan was a testament and a love letter to everything we love about Wolverine. If I were a woman, I’d return that love letter with naked pictures and a wedding ring. Now, Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino are looking to expand Old Man Logan’s role in the new Marvel universe. He’s finally accepted that he’s not in the past. He’s just in a world where mutants are fucked for a whole different reason. At least it’s a world where he hasn’t killed all his friends and Storm isn’t married anymore. Old Man Logan #5 launches the next chapter in his new life and while I may not be a woman, let’s just say naked pictures aren’t entirely off the table.

The first arc ended with him catching up with the events of Extraordinary X-men. This new arc pics up right after that in as good a transition as we can possibly expect from the X-books these days. Old Man Logan needs to run off and do some Wolverine shit again. This leads a nice moment with storm, one that’s full of drama and emotional undertones and possibly some incredible sexual tension. I know Old Man Logan doesn’t look nearly as hot as his former, Hugh Jackman inspiring self, but I imagine Storm needs to get laid just that much at this point.

It’s not about her busting his balls for running off. It’s about her reminding him how much she and the X-men need him. That kind of fucks with Old Man Logan, seeing as how he blames himself for slaughtering the X-men in his world. But that’s exactly what makes the drama so appropriate and juicy. Not sure he’s ready for Storm to jump his bone, but I imagine even Old Man Logan isn’t too old to avoid temptation.

Once again, Andrea Sorrentino’s gritty artwork fits the tone of Old Man Logan like chocolate frosting atop a pot brownie. It makes for a perfect backdrop as Old Man Logan ventures out into a world he doesn’t belong in. It’s also a world that’s being fucked over by clouds of Inhuman farts, but it’s still an upgrade compared to the wasteland he came from, although that’s certainly subject to change. Even so, Sorrentino’s artwork here, depicting Old Man Logan on a motorcycle, couldn’t be more Wolverine-esque without a bottle of whiskey in the background.

He eventually arrives at his destination. It’s an isolated ice road town where the wolf population is higher than the human population. But he’s not just here to pitch a new shitty reality show for the Discovery Channel. He’s there because he came to this same place in his world.

It leads to another wonderfully appropriate, exceedingly brutal flashback. Just like those in the first arc, this one is perfectly placed and beautifully depicted, providing relevant insight into Old Man Logan’s fucked up story. This one involves his efforts to kill himself after he slaughtered his friends. Having an adamantium skeleton and a healing factor made that surprisingly difficult. He even tried letting a train run over his head. And it still didn’t work. Let that sink in for a moment and then go get some aspirin.

It leads to a defining moment for Old Man Logan, one where he buried his X-men costume and his title as Wolverine. It’s the moment that transformed him into this distinct manifestation of Wolverine that is so different from the whiny pretty boy version we see in the movie or the arrogant, don’t-give-a-fuck-and-flirt-with-married-women version that we see in so many comics. It’s an important moment in its own right and one that is even more relevant now that he’s with a new team of X-men in a new world.

This defining moment has all sorts of dramatic weight. Him returning to Weapon X and hoping to punish himself? Not so much. It turns out only half as bad as you would think. Then again, this is after he tried and failed to kill himself by getting his head run over by a train. So it’s a lot more understandable in that context. It basically sets the stage for Old Man Logan to start stabbing things again after he threw away his X-men uniform. That’s one distinction that every form of Wolverine has to embrace to some degree.

Old Man Logan is only slightly less inclined to embrace it compared to his predecessors. Back in the present, he’s more inclined to stop and feed a dog before he stabs something. That doesn’t just win him points with the animal rights crowd. It wins him points with a cute young woman. She doesn’t look like Jean Grey and she’s not a Japanese hooker so there’s nothing overly pornographic about it. It just makes for a nice moment between Old Man Logan and a girl who loves dogs. It’s not as dramatic as stabbing, but it’s a lot less messy.

Return to the flashback and the potential for stabbing is much higher. However, this is during a time when Old Man Logan swore not to fight. So those assholes that attacked him at the Weapon X facility had an advantage. In most other X-men universes, they would have found the business end of Wolverine’s claws in the first half-second and their entrails would become glorified finger paint. But in Old Man Logan’s world, he never draws his claws. He just gets the everloving shit kicked out of him. It might be woefully lopsided, but it’s perfectly appropriate within the context of his history.

This is when we find out why this flashback is so much more relevant than 99 percent of the flashbacks in other comics. This moment, right after Old man Logan gets the shit kicked out of him, is when he meets Maureen. She’s not Jean Grey. She’s not Mariko Yashida. And yet in the world of Old Man Logan, she’s the one who ends up marrying Logan and survives the wedding. That alone qualifies her to participate in girls nights with Carol Danvers, Wonder Woman, and Black Widow.

It’s an important moment both in this story and in the grand scheme of Old Man Logan because Maureen didn’t get a lot of chances to shine. She was just the woman who managed to give Old Man Logan a reason not to run his head over with a train a second time. Here, we find out how they meet and how their relationship unfolds. For someone who managed to convince Old Man Logan to name one of his kids Scotty, I think she’s earned that level of intrigue.

This is where the ties between the flashback and the present become perfectly aligned. Remember that adorable young woman who loves taking care of dogs? Well, that’s the Maureen of this non-dystopian world where Wolverine hasn’t slaughtered his friends. She’s just a young girl at this point in the timeline. And no, it doesn’t get creepy in a way the Vatican would have to cover up. Old Man Logan flat out admits to himself that she’s not the girl he’s destined to fall in love with and start a family. She’s just a girl he needs to protect. It’s a perfectly Wolverine-like thing to do, regardless of age. From Jubilee to X-23, it’s kind of a tradition. At the very least, he has to make sure she doesn’t end up a vampire.

Old Man Logan’s heart might be in the right place, even if his hair color and prostate aren’t. However, he’s still Wolverine. That means he’s bound to attract the kind of danger that needs stabbing. Even in a remote part of Canada like this, that danger finds him and this is no exception. And who better to fuck with Old Man Logan’s reluctance to stab things than Lady Deathstrike? He may not be the same Wolverine she dedicated her life to killing, but I doubt she gives enough fucks to care. It’s another opportunity to maim and torment Wolverine. Like a free beer or lap dance from Emma Frost, who is going to turn that down? it awesome?

When a series like Old Man Logan sets the bar so fucking high, that’s a surprisingly hard question to ask. When that same series keeps fighting new ways to raise the bar and punch the guy raising it in the dick, it gets somewhat easier. Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino have made Old Man Logan the imported scotch of X-men comics and Old Man Logan #5 is just as smooth as all the previous issues, minus the dry heaves and hangovers. It once again ties Old Man Logan’s struggles in this world to the world he lost in the most meaningful, visceral way possible. He’s a different kind of Wolverine, but he’s still the Wolverine we know and love. Being a jaded old fuck just makes us love him more.

Final Score: 9 out of 10