Friday, July 29, 2016

Old Man Logan #9: Nuff Said!

Self-fulfilling prophecies are like do-it-yourself vasectomy kits. They're bad ideas that get compounded by idiots, assholes, or a combination of the two. They may lead to the expected result. It just tends to get messy as hell and twice as ugly.

Old Man Logan is a walking self-fulfilling prophecy, albeit the awesome kind. Since he showed up in the mainline Marvel Universe, his primary concern is NOT being the guy who slaughters all the heroes and hands everything to the villains on an adamantium platter. So far, he has managed to avoid killing any of his friends. Then again, he hasn't caught up with Deadpool yet so there's still time. Jeff Lemire has done a masterful job exploring this struggle and Andrea Sorrentino has been equally masterful at crafting succulent eye-candy. That struggle continues in Old Man Logan #9 and I'll just say my eyes are hungry.

That said, Old Man Logan is more thirsty than hungry. He decides to take a trip to Japan in his old Patch persona to get a drink. I figure Limbo doesn't have a lot of decent beer. That's what makes it hellish I guess. So who can blame him for heading to his old stomping ground, using a persona that probably got him laid by a lot of women with pirate fetishes?

It's not just the beer he's there for. He actually has another reason for being in Japan and it involves Lady Deathstrike, the woman who went to great lengths to try to kill him and his future AU wife. Even if he's trying not to kill too many people in this world, who can blame him for not wanting to kill Lady Deathstrike? At some point, her fucked up sense of honor just gets old.

He meets up with a source. Everything seems to be business as usual. Then, a bunch of guys with machine guns show up and try to shoot Old Man Logan to death. If you think that escalated quickly, then you clearly haven't read enough Wolverine comics. Hell, any trip to a bar that doesn't end with him getting shot by machine guns is the equivalent of a slow news day for him. So it's not like this is more shocking than the Lost finale.

It also has a fairly predictable result. Shooting Wolverine with machine guns is like giving Deadpool free tacos and a rocket launcher. It's not going to end well for anyone within a 500-foot radius. While some will rightly shit their pants in terror, I simply open a fresh beer and pop some fresh popcorn because I know there's going to be awesome show.

Once again, Andrea Sorrentino's art does not disappoint. The bloody brutality that follows is glorious and gory. A pissed off Old Man Logan and a bunch of gun-toting thugs who think it's okay to shoot people before they finish their beer makes for all kinds of brutal fun. Like chocolate cake and masturbation, seeing Old Man Logan tear into a bunch of thugs in the most brutal way possible never gets old.

There is some utility to this brutality as well and it's not just to exact justice on those who ruin a perfectly good beer. Old Man Logan finds out these thugs were sent by lady Deathstrike and the Reavers. They thought they were just sending a message to a frail old man. They learn the hard way that Old Man Logan kicks as at any age. He's just more grouchy about it. So while he does lose his beer, he does gain valuable information about Deathstrike. So I guess it's a half-win because he still lost his beer.

As we've seen in previous issues, Lemire mixes Old Man Logan's bloody escapades in the mainline comics with insights into life in his dystopian clusterfuck of a timeline. It usually makes for some pretty distressing flashbacks. This time, however, it's not quite as distressing. Instead, we see Old Man Logan and his wife Maureen, snuggling together in bed for some much-needed sexy time. It's a sweet moment in a world that probably doesn't have many of them. It's also a reminder that while Old Man Logan is badass as hell, he still went through a softening period where he tried to be with a woman and not have her die on him. It's ambitious, but sweet.

Naturally, this sweetness doesn't last. They're still in a shitty timeline where the heroes are dead and the villains are taking a giant shit on all that is good in the world every chance they get. That includes Crimson Dynamo, who ruins Old Man Logan and Maureen's sexy time, forcing them to go on the run. It's sad, but sadly typical of Old Man Logan's shitty world.

It leads to another powerful moment that further establishes the fucked up context of Old Man Logan's timeline. Normally, when some asshole is fucking up his world and smiling like a stoner in a Twinkie factory, he pops his claws and does something about it. However, in this world, those same claws killed his friends so he's kind of burned out on violence. He says he's not going to pop them again so he doesn't. He just decides to run. He has a beautiful woman that lets him see her naked and he's trying not to get her killed for once. Who can blame him?

Old Man Logan may be okay with ditching the violence, having had more than his share for a dozen lifetimes, but Maureen is a bit more jaded. She's okay with running. She knows that fighting assholes like Crimson Dynamo isn't a very safe or smart recourse in a dystopian timeline. She still wants to create a life that involves more than just running every time some psycho villain interrupts her post-sex afterglow. Old Man Logan understands and comes up with the bright idea to leave the country to find some place that might not be as fucked. Like giving Josh Trank permission to direct a superhero movie, it seems like a good idea at the time.

Back in the present, I can't say that going right after Lady Deathstrike seems like a good idea. This is a woman who probably pleasures herself to the idea of Wolverine being tortured in Hell every night. She uses armed thugs to send a message because I guess email just doesn't cut it anymore. He has to know on some levels that going right after her is going to get messy. That's why it's so damn surprising when he finds her chained up, wounded, and looking like someone who lost one too many bar bets at a Tijuana S&M club.

I'm serious. I really am surprised by this. Lady Deathstrike seemed so ready and eager to peel off Old Man Logan's skin and turn it into a thong bikini. Now, she's bloodied, chained up, and begging for his help. It's a pretty major turn, especially for a woman who is used to being on the other end of the chains. Even if she did lose one too many bar bets, I can't imagine that Old Man Logan has too much sympathy for her.

It's not the first time Old Man Logan has dealt with some fucked up welcomings and it given his knack for creating blood stains in bars, it won't be the last. Flash back to his shitty timeline again and he arrives in Japan with Maureen. Surely a country better known for anime porn than superheroes is safer from the villains? Well, it all seems pristine at first. Then, the ninjas show up.

Again, that's not as big a non-sequiter as it seems. Like getting shot in a bar, Wolverine has an uncanny ability to attract ninjas intent on killing him. He could be eating sushi, taking a shit, or doing karaoke. Somehow, ninjas will find a way to attack him. These guys call themselves the Silent Order. For Old Man Logan though, I imagine if you see one hostile ninja, you've seen them all.

How does this tie into his current issue with Lady Deathstrike? Well, just like in his timeline, he tends to attract ninja attacks. The difference here is it's only one ninja, but he also claims to be from the Silent Order. He's also smart enough to be armed with poisoned arrows, which are a lot more effective than bullets. This guy works smart, not hard. That alone makes him more menacing than Lady Deathstrike, even if he doesn't look as good in a bikini. it awesome?

It's Wolverine in Japan kicking ass, getting shot, getting blown up, and kicking more ass, in that exact order no less. Lemire and Sorrentino continue their tradition of exploring Old Man Logan's craptacular dystopian world while he tries to prevent this world from becoming equally craptacutlar. It leads to moments that are a perfect mix of bloody as hell and beautifully sentimental. Like chocolate and bacon, it's an unexpected yet beautiful combination. Throw in an unexpected twist with Lady Deathstrike and the intrigue here just gets better. Even if self-fulfilling prophecies tend to get Old Man Logan shot at lot, it's still as entertaining as ever.

Final Score: 9 out of 10


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