Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Old Man Logan #11: Nuff Said!

I'm convinced that at least half of the villains in comics are more suicidal than crazy. Seriously, who picks a fight with the Hulk, Iron Man, and Captain America without having a death wish of some sorts? For those who pick a fight with Wolverine, I'd say they've taken several steps beyond suicidal. I think they've entered in this twisted death fetish territory that even the most depraved forms of German porn would never entertain.

One might think that picking a fight with an older, grayer, crankier version of Wolverine would be safer. I'd argue that's even more fucked up because it means they're just fighting a version of Wolverine who gives far fewer fucks. That's the only way I can make sense of Sohei and the Silent Order, who are the latest deranged ninjas with a death wish. They spent the last issue giving Old Man Logan a lot of reasons to honor their death wish. Old Man Logan #11 gives him a chance to make use of those reasons. I don't usually encourage these kinds of death wishes, but let's face it. These motherfuckers are asking for it.

They spent last issue kicking Old Man Logan down a well because they seem to think pissing him off is a good strategy for some reason. Yeah, these fuckers have that big a death wish. There's none of that throw-a-man-in-a-well-and-see-what-happens shit here. Old Man Logan is good and pissed now. That means everyone in the Silent Order is about to have their death wish granted, which I guess makes Old Man Logan their new favorite genie not voiced by Robin Williams.

I know I say this with every review, but some shit is worth repeating beyond the point of annoyance. Andrea Sorrentino's art is perfect for this kind of reckless, bloody brutality. Granted, this fight isn't nearly as brutal as some of the other insanely violent shit this series has shown, but that's like saying a Playboy centerfold's breasts aren't as big as Pam Anderson's. It's a matter of scope and context is what I'm saying.

The brutality is there. The blood is there. It's still not enough for Old Man Logan's taste though. Sure, beating the shit out of ninjas is like masturbation. It never gets old. At his age, though, he sometimes needs help and there aren't any pills that can help him at this point, although I'm sure Pfizer is working on something as I write this. So Old Man Logan does the next best thing. He frees Lady Deathstrike, who the Silent Order used as bait.

Understandably, Lady Deathstrike hates being bait. She hates it more than she hates Logan so she willingly teams up with him to beat the shit out of a bunch of ninjas. That, or she's just really horny. I really can't tell with her. It's actually a bigger deal than simply lending a hand because just a few issues back, Lady Deathstrike tried to hunt down Old Man Logan and kill him, as she tends to do with any version of Wolverine. Now, she's helping him kick the shit out of ninjas. Not saying this counts as an olive branch or anything, but there's just something wonderfully fitting about that.

As this series has done so effectively before, it mixes the brutality of the present with the dystopian shit storm of the past, primarily in Old Man Logan's world. We got another glimpse into that past in the previous issue when Old Man Logan tried to get his new wife, Maureen, away from supervillain shit storm he inadvertently helped create. So they try to hide out in Japan and then ninjas attack. That's basically how every one of Logan's trips to Japan have gone since the Frank Miller/Chris Claremont era. You really expected it to be different?

On this latest ill-advised trip, he clashes with his world's version of the Silent Order. It's not much different than the mainline Marvel universe's version. They still have a fucked up death wish. To his credit, Old Man Logan restrains the natural urge to maim ninjas so the Silent Order captures him. He then meets their creepy bald leader, who reminds me too much of Leslie Chow from the Hangover movies. He's about as intimidating shaved squirrel, but he seems to have a fondness for collecting artifacts from dead heroes so you know he's got to get his ass kicked.

The Mr. Chow wannabe also happens to have superpowers because I guess that's a prerequisite for a secret order of ninjas. Those powers involve reading minds and since he doesn't have red hair, I guess that means Old Man Logan won't be inclined to fuck him. The feeling ends up being mutual because when the guy reads Old Man Logan's mind, he sees just how much he fucked himself over.

It makes for a nice little montage of how shit played out for Old Man Logan in his world. It really isn't all that different from anyone who followed Wolverine up to 2005, that special time when nobody took Donald Trump seriously and nobody had seen Anthony Weiner's penis. The only difference is he ended up slaughtering every hero in the Marvel universe.

That's right. He killed every one of Earth's mightiest heroes. Does this guy really think a bunch of ninjas will protect him? Now he knows just how fucked he is. It's just a matter of Old Man Logan making sure Maureen isn't scarred for life by the brutality that follows.

That brutality of the past perfectly mirrors the brutality we get in the present. The same secret order of ninjas still think they can take down a guy who butchered every hero in the Marvel universe. Maybe they really think they can, but can they do that and deal with a pissed off Lady Deathstrike? Again, there are death wishes and then there's just plain fucking stupid.

The brutality and blood is still as entertaining as ever. This time, Lady Deathstrike gets a chance to be obscenely brutal and for once, I can't help but cheer her on. It's usually hard to cheer for a murdering female cyborg who isn't a character in anime porn. Lady Deathstrike makes it easier here, once again reminding the Silent Order that she doesn't like being bait and she likes stabbing those who don't respect her preferences. She's almost a feminist icon in this context when you think about it.

Feminists should probably keep their panties on though. While Lady Deathstrike does get her chance to maim a bunch of men who don't respect her, Sohei still ends up kicking her ass so I guess those same feminists can go back to protesting the evils of the patriarchy. While this is probably going to get my balls busted by some radical types, this is kind of necessary for the story. Sohei only used Deathstrike to get to Old Man Logan. That's who he wants to fight. That's who he wants to have deliver his death wish. The man has his preferences too. Do they not deserve respect as well?

I think both genders can respect the added brutality that follows. Whereas the earlier brutality was all about quantity, thanks to hordes of ninjas, this round is all about quality. It's Sohei versus Old Man Logan, a creepy masked ninja type versus a guy who stabs those types to death. It's not quite as lopsided as it sounds. Sohei is fighting a somewhat dated version of Logan here so he gets in a few shots. That still doesn't do much other than piss Old Man Logan off even more. I guess if he really does have a death wish, this is just a better way of ensuring it. You can say a lot about creepy ninja types like him, but you can't say he does shit half-assed.

As fun and as brutal as this fight is, Jeff Lemire actually goes the extra distance as well to make clear he isn't half-assing this either. During the gloriously brutal battle, Sohei reveals something that's been overlooked to this point, namely why the fuck the Silent Order went out of their way to lure in Old Man Logan in the first place. It's not just because they have a fucked up death wish. These guys have other reasons it seems, although at this point, they're probably secondary.

Sohei claims that the Silent Order has monks who can see the future of their organization. It's like having spoilers before going into a Star Wars movie. It ensures they won't be too shocked or disappointed by what they encounter, even if it does make shit more bland. However, in addition to all sorts of movie spoilers, these same monks foresee the glorious rise of their organization being interrupted by Old Man Logan. Then again, does it really take much foresight to sense that Old Man Logan will instinctively maim any ninja organization that grows too powerful?

While it's not exactly an Akira Kurasowa film, it does provide some context for the Silent Order. They're not just a band of generic ninjas that can't help but put themselves in front of Wolverine's claws. They do actually have an agenda, which is more than 85 percent of most stories involving ninjas can claim. It's a nice bonus that really shouldn't be a bonus in the first place, but it works in that it makes Old Man Logan's desire to stab ninjas a bit more reasonable.

With this knowledge in mind, Sohei does his best to take down Old Man Logan. We also see in a few quick flashbacks that he fails miserably in Old Man Logan's world and he didn't even have Lady Deathstrike's help in that world. So what hope does he have here? The battle starts getting a bit more lopsided until that creepy Mr. Chow guy shows up again. Apparently, he exists in this world too. Except at this point, he's younger, shorter, and a lot more creepier. It's really the only way to make creepy bald men more creepier. Turn them into equally creepy children. Why else would they have made multiple sequels to Children of the Corn? it awesome?

It has Old Man Logan fighting ninjas in both the present and the past in the bloodiest, most brutal way possible. How can that NOT be awesome? Seriously, you'd have to exercise Cleveland Brown level incompetence to fuck that up. Jeff Lemire doesn't make that effort in Old Man Logan #11. He just has Old Man Logan beat the shit out of a bunch of ninjas, granting them their bullshit death wish in the process. It's both badass and polite when you think about it.

It's not all mindless brutality either, although that certainly doesn't hurt. Lemire actually goes out of his way to give some depth to the Silent Order. He stops short of crafting a story on par with a Final Fantasy game, but it at least gives a valid reason for Sohei wanting to kill Old Man Logan, even if that reason doesn't make it any less a death wish. Valid reasons are rare in a story full of rampant bloody brutality. They're not always necessary, but then again icing isn't always necessary on a brownie. It just makes something that's already awesome even better. For a series like Old Man Logan, that's saying something.

Final Score: 8 out of 10


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