Graphic Novel Review: Marvel Premium Edition: Wolverine: Old Man Logan

Wolverine: Old Man Logan

Wolverine: Old Man Logan - Credit: Archant

(Panini Books)

It’s a classic Western trope. The retired gunslinger who vowed never to pick up his irons again is forced back in the saddle in order to complete a mercy mission, only to be forced to take up arms again anyway.

Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s acclaimed dystopian epic follows that theme, albeit in a devastated future world long after the fall of the superheroes.

Haunted by his past, the man who was once Wolverine is living a peaceful life with his family on a rundown farm in the Californian wasteland. But when the ruthless hillbilly Hulk Gang comes knocking for overdue rent, he reluctantly agrees to accompany an aged, blind Hawkeye on a road trip across the former United States on the promise of a debt-clearing payout at the end.

Unfortunately America is no longer the country it once was, and has not only been divided into disparate territories by the surviving supervillains, but great swathes of land are being swallowed up by the cannibalistic Moloids lurking deep beneath the surface.

It is a journey thwart with danger at every pass, but even if the unlikely duo make it to their final destination, will Logan still be in time to save his family (what do you think?) and what is the devastating truth behind his enforced retirement?

Perhaps more innovative at the time of its original release a decade ago, this self-contained mini-series certainly hasn’t lost any of its impact over the years, but like much of Millar’s work, relies largely on trying to shock readers with scenes of extreme violence, bloody evisceration and human depravity.

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It’s very much in the same vein as his run on The Ultimates, and the dark twists on established Marvel characters featured here owe much to that series, with the stand-out being the warped version of Bruce Banner who spawned the Hulk Gang.

McNiven’s detailed artwork is worth the entry fee alone, and contributes much more to the creation of this post-apocalyptic landscape than Miller’s script, adding a gritty realism to the narrative which owes much to the Mad Max franchise.

If you haven’t read it before, then this luxury format is probably the best way to enjoy one of the stand-out stories in Wolverine’s 44-year history.