You’d think by the time a fifth entry — and conclusion of an arc — comes around, the writer has finally been able to tie-up loose ends, fill in plot holes, and give an all around satisfying conclusion to a comic they’ve worked on for the past year or so (including initial creation of an idea, planning, etc.).
Thankfully, despite my concerns with Brian Michael Bendis’ revisitation of the classic Wolverine storyline Old Man Logan, he and his creative team have managed to pull everything together into what is probably the best entry in the short-lived series since issue #2.
At the end of issue #4, Logan was once again flung to a section of Battleworld that he was completely unfamiliar with and unsure of how to escape. Although the name of this specific region is never directly addressed, the location is pretty obvious. This is New York City, complete with The Daily Bugle, and what appears to be Avengers Tower, along with a number of other recognizable locales. Of course, being back in a city that Logan once thought lost forever, along with all the craziness of the past few days jumping between different strange and confusing locations, sends him into an existential crisis.
Every weird place he’s visited, every hardship he’s faced, every time he’s gotten the snot beat out of him, and every time he’s been faced with seeing his dead friends and teammates, leads up to a moment where Logan just loses it, screaming at the top of his lungs in pain. It makes you truly feel for this man, who once promised to never kill again because of what he was forced to do to his friends.
That brief reprieve from having to face more ghosts from his past is short lived, however, when he’s confronted by Emma Frost, a young Jean Grey, and almost every X-Men from his troubled past, who’ve gone underground to form a sort of resistance group to God Doom.
This isn’t just the X-Men from his universe, or the 616 universe; this is a group of X-Men from multiple parallel universes, including the Ultimate Universe, and the young X-Men that were displaced in time, most recently featured in the All-New X-Men series. How and why they got here is never explained, but one thing is certain: they all want to see Doom pay for what he’s done to their worlds.
Another great moment from this issue is when Logan is introduced to his son from the Ultimate Universe, James Hudson. While reluctant at first to accept this child he’s never known as his son, Logan is reminded by Frost of all he’s been through and how he should be grateful there’s a little light in his dark and troubled life. The emotions are so beautifully realized here, thanks to Andrea Sorrentino’s absolutely gorgeous full page splash, that shows a weeping Logan remembering all the sins and struggles of his past. It’s my favorite moment from the entire series mainly because it fully illustrates the humanity that’s been hidden away by Logan for so long and how it’s finally come to a head now that he’s seen his full-grown son.
This particular moment positively affected my opinion of Sorrentino’s skills as an artist; a notion I was unsure of in previous issues. I criticized his strange use of grid-pattern rectangles and how his character-based action could get lost in all of the line work and solid colors, but these problems don’t show their faces in Old Man Logan #5. Sorrentino uses his environments perfectly and gives Logan so much emotion in the panels where we see him grieving and completely broken. Marcelo Maiolo also seems to have held back on focusing solely on his red and yellow color pallet and made sure to incorporate greens, blues, and even stark white into his repertoire, giving the comic a beautiful variety of color and emotion fitting of the story.
Old Man Logan is going to be returning after “Secret Wars” is over, but as far as his role in the rest of the event, it’s still a mystery. Perhaps we’ll see him return at the end of “Secret Wars”, leading X-Men from the multiple universes into battle against Doom’s tyranny. I’m excited to see where this new, emotional, and very-much human Logan goes next.
Sidenote: If you’ve been reading this series hoping that Spider-Man will eventually show up, he never makes an appearance. Not even Ashley Barton is present to do some web-slinging alongside Old Man Logan. Given that the covers featured the Spider-characters we suspected they would show up, turns out that wasn’t the case. You fooled us again Marvel! (shakes fist at the sky… looks around awkwardly)
Old Man Logan #5 was the perfect way to conclude a series that had both amazing highs and disappointing lows. With more character development, and some truly heartbreaking moments, Bendis and team have managed to give this hardened version of Logan some much needed emotion.