RSS Feed
Sep 7

Old Man Logan Annual #1

Posted on Friday, September 7, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

The Old Man Logan Annual may be by regular writer Ed Brisson, but it doesn’t tie in with anything in the regular series.  Instead, it’s time for a flashback to the Wastelands and a backdoor pilot for Old Man Punisher.  Being a Mark Millar creation, the Wastelands are not subtle; the original idea was that it’s a post-apocalyptic world where the villains are in charge of whatever’s left.  This story kind of goes with that, in as much as there’s a gang running around inspired by the Punisher, but it’s really more drifting off into Mad Max territory.

The Punishers seem to be some sort of religious cult built around the Punisher’s War Journal (when was the last time anyone mentioned that thing?), or at least they tolerate having a religious nut hanging around with them – it’s not altogether clear.  With the Hulk Gang cleared out of the way by Logan, there’s nobody keeping any sort of order, and so the Punishers are running around just causing all manner of chaos.

Logan goes after them, gets shot, and winds up being rescued by the real (and very elderly) Punisher, who is very annoyed about the ruining of his good name by these people, but much more annoyed about them stealing his journal, particularly given the state of his memory these days.  Logan and Punisher team up to destroy the Punisher gang, and much shooting ensues.  It all looks pretty energetic, and Simone Di Meo is an artist who actually makes the old characters look old, instead of just drawing them the same as normal and hoping the colourist remembers to give them grey hair.

There’s a nod towards a bigger idea here, that the Punishers are justly aggrieved by inheriting a ruined world from a generation like Logan and Frank Castle who had a better world and let it go.  The idea seems to be that the Punishers are out to punish the entire generation that ruined the world for everyone.  Trouble it, that’s an environmental parable, where you could blame the whole generation.  The Wastelands back story doesn’t lend itself to that, because it wasn’t the fault of a whole generation; the bad guys got there first.  Plus, the religious cult angle feels tacked on, since only one member of the group actually seems to be paying attention to it.

The end of the story goes off in a different direction, with Frank Castle going out semi-heroically on his own terms and Logan lamenting the way the kids persist in trying to keep his generation’s legacy alive.  I guess the idea – which is in character, at least – is that he agrees that his heroic age came to ashes and sees that as its only real legacy.  Is that particularly interesting to me?  Not especially, no.

There’s a back-up story by Ryan Cady and Hayden Sherman, with a younger (but still Wastelands-era) Punisher encountering the War Machines, who are basically a bunch of crackpots trying to re-establish order by emulating SHIELD.  This really does read like pilot material – it ends by teasing a fight with the War Machines’ leader – but there are some vaguely interesting ideas in here.  This Punisher is more of a nihilist, seeing his war (and everything else) as finished, and mainly just wanting to hole up in his battle van with what appear to be the retrieved corpses of his family.  He’s a stark raving mad survivalist, in other words.

Sherman’s blocky, angular, grimy-looking art is a good fit for this, with Punisher as an imposing slab of black on the page.  Visually, this is a genuinely interesting few pages; it’s more urban dystopia than Wastelands, with an action scene compressed into a 4×4 grid page, but it’s full of detail and character.

My interest in post-apocalyptic stories of any stripe has never been high, so this Annual was never going to do much for me.  Still, as these things go, it’s okay.

Bring on the comments

  1. Si says:

    So The Punisher, whos entire raison d’être is “kill bad guys”, sees bad guys take over the world and just says “well, my work here is done”?

    Though all this does make me hopeful that we’ll see Old Man Invisible Woman soon. Or not see, as the case may be.

  2. Chris V says:

    Yep. I love Garth Ennis’ Punisher: The End one-shot. That’s probably my favourite Punisher story ever.
    That’s the premise of the Punisher, and the end of “his war”, done correctly.

Leave a Reply