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May 6

Dead Man Logan #1-6 – “Sins of the Father”

Posted on Monday, May 6, 2019 by Paul in x-axis

So here’s another one which I figured was meant to be a twelve parter – why make it a miniseries otherwise, after all?  But no, issue #7 is apparently “Welcome Back, Logan” part 1, so this is indeed a six-part story.

Unlike Uncanny, though, these six issues actually do seem to be a separate story.  If anything, the question is why the final two arcs of Old Man Logan have been hived off into a miniseries, beyond the obvious point that it provides an excuse for another issue #1.  Which is probably the only reason you need.  The unifying theme, as you might expect, is simply that this is the series ending.  So the first half is Logan tying up the last loose end from present day earth, and the second half is his return to the Wastelands.

That loose end is Mysterio.  Mark Millar’s original “Old Man Logan” story has Logan giving up as a superhero after Mysterio’s illusions trick him into killing the other X-Men.  On one level this is totally random – since when is Mysterio a Wolverine villain?  But there’s a certain logic to it as well.  Logan is all about the senses; psychic illusions have been done to death in the X-books; so a physical illusionist like Mysterio makes a kind of sense as something to shake Logan’s faith in himself.

But, after fifty issues of an ongoing Old Man Logan title, they never got round to Mysterio.  They must have been saving him until last.  And this is the story where Logan tries to clear up that one loose end by going after his supposed nemesis.

You can probably see where this story could have got into trouble.  Mysterio may be an arch-enemy in Logan’s mind, but the Mysterio of the present day has no history with him at all.  He’s not even an A-list Spider-Man villain these days.  The last time he was seen was in Scarlet Spider, when he was trying to retire to Las Vegas or something.  But Ed Brisson turns all that to his advantage by making it the plot.  Logan is after Mysterio for revenge (for something he hasn’t done yet and doesn’t particularly want to do), while other bad guys who’ve got wind of what happened in the Wastelands timeline figure that maybe Mysterio could be useful to them after all.  And poor C-list Mysterio is stuck in the middle.

The art is lovely.  Mike Henderson previously drew a Deadpool/Old Man Logan series which was worth picking up just to look at.  This series doesn’t have quite the same delicacy, but it’s still very strong work.  Old Man Logan had a tendency to go for vaguely unconventional art that took itself very seriously, and Henderson isn’t particularly in keeping with the style of the book, but I’d much rather have the book play as bright and as full of character as this.  For a book about the title character’s last days, this is pleasantly spring-like.  And Mysterio is beautifully handled – it takes advantage of the blankness of the classic character design but manages to hold on to the idea that the guy inside the costume is trying to bluff his way out of trouble.  Henderson is really good at bringing life to overfamiliar designs, and hopefully he’ll do more for the X-books.

Brisson’s script complicates matters a little further by bringing in, as the A-listers, the unlikely combination of Miss Sinister and the Red Skull’s daughter Sin, now leading a woefully derivative group that she calls Neo-Hydra – not because the script lacks ideas, but because she does.  Generally speaking, I’m not a huge fan of either villain; Sin is overshadowed by the Skull, while Miss Sinister is badly in need of someone to restate what she’s all about.  When she was first created, there was some notion about her being a woman whose personality had been overwritten as a Mr Sinister back-up, but she’s drifted into being a generic second Mr Sinister, who does much the same things without having any very defined motivation.  And that’s not really enough.

Dead Man Logan doesn’t address those problems, but it does make the characters work by playing up their rapport: Sinister wants to embark on a carefully calculated re-enactment of the villain uprising that worked so well in Logan’s timeline, needs to recruit allies, and doesn’t take long to conclude that she’s thrown in her lot with a bunch of amateurish morons.  Sin certainly isn’t doing the grand plan any favours, but then she seems more like a nihilist child who enjoys playing with her toys than a villain who’s actually trying to achieve anything beyond self-amusement.  These two are singularly unsuited to be in the same room, let alone trying to work as a team, and the book gets plenty of material out of that, while poor Mysterio tries to walk the tightrope between not getting killed by either of them.

Issue #6 isn’t technically part of the storyline; it’s an interlude/epilogue issue where Logan finally gets to meet the returned Wolverine before leaving for his own timeline.  Given the way things have worked out, it makes sense to do that meeting, and it allows for a little more closure by having the older Logan try to pass on some advice to his younger counterpart.

Given the title, and the history of Old Man Logan, you might well expect his closing arcs to be something of a dirge, but this is surprisingly good fun.  It’s a romp through the Marvel Universe, and a great send-off.

Bring on the comments

  1. wwk5d says:

    “He’s not even an A-list Spider-Man villain these days.”

    Not to spoil anything for anyone, but that could change within the next few months…

  2. Taibak says:

    Logan is dead. Long live Logan.

  3. Ben says:

    Yeah this was pretty good.

    Looking forward to Frankenstein cyborg Sabertooth.

  4. Brendan says:

    Old Man Logan is a missed opportunity. Knowing this Logan had a limited shelf life, someone could have really done a proper story arch with an endgame in mind from the start.

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