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Dec 26

Wastelanders: Wolverine #1

Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2021 by Paul in x-axis

by Steven S DeKnight, Ibrahim Moustafa & Neeraj Menson

This came out on December 15, but I forgot about it.

I forgot about it because, well, it’s one of a series of Wastelanders one-shots that shipped in December. And the others star Hawkeye, Dr Doom, Black Widow and Star-Lord, so even though Wastelanders is set in the world of “Old Man Logan”, I don’t regard them as X-books.

Although, it’s the Wastelands, and with the best will in the world, I really couldn’t care less. I’ve never found the Wastelands interesting, and I have no interest in reading sequels there. The whole post-apocalyptic vibe does nothing for me and feels like it’s been run into the ground. And “…but with the Marvel Universe” isn’t the twist needed to bring it to life. Plus, Mark Millar’s original story was a one-last-mission number, which doesn’t lend itself to endless sequels anyway. Taking the character out of context for the Old Man Logan series kind of worked, but just doing more Wastelands stuff… I don’t get it.

Let’s be fair, though – this issue is absolutely fine. It’s entirely decent. It has a simple story it wants to tell, it hits the key beats, it gets out of there. And Moustafa’s art is really good. I like the western feel; I like the fact that the ghost town has present-day cars littering it, to stop it feeling too disconnected from the present. And there’s a rather nicely done fight scene with a guy in adamantium armour, though I’m not sure we’re ever given a coherent reason beyond coincidence for Logan to meet him at all.

The story takes place shortly after “Old Man Logan”, and the hook is simple. Logan picked up the Hulk baby at the end of that story. He’s vacillating about whether he can trust the baby Hulk or whether the kid should just be quietly disposed of. But then they stumble into a fight with Banner himself, surviving as a severed head within a suit of armour, and the kid sides with Logan as his daddy. That’s … pretty much it.

The armoured Banner is a neat visual – I like the fact that the head still transforms from Banner to Hulk, and appreciate that the story doesn’t actually hammer that point. That aside, though, this feels like a very solid, quality rendering of a story that didn’t particularly need told. Maybe there’s something in the other Wastelanders stories that depends on Banner showing up here, and I wouldn’t rule that out. But reading it in isolation, what we have is a very straightforward plot in which baby Bruce’s loyalty is in doubt, but he rejects Bruce and chooses Logan. Which is a perfectly sensible line to take if your aim is to tie up that loose end, and it’s done with enough skill and pacing to stop it feeling quite as obvious as it is when you boil it down to a couple of lines.

Still, is it a story that really needed to be told? Millar obviously thought it went without saying that Logan would raise the kid as his own and, well, he was right, wasn’t he? So this feels like an issue spent, however skilfully, spelling out something that didn’t need to be said. It’s not a bad comic by any stretch of the imagination – what it does, it does really quite well. But it feels to me like a very unnecessary comic.

Bring on the comments

  1. The Other Michael says:

    And what’s more, we actually SAW baby Hulk grow up and join Old Man Logan (as the Hooded Man) as part of a time-traveling future Defenders, during Millar’s run on the Fantastic Four.

    So, alternate future timeline nonsense aside, we already knew that Logan would keep Banner Jr and raise him as his own.

    The entire expanded “Old Man…” universe really is such a weird expansion of a “all the heroes are dead, the villains won, everything sucks, Logan will come out of retirement to stab people” concept. Once you reveal all the OTHER non-dead heroes running around in the cracks and crevices of the premise… But Marvel (and DC) have never found an alternate timeline or future idea they weren’t willing to revisit and squeeze every drop from.

  2. Chris says:

    This sounds like the set-up to FALCON ABD WINTER SOLDIER only it’s a midquel to material that was released over ten years ago.

    I liked Banner Jr and couldn’t buy into the Hooded Man defeating Johnny Storm.

  3. Chris V says:

    I can’t wait for Marvel’s decision to create expanded universes for Moira’s past lives and the alternate future of Life Ten.

  4. Bengt Strand says:

    Chris 5: While Hickman tries to hammer home that Moira’s power rewinds the main timeline or something, that goes against how timetravel/multiverse generally works at Marvel. So I’ve taken it as a given that other writers will have characters visit her various lives, it will just take a couple of years before it starts. 😐

  5. Adam says:

    No doubt someone has said it before—maybe even me—but asking whether a story *needed* telling seems like it sets far too high a bar for pulp fiction. Far more fair to extol the minority of books that do successfully wring a new meaning or angle out of these properties.

  6. ASV says:

    Coming in 2026: Crisis of X Moiras! A 57-part event in which ten mostly indistinguishable versions of the Marvel universe are smooshed together by, oh, let’s say, Magik and some surprise refugee from the Age of Apocalypse.

  7. Chris V says:

    At the end of the event, Marvel will bring the Moira of Life Two to Earth-616 before she dies in a plane crash, but they’ll reveal that this Moira is an evil Moira.
    She’ll become known as Dark Moira.

    At some point, they’ll feature a series starring the Logan of Life Six on Earth-616 called the Immortal Wolverine.

  8. Allan M says:

    The one benefit of these weirdly long-lived alternate dystopian universes is that they run out of A-listers to kill immediately, so the longer they run the more obscure the cast gets. Old Man Hawkeye is an epilogue to Busiek’s Thunderbolts and Fraction’s Hawkeye at the same time, somehow. And Marvel Zombies brought back Jack of Hearts in mainline continuity in its sixth or seventh miniseries.

  9. Loz says:

    There seems to be a sweet spot in sale figures which aren’t good enough to stop a title getting cancelled early (every post- Fraction/Aja incarnation of Hawkeye) but are good enough to make Marvel/DC think “Hey, let’s try another Hawkeye/Minor DC character miniseries!” and then have to cancel it again.

    Old Man Logan is Marvel’s version of The Dark Knight, the whole point of the original story being the character’s last story is completely forgotten. But I thought OML did actually finally die when they sent him back to his shitty future so they could bring Original Wolverine back?

  10. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    He did. This oneshot is set earlier in the story…

    …oh,and also Old Man Logan who ran with Extraordinary X-Men and had his own ongoing wasn’t the same Old Man Logan as in the Millar story.

  11. Dave says:

    There isn’t actually any reason to not have Moira’s other lives as AUs. There’ll be many other Marvel Earths where Moira exists and has similar lives to the ones we’ve seen.

  12. The Other Michael says:

    Just wait until they actually do a series of one-shots or minis that further explore Moira’s other lives, then. Maybe What Ifs to flesh out the ones that are only briefly touched upon in the original HOX/POX.

    It’ll be a whole thing. *shoves concept into juicer…*

  13. BringTheNoise says:

    So, are the podcasts that these comics theoretically exist to promote mentioned at all?

  14. NS says:

    It’s so odd that Wastlanders: Star Lord managed to be more x-heavy than this book. Many x-characters show up as Peter Quill stops by the mansion to reminiscence and has to overcome a major x-villain. Weird.

  15. Bloodredcookie says:

    I love how, despite the premise
    From OML being that all the superheroes are dead, every time we revisit the timeline there’s another superhero who’s alive and well. After a while we start to wonder if anyone died at all. (See also survivors of order 66 in the old Star wars eu)

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