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Following two issues of torment, Old Man Logan comes face to face with the cause of his pain … Jean Grey?

Old Man Logan #18 (Marvel Comics)

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No, young Jean Grey hasn’t been possessed by the Phoenix (phew), but she has fallen under the dark sway of the Brood in Old Man Logan #18. As many readers surely deduced as soon as the Jean twist was revealed, Logan never returned to the Wastelands. It was all in his head and made to feel quite real because of her incredible psychic powers.

Disappointed? I wouldn’t be. I’m not so sure writer Jeff Lemire would drop bits and pieces of information throughout this story arc if they were meant to be swept under the rug. We’ll see, because as anyone who reads Marvel’s advance solicitations knows, Old Man Logan’s time in the present is far from over.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. If you’ve been enjoying what Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino have been doing with Old Man Logan, you’ll be pleased with #18. Sorrentino, especially, draws an incredibly mind-bending space epic. There’s some brutal imagery in this issue, from a pile of bloody X-Men bodies to the Hulk’s fully grown grandson sitting atop a throne of bones and skulls. Did I mention Logan’s deceased family standing in a river of blood?

This series is not for the weak of heart, which is ironic, because it’s full of heart! Wolverine has always been a softie deep down, so would you expect anything less from an aged version of the character? One of the most interesting elements of Lemire’s time in the X-universe has been his use of the age difference between Old Man Logan and young Jean to give them a relationship that’s nothing like what we’ve seen between them before. Yes, Wolverine’s great love is now the latest in a long line of young female proteges. The lesson – there are many ways for two people to form a bond with one another.OML2016018_int_LR2 3It’s also nice to see Old Man Logan can’t shake his guilt over killing the X-Men in his own timeline. Far too often, we’ve seen Wolverine mow down armies of adversaries with little regret. Lemire won’t let Logan forget the sins of his past, and it always makes for a more compelling read.

While it’s easy to praise Lemire and Sorrentino’s work on this issue, this month’s MVP may just be color artist Marcelo Maiolo. The pink-purple psychic energy crackling around Jean, the dry heat of the Wasteland and the horror of reaching into the Brood’s hive mind wouldn’t be quite as powerful without Maiolo’s touch.

Wolverine’s return is inevitable. Once he’s back, I sincerely hope the tales Lemire and his artistic collaborators told across Old Man Logan aren’t soon forgotten. Who would have thought the best way to freshen up Wolverine would be to make him old?

Old Man Logan #18 Review
This creative team crackles with collaborative energyJeff Lemire just gets Old Man Logan
Jean Grey needs to do a better job of not turning evil so often
9.5Great
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10.0