What if Jeff Lemire had written Wolverine during each decade of the character’s publishing history? It looks like readers who have asked that question will get their answer beginning in this week’s Old Man Logan #21.
Old Man Logan #21 (Marvel Comics)
This issue kicks off the four-part “Past Lives” story arc, which will be Lemire’s Old Man Logan swan song (the series will continue with a new creative team). He will be missed. I’ve never been the biggest Wolverine fan, but boy (or maybe I should say "bub") have I become a fan of this older, wiser version of the character (Lemire’s take, not the quippy version we saw in X-Men: Gold #1).
It’s funny. Marvel is determined to tell X-Men stories that remind fans of the good old days. It’s almost as if Lemire received the mandate and decided the best way to go back would be to literally put Logan’s consciousness in past versions of his body (a la the X-Men: Days of Future Past film). No matter how this story came to be, I’m glad it exists–it’s nice to see classic Wolverine again.
Previously in Old Man Logan, our hero, determined to return to his own time so he could snatch the Hulk baby he abandoned and bring him back, turned to the magical supervillain Asmodeus to get him there. In his old age, Logan clearly forgot lesson No. 1 of being a superhero: Never trust a supervillain–it always ends in double-cross.
So while Logan was sent through time, he ended up on the Ontario/Manitoba border during the War of 1812, not in the Wastelands.
I feel like every writer has at least one Wolverine story in them, thanks to Logan’s lengthy–and mysterious–history. You can pretty much drop him into any historical event and you’ve got an instant, done-in-one story. It’s clearly fun for Lemire to reveal a time in 1812, when Logan was the Canadian government’s top assassin.
As Logan hops forward in time, we revisit two other iconic moments in the character’s history. It’s a bit of a bummer, though, as I’d prefer to see more unrevealed flashes of Logan’s life. I fear the moments in the next issues will be more a collection of Logan’s greatest hits. Or greatest stabs, I guess.
While I would have loved to see regular series artist Andrea Sorrentino pencil Lemire’s final arc, Eric Nguyen does a fine job on art duties. The stylized realism of Nguyen’s backdrops make the portion of this book that takes place in snowy Canada a treat to read. It’s like Logan was dropped into The Revenant.
Overall, Old Man Logan #21 and the “Past Lives” arc it kicks off is a cool treat for fans who need their classic Wolverine fix. Don’t worry, everybody, he’ll be back before you know it! And probably in more books than ever!