Reviews

Old, Gruff, and Gritty: Marvel's 'Old Man Logan #46'

Old Man Logan's time is running out, but rather than fight it, he makes every moment count.

Old Man Logan #46
Ed Brisson, Damian Couceiro

Marvel

22 Aug 2018

Other

It's not easy, watching a beloved friend or family member succumb to the ravages of age. It's an inescapable fact of life, and in the comics world, Wolverine is facing such challenges. He's not supposed to age, decline, or lose his sex appeal. This is a character that survived having the adamantium ripped from his bones by Magneto, endured multiple battles with Apocalypse, and kept his dignity after the Punisher ran him over with a steamroller. However, it's because he's not supposed to get old that Old Man Logan has such unique appeal.

He's a version of Wolverine who's losing his battle against the ravages of time. He can still heal, but he can't be the same hero as before. His body and his spirit just won't allow it. This new version of Logan/Wolveine is looking less and less capable of fighting with the vigor of days past.

Since taking over the series, Ed Brisson has been guiding Old Man Logan into the proverbial twilight of his story, and there's a growing sense that the end is near for him. The adamantium in his bones is poisoning him, so his clock is ticking faster than most.

Old Man Logan tells the story of aging well, and with Old Man Logan #46, Brisson takes him one step closer to the inevitable, but not before putting him in position to be the best there is at what he does. That includes Logan as Wolverine teaming up with old allies, such as Alpha Flight. It's one of Wolverine's oldest affiliations that doesn't involve clones or other living weapons. It's somewhat fitting because Alpha Flight prepared him for the X-men. Now, they're helping him prepare for his final days.

The tone of the story is not as somber as may at first seem. Old Man Logan is not necessarily broken up about his declining health. He's not dreading the dwindling time he has left or that the mainline version of Wolverine is coming back to take his space. Brisson presents Old Man Logan as a man resigned to his fate, but not in a way that feels grim. He's still Wolverine. He'll still throw himself into the middle of a battle and stab things as only he can.

It does, however, create a unique backdrop for the part of the story that requires fighting and claws. It's a fairly generic situation by Alpha Flight standards. There's a small town in Canada that has been overrun by some purple alien plant monster. Not much is known or revealed about it, but it gives Old Man Logan and Alpha Flight a reason to team up. It has the common themes of an old-school monster movie, complete with mysterious origins for the monster and brutal deaths for innocent townspeople.

By Wolverine standards, it's a typical Tuesday. However, a good chunk of the story is dedicated to reinforcing just how little time Old Man Logan has left. There's even one revealing scene between him and Puck where he reveals something that few versions of Wolverine would ever admit without the influence of powerful psychics.

It's not just that he can't heal and the adamantium in his body is killing him. He's tired. He knows that if he keeps fighting like a young man version of himself, people are going to get hurt, namely those he loves. He's at a point in his illustrious, brutal life where he's just ready to go. It's one of those things people expect old men to say, but not Logan.

Puck and the rest of Alpha Flight don't have a chance to respond, which is understandable when they're fighting an alien plant monster. Damian Couceiro manages to include some solemn reactions through a dark, but appropriate art style. There's a clear sense that Alpha Flight isn't just brushing Old Man Logan's dire condition off. They don't get an opportunity to confront him about it, and Old Man Logan makes clear that he doesn't want to talk about it.

This sentiment has a meaningful impact on the battle against the alien plant monster. Old Man Logan #46 isn't just Wolverine fighting another space monster with his fellow Canadian heroes. Brisson creates a predicament where every growl, slash, and grunt is pushing Old Man Logan closer to the brink. He can't win the day by just going into a berserker rage and stabbing everything with a feral grin on his face. He has to fight knowing that he's not going to heal from the wounds he incurs like he used to.

That makes Old Man Logan #46 and every subsequent issue more dramatic beyond the alien plant monsters. This isn't just another tease about a major hero dying and setting up a subsequent resurrection story. This is a character who is ready to die and doesn't want to come back. He wants to fight whatever battles he can before walking off into the light to rejoin his family. It's sad on some levels, but refreshingly real in a way that is atypical of superhero comics, especially those involving Wolverine.

There are many times in Logan's vast, convoluted history when his healing factor has been damaged and his ability to survive a battle are in question. However, Old Man Logan sets himself apart from his past by conceding to his vulnerabilities to some extent. There's no certainty that he'll heal from his condition because it has less to do with his powers and just more to do with the physical challenges facing the elderly. It's a solemn story, but it's not tragic. Old Man Logan is not done stabbing things just yet...

7

Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

'We're Not Here to Entertain' Is Not Here to Break the Cycle of Punk's Failures

Even as it irritates me, Kevin Mattson's We're Not Here to Entertain is worth reading because it has so much direct relevance to American punks operating today.

Film

Uncensored 'Native Son' (1951) Is True to Richard Wright's Work

Compared to the two film versions of Native Son in more recent times, the 1951 version more acutely captures the race-driven existential dread at the heart of Richard Wright's masterwork.

Music

3 Pairs of Boots Celebrate Wandering on "Everywhere I Go" (premiere)

3 Pairs of Boots are releasing Long Rider in January 2021. The record demonstrates the pair's unmistakable chemistry and honing of their Americana-driven sound, as evidenced by the single, "Everywhere I Go".

Books

'World War 3 Illustrated #51: The World We Are Fighting For'

World War 3 Illustrated #51 displays an eclectic range of artists united in their call to save democracy from rising fascism.

Music

Tiphanie Doucet's "You and I" Is an Exercise in Pastoral Poignancy (premiere)

French singer-songwriter Tiphanie Doucet gives a glimpse of her upcoming EP, Painted Blue, via the sublimely sentimental ode, "You and I".

Music

PM Picks Playlist 3: WEIRDO, Psychobuildings, Lili Pistorius

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of WEIRDO, Brooklyn chillwavers Psychobuildings, the clever alt-pop of Lili Pistorius, visceral post-punk from Sapphire Blues, Team Solo's ska-pop confection, and dubby beats from Ink Project.

By the Book

The Story of Life in 10 1/2 Species (excerpt)

If an alien visitor were to collect ten souvenir life forms to represent life on earth, which would they be? This excerpt of Marianne Taylor's The Story of Life in 10 and a Half Species explores in text and photos the tiny but powerful earthling, the virus.

Marianne Taylor
Film

Exploitation Shenanigans 'Test Tube Babies' and 'Guilty Parents' Contend with the Aftermath

As with so many of these movies about daughters who go astray, Test Tube Babies blames the uptight mothers who never told them about S-E-X. Meanwhile, Guilty Parents exploits poor impulse control and chorus girls showing their underwear.

Music

Deftones Pull a Late-Career Rabbit Out of a Hat with 'Ohms'

Twenty years removed from Deftones' debut album, the iconic alt-metal outfit gel more than ever and discover their poise on Ohms.

Music

Arcade Fire's Will Butler Personalizes History on 'Generations'

Arcade Fire's Will Butler creates bouncy, infectious rhythms and covers them with socially responsible, cerebral lyrics about American life past and present on Generations.

Film

What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .

Music

Thelonious Monk's Recently Unearthed 'Palo Alto' Is a Stellar Posthumous Live Set

With a backstory as exhilarating as the music itself, a Thelonious Monk concert recorded at a California high school in 1968 is a rare treat for jazz fans.

Music

Jonnine's 'Blue Hills' Is an Intimate Collection of Half-Awake Pop Songs

What sets experimental pop's Jonnine apart on Blue Hills is her attention to detail, her poetic lyricism, and the indelibly personal touch her sound bears.

Music

Renegade Connection's Gary Asquith Indulges in Creative Tension

From Renegade Soundwave to Renegade Connection, electronic legend Gary Asquith talks about how he continues to produce infectiously innovative music.

Music

A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.

Books

Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.

Music

PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.

Film

'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.