Tie-ins are a tricky business in comic books. Sometimes, you’ll get mediocre entries that serve no purpose other than selling more books to hungry fans craving to get the “whole story.” These books lack any real impact on the big picture, and by the end of the series, leave fans feeling like they’ve wasted mountains of money. Other times, tie-ins can add depth to big events, not only increasing insight, but also giving fans truly great tales. If “Spider-Verse” taught us anything, the tie-ins can sometimes even overshadow the main events, and give us brand new characters that instantly become fan favorites.
What the team of Bendis, Sorrentino, and Maiolo is doing with Old Man Logan is quickly shaping up to be a must-read title for the already captivating, and brilliantly complex “Secret Wars” event. Bendis is known for writing witty, long-winded dialogue, but surprisingly in Old Man Logan #2, much of the story is left for the artists to tell. I may have criticized the art in last month’s Old Man Logan #1, but I’m pleased to say that I had no particular beef with it in this issue.
Many of the panels are absolute masterpieces, especially in the instances where Sorrentino and Maiolo are given full page spreads to work with. In the first full-page of this issue, one of the Thors discovers Logan crawling over the wall that divides the different kingdoms of Battleworld. The female Thor is shown hovering powerfully over Logan, against a fiery orange and red background. Combined with the dark shading and perspective, it truly gives a sense that the Thors of Battleworld are not to be taken lightly.
And when Logan is dropped off a cliff and into a dense jungle by the Thors blast, the incorporation of dark, lush greens are a beauty to behold. I especially liked Logan’s encounter with a tiger in the jungle, which forces him to become the predator before he becomes the prey.
His reluctance and genuine regret from killing the beast is a nod to the fact that this isn’t the bloodthirsty, animalistic Logan that is so typical of the character. This is a Logan that still feels the pain of the slaughter of his family, and the guilt of thinking he caused his fellow X-Men and Avengers to die at the hands of villains more than fifty years ago.
Aside from the art, Bendis tells a truly compelling story in this issue, something that he seems to be failing at in his other tie-in book. The main plot of the story – Logan searching for the answer to a mysterious disembodied Ultron head that fell in front of him in The Wasteland – is sidelined for a bit in this issue, but doesn’t veer too far off course. When you’re facing Thor, a vicious tiger, Sabretooth (who’s apparently a horsemen of Apocalypse now), and your dead X-Men family all in one issue, you can tend to forget about your noble quest.
What really makes this issue special is its connection to the upcoming Age of Apocalypse title, due to come out sometime in July. While other “Secret Wars” tie-ins seem to be more focused on telling their own story and are confined to their individual titles, this is the first one that seems to relish in attempting to connect the pieces of the larger picture together into one cohesive story.
With Logan now in the Domain of Apocalpyse, it could have real, lasting effects on how the rest of the tie-ins play out. I guarantee that his presence will play a part in the first issue of Age of Apocalypse. This book makes it apparent that no one other character has accomplished what Logan has; the female Thor even declares that what Logan has done was previously believed to be impossible.
Bendis tells enough of the story to get me interested, but holds back on all the important and juicy details, such as why the “Age of Apocalypse” era X-Men are so surprised to see him alive. He even hints that there is perhaps another Wolverine running around in this section of Battleworld. With his history in the original “Age of Apocalypse” arc, I would assume this section’s Wolverine is a horsemen of Apocalypse.
The only disappointment from this issue comes from the very misleading cover, which shows Old Man Logan facing off against his younger self. This meeting is completely absent from this issue, and the other Wolverine is only briefly mentioned in passing. I have high hopes that the next issue will bring this fight to life.
The issue ends on a very high note, showing the most stunning double page spread that I’ve ever seen. It’s something that I would pay good money to have recreated, and framed as a collector’s item on my bedroom wall. I’ve no doubt that this series will end up being one of the best of “Secret Wars.”