If you’re looking for a comic about an old, battle-worn Wolverine fighting hordes of zombies, who at every claw-slash and throat stab become more overwhelming, then Old Man Logan #4 should fit the bill. Ignore the fact that throughout three previous issues, Logan has been domain hopping through Battleworld, encountering peril at every turn, and getting his butt thoroughly kicked along the way in pursuit of the answers behind a mysterious Ultron head that fell from the sky. All of those details seem kind of moot at this point.
In fact, I couldn’t help but think, while reading Old Man Logan #4, that this entire series would be vastly superior, more interesting, and a much more cohesive story if writer Brian Michael Bendis would’ve made the entire series take place in the zombie realm of Battleworld.
That’s the main problem with where this has ended up. I was on board completely with the first two issues. Having Logan discover the Wall that separates his domain from the rest of Battleworld, and then climbing over to explore what lies on the other side, seemed to set up a series that would have much more impact on the grand scope of “Secret Wars.” In the second issue, Logan came face-to-face with his deceased teammates from the X-Men, in the domain of Apocalypse, and established a scenario which had the potential to explore some great character moments that referenced the original “Old Man Logan” story. Logan could confront his feelings of overwhelming guilt and finally apologize to the alternate reality versions of the heroes he unwittingly killed in his reality.
Once I figured out that Bendis and team had decided to make this series not about the exploration of cause and effect on Logan’s soul, but rather just pile in a bunch of action, it all started going downhill. There’s no real weight to anything that Logan’s doing. Why should I, as the reader, care about his journey from domain to domain, if there’s no real impact on the rest of Battleworld or on his character? There’s barely any time for him to make connections with any other characters.
At the end of issue #3, Logan was banished to The Deadlands, where zombies rule and no life can be found. Here Logan is forced to fend off massive hordes of zombies, but eventually gets some help from She-Hulk, who’s also been banished there. In the same pattern we’ve seen in the previous issues, Logan once again escapes, thanks to a She-Hulk fastball special, and arrives in what appears to be one of the many versions of New York City that are scattered throughout Battleworld (judging by the Battleworld map, it’s possible this is Perfection, the domain in which Ultron defeated the Avengers and founded his perfect Earth, free from mankind).
Despite the fact that this series as a whole has been a letdown, that’s not to say that this issue wasn’t enjoyable. Anytime you’ve got a comic where Logan can kill things without consequence (ya know, ‘cause they’re already dead) is a good one. Andrea Sorrentino’s art has been sort of hit-or-miss for me, but it works the best in this issue. Sorrentino fills each page to the brim with action, and Marcelo Maiolo’s signature style of dark reds, yellows and oranges fits perfectly into the zombie apocalypse setting, adding an elevated sense of doom (praise be unto him) to the story. Blood and guts criss-cross panels throughout this issue, so this is definitely not a comic for the kiddos. But damn if those blood spurts don’t look amazing.
The places that make me scratch my head are when Sorrentino chooses to segment his full page spreads with a grid-pattern of rectangles. This is especially irritating on the opening pages, where there’s a beautifully illustrated two-page spread, that is quickly diminished by the choice to use that grid pattern across the two pages. I’m not sure what the thinking behind that art choice was, but it definitely keeps me from appreciating the art to the fullest extent.
For those of you who are looking for a great one-shot issue, you could pick up Old Man Logan #4 and have no problem figuring out what’s going on. The formative Ultron head plot hasn’t been touched on since issue #1. Here’s hoping that Bendis, Sorrentino and Mailo figure out how to wrap this story up into a fantastic final issue, because if you’re looking for a great sequel to the original Old Man Logan, turn your focus somewhere else.