Needless Character Analysis: Old Man Logan
One of the best things to come from the new Marvel Universe is that the Wolverine that died last year is staying dead, and the Logan that’s returning is Old Man Logan, first seen in the popular 2008 Wolverine story by Mark Millar, Steve McNiven and Dexter Vines. Old Man Logan was published in Wolverine # 66 – 72 and Wolverine Giant-Size Old Man Logan. Some of you might not realize that the character also appeared in the first part of Mark Millar’s Fantastic Four run and it’s spin-off mini-series, Fantastic Force.
Now let’s begin the analysis of Old Man Logan…
In a future where the country is ruled by the super-villains, Logan is a farmer, paying rent to oppressive landlords. The Hulk’s inbred grandchildren, called the Hulk Gang, are their enforcers to those that fail to pay their rent on time. Logan has also renounced his heroic ways since the time fifty years prior that the villains killed almost all of the super-heroes. When Logan can’t make the rent, the Hulk Gang show up to give him a beat down and deliver an ultimatum to pay double the rent the next month or everyone will die. A blind Hawkeye then arrives and gives an opportunity to make the money he needs by helping him get to the East Coast and deliver a package.
Along the way we learn that Hawkeye’s estranged daughter has taken up the mantle of Spider-Girl, formed a super-team and been captured. Logan demonstrates his commitment to extreme pacifism, but assists in rescuing her. Upon rescuing her, she kills the Kingpin and assumes control of his territory. Hawkeye and Logan escape from her new thugs, thanks to the Moloids collapsing the ground around their pursuers. Logan then explains that when the heroes fell, he had been tricked by Mysterio into killing his fellow X-Men, believing them to be villains. This is what crushed his spirit, causing him to swear off violence.
Hawkeye delivers his package to the leader of the rebellion, who reveals that it’s vials of Super-Soldier Serum to be used to create a new team of Avengers. The hope is that they will overthrow the villains that rule the country. Unfortunately, Hawkeye’s contact is working for the government and his men shoot Logan and kill Hawkeye. Logan is taken to the president, the Red Skull, where Logan recovers from his wounds and proceeds to kill the henchmen that brought him and the Red Skull. Using Iron Man’s armor, Logan escapes with the cash the Red Skull was going to give the henchmen for killing Hawkeye.
Logan returns home, two weeks before the rent was due to find his wife and kids have been killed by the Hulk Gang after they got bored. Logan pops his claws for the first time in fifty years and tells his neighbor, cautioning him to avoid revenge, to call him Wolverine.
Wolverine kills the entire Hulk Gang, and proceeds to invade their lair, killing the last of them with either his claws or a bomb on board the gang’s Fantasticar. He faces off against Bruce Banner, now able to access the Hulk’s strength without fully transforming into the Hulk. When Wolverine gains the upper hand, Banner transforms into the Hulk and devours him. Unfortunately, when the last surviving member of the Hulk Gang, spared Old Man Logan’s rage because he was on an errand to fetch some old movies, reminds a suffering Hulk that Wolverine has a healing factor. Almost as if on cue, Wolverine cuts himself out of the Hulk, killing him. Wolverine spares the surviving member of the Hulk Gang, who cowards out, giving Wolverine his clothes, in exchange for sparing him and the infant descendant of the Hulk, Bruce.
Logan buries his family, and with baby Bruce in tow, sets out to take down the villains one by one, building a team along the way, starting with Bruce Banner Junior. However, the story of Old Man Logan did not end there. Mark Millar is one of those writers that likes to tie together all of his various stories, so his tale of an older Logan in a dystopian world was not not going to end and never be used again.
Old Man Logan formed a team called the New Defenders but took the new alias of The Hooded Man. His team, discovering that the Earth was dying, used Galactus as part of a plan to travel back in time and rescue the billions of people by transporting them to the past. Reed Richards convinced them to instead transport the population to a synthetic world called Nu-World, and the New Defenders joined them there to help protect the new world. When it was threatened by a mentally deranged Gaea, out to get the return of the population to her abandoned Earth, the Hooded Man chose to stay with her to help her repopulate the world with new children.
Where the new Old Man Logan will fit into the “All-New All-Different” Marvel Universe is unclear, but has been shown as a member of the X-Men, although not in a costume. Mark Millar’s version remains a popular one, albeit a little lackluster in his destiny as the father of a new race of people for a dead Earth.
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