There was a degree of cynicism and trepidation when it became obvious that an alternate Wolverine would replace the one entombed in adamantium. Predominately because there wouldn’t actually be any change at all to the character, and over the past few months that has been proved to be true. Old Man Logan is now a regular X-Men team member, after some counselling and coercion. There was an opportunity for this character to be probed and dissected, in order to acclimatise him to the current time where he hadn’t murdered everyone he loved. The original comic Old Man Logan was an interesting title as it presented a new world order, run amok by the spawn of Hulk. Logan remained docile, his sins unredeemed and he stopped being Wolverine. Though it was painful to read, it was refreshing and innovative. Of course it did not last long and his return to berserker mode was at least depicted well. Subsequently his meandering course through Battleworld though relatively pointless, created an opportunity to return to the X-Men. The moment of self-reflection and forgiveness never came and Lemire took Logan as he was into a path of destructive vengeance. Where have we seen this before? Fortunately this comic was drawn by Andrea Sorrentino and his work is simply incredible. The old man ventures through a list of adversaries and then a former enemy team having flashbacks of days gone by and people lost. These night terrors presented in comic form were reasonable issues but had Wolverine following a well trodden path. Until now.
Issue eight presents the beginning of another such nightmare. A time where peace ended in war and Logan is helpless. As his anxiety sets in, Jean comes and provides the salvation he has been looking for since issue one. Someone finally takes his hand and shows him that this world is not his world, and his past is not this past. The story is simple and so obvious that it almost doesn’t need saying, but it does. For a man like Old Man Logan, his nightmares are so very real that he must come face to face with the truth as it now. Jean and Cerebra teleport him to crucial places where the uprising began and the villains united. And then Sorrentino provides horrific images of death and despair, juxtaposed with serenity and calmness. The art serves as memory and conciliation at the same time and he uses this diametrically opposed theme to great effect. Seeing buildings crash, heroes die unmajestically and Pym succumb to an army of moloids leaves you gasping at such imagery.
Sorrentino’s art is set apart from all others because his focus of light is so uniquely his. Note how he details his characters facial features and keeps the backgrounds brightly lit or plain. A nervous Logan stands in his room with a shadow cast downwards from above, engulfing his brow in darkness. It accentuates his nervousness and sadness, even when Jean enters the room the effect is used to hide half of her face. When the battle scenes are shown, the smaller panels show the force of the strikes and impact of powers by either bright colours or red sound effect mini panels. This is a signature of Sorrentino’s art and is not only effective in its emphasis but also pretty in its aesthetic. As the bigger scenes hit, the sky becomes burnt with beautiful graduated shades of red and yellow. The use of detailed central characters and simple backdrops allow the magnitude of the action to be portrayed. That effect is thrown out of the window when the main splash page of the comic, displays Logan’s largest failing with a backdrop of rejoicing enemies. The lighting is once again central to the composition and emotional conveyance. And instantly it switches to the calm clouds of a delicately moonlit night. That contrast that Andrea delivers is exactly the conflicting emotions within Logan’s mind. It is jarring and terrifying but the soothing tones of Phoenix and the other friends she gathers, is enough to placate not only Logan but also the reader themselves.
Lemire hits all the right notes that are emblematic of the Wolverine including the old team, the ideological hero, the adopted daughter and of course, the love of his life, Jeannie. They are all handled delicately and sweetly without becoming too indulgent and ingratiating and present a beautiful set of cathartic moments. Sorrentino even brings light to the day in order to see the aged Logan in all his glory. The preceding issues may have been useful in provided the weight atop of Wolverine’s shoulders, but it is now time to move forward and develop a new dimension to a character loved so dearly.