This is a good week for X-Men fans – Old Man Logan #1 hit the stands, the ongoing Worst X-Man Ever continued, and we got a new arc launching over in Extraordinary X-Men! So how did it all go? Here are my thoughts..
Old Man Logan #1
OK, so the first thing you have to remember, is that this story is based before Extraordinary X-Men. Old Man Logan awakens from the events of “Secret Wars”, and finds himself in the present day. He sees this as an opportunity to avert his timeline, and heads off to settle scores against those who would wrong him in the future.
Jeff Lemire has an interesting concept; not one that’s particularly fresh and original (it reads like a more violent version of the classic “Days of Future Past” arc). But it’s interesting nonetheless, as Old Man Logan sets out to kill those who would wrong his family in the future. The problem is, he completely misses the logic gap in it; Old Man Logan’s first target is a low-level member of the Hulk gang who slapped his future son. Except… if Old Man Logan is successful in changing time, then that son will never be born in the first place, because a future Wolverine would never run off after killing the X-Men. Yeah, this is why time-travel gives people headaches – and is best left to the likes of Reed Richards, not somebody who deals with every problem by snikting.
I mean, it’s clear Old Man Logan has forgotten any lessons his past self learned during the Age of Ultron event, when this kind of logic seriously screwed things up.
Which brings me to my second point; it’s been a while since I read the original “Old Man Logan” arc, but I distinctly remember it as being a timeline that diverged from our own some comic-book years back. Yet, suddenly, we’re led to believe that the timeline is closely connected, that everything Old Man Logan experienced happened post-2015… It just feels odd. I get the feeling we’re not supposed to think about it too much.
Andrea Sorrentino’s art, meanwhile, is phenomenal. She’s perfectly complemented by Marcelo Maiolo’s colouring, and together they produce a book that’s a visual delight. Even so basic a scene as Old Man Logan getting tasered is a visual treat.
But by far the most appealing scene of all is a homage to Frank Miller’s other dystopian-future-hard-edged-superhero:
I’ll be very surprised if that image isn’t doing the rounds on the internet for decades to come.
All in all, Old Man Logan #1 is a disappointing start to what could have been a promising series. The art alone is worth the cover-price, but the plot leaves a lot to be desired.
Extraordinary X-Men #6
In an intriguing issue filled with time-jumps, Jeff Lemire takes the X-Men to Weirdworld after a band of mutants crash-land in the crazy realm. Meanwhile, Magik discovers a side of Limbo – and possibly all afterlife-dimensions – that she never knew before…
Extraordinary X-Men is a very strange beast, with elements to it that I think are achieved with tremendous skill – there’s a particularly poignant moment between Iceman and Anole that really leaves you feeling for both characters. That’s countered with other moments that are clunky and out-of-character, such as Storm’s giving a kill order to Old Man Logan (contrast this with her attitude when she discovered Cyclops had been issuing kill orders to X-Force after “Second Coming”).
All in all, it feels as though Jeff Lemire hasn’t quite got a handle on his characters. Old Man Logan devolves to a straightforward Wolverine role, not bringing anything to the story – and, likely, the whole arc – that wouldn’t be achieved by having the Canucklehead involved. If all he brings to the mix is ‘Wolverine who’s older’, then Marvel might as well have resurrected the original Wolverine, and left it at that. Storm just doesn’t sit right, and seems to have regressed to almost exactly the role Cyclops played in the Utopia era, right down to making the same decisions. Naturally, nobody calls her out on it. The Jean-and-Glob thing, too, just isn’t working for me; but then, I’ve never been particularly interested in Glob.
That said, when Lemire gets it right, he crafts scenes that are filled with tremendous potential. The interaction between Magik and Sapna – and Sapna’s natural connection to Hell-realms – is wonderful, and their discovery seems to concrete my ideas about how Charles Xavier is influencing matters. I’m more excited to see where this goes than where Lemire takes the current arc, actually!
The main arc looks set to continue Extraordinary X-Men‘s teasing strategy – lots of hints as to what went down in the last eight months of unpublished action and adventures, complete with a few nods to the possibility that Cyclops may be involved in all this. But six issues in, that’s already gotten old.
I’ve gotten so used to Ramos’ artistic style on an X-book that I really don’t want him to go, but Victor Ibanez’s art is is a nice change and he’s clearly having a blast when it comes to Weirdworld. Unfortunately, he’s not without flaws; perhaps he was rushed, but he shows Colossus and Iceman with the same hairstyle, right down to being shaved away at the sides. It doesn’t help that the facial positioning is near-identical, making it all-the-more obvious. Meanwhile, his Old Man Logan kind of looks like a troll.
All in all, I still think Extraordinary X-Men has potential – but I’m not convinced how well it’s going to fulfil that potential. And I’m not convinced that should be up for debate six issues in.
Worst X-Man Ever #4
Ignore continuity, and have fun! Bailey has been approached by the Brotherhood, and wrestles with his conscience; will he betray the X-Men? He winds up in a scrap with Rags, leading to the ideal opportunity for him to make a kill-strike on Charles Xavier. Will he do it? Or will there be a twist in the tale?
Max Bemis has created a really entertaining character in the confused Bailey, and his humorous take on the X-Men’s broader world is fascinating. Occasionally the character’s voices don’t quite seem right – Magneto has a diatribe early on in this scene where he just doesn’t quite feel right. But when Bemis does get it right, as he does with Charles Xavier, he presents a take on the character that’s refreshing and enjoyable.
The series is really feeling like a humorous love-letter to the X-Men, by a fan, for the fans. I find myself almost regretting the plot twist at the end, as I want Rags and Riches to play a role in X-Men comics going forwards, and I just can’t see that happening now!
I won’t lie and pretend that I’m a massive fan of the artistic choices; Michael Walsh just isn’t quite my cup of tea, although I accept that his style is better suited to this kind of book. There’s an explosive moment that just feels odd to me, but to be fair it’s imaginary, and the climax is really well done. I simply have no idea how Charles Xavier is going to get out of this one…
With Old Man Logan launching, and Extraordinary X-Men continuing, it’s rather odd that this is the highlight of the week.