So you probably, recently just watched the trailer for new and (apparently) final Hugh Jackman, starring X-men film, Logan. You probably cried at most of the trailer, and you probably cheered when our titular hero, popped his adamantium claws through someone’s head (red band trailer version only, sorry kids). After your approximate one-hundredth and twenty-sixth viewing of the trailer you probably wondered about the source material for the film, after all this is a “Comic-book Movie”, so what about the comic? You then probably opened up the Banterflix website, saw the title of this article and clicked on the link, in order to educate yourself, a task I will only be happy to oblige you with.
The eight part series Old Man Logan, written and pencilled and frequently brilliant collaborators Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, set an alternate future in the Marvel universe, 50 years after an event when all the worlds super-villains decided to team-up and kill all the major superheroes, sees a now pacifist Logan, travelling cross-country, with a blind Hawkeye, delivering a mysterious package in order make the rent and keep his family safe. Their Unforgiven/Mad Max style adventure has them passing through a desolated world filled with desperate people, savage societies and destroyed cities (so bad you could be forgiven for mistaking it for a world set after Donald Trumps’ first term in office), but also some strange new faces under familiar superhero masks and cowls as well as old enemies. The story is truly excellent written and structured by Millar and at certain points is about emotionally impactful as anything that has been published in the sequential art form can be, so that’s about all I feel I should give away.
The art however I feel I can discuss freely, without fear of spoiler-guilt. Steve McNiven’s art style is one I have been admirer of for a long time and Old Man Logan may be his best work, he’s very true to life in his portraiture and landscapes, but not so much, that the more surreal elements of the story, such as an alien-symbiote bonded with a Tyrannosaurs Rex doesn’t seem ridiculous or out of place. Similarly, those who are familiar with Mark Millar’s other works such as Kick-Ass will know that he’s not shy of violence in his stories, and McNiven pencils these moments such graphic detail brutality and also some extremely strong colouring done by numerous other artist, that they deliver the intended emotional punch, with sense of disgust yet strange beauty that you could stare that some of the frames and splash pages for hours. I’d give best bits, but that would be impossible without spoiling vital plot points.
In my opinion this comic is an essential especially for X-men fans, it’s been a favourite since I first got it and in truth may be my favourite graphic novel of the twenty-first century. The character and world and “Old Man Logan” has been brought back into the comic-book stalls recently, with an on-going stories as the “real” Wolverine is dead in the Marvel universe (over two years without a proper resurrection, actually quite impressive for a major comic publishing company, to keep a major character dead for that long, consider these are people who would kill and bring back certain strands of bacteria if it meant they could create a big event comic with spin-offs, cross-over’s and aftermath books, to make some money off). I have not read these new stories yet, although from what I understand they’re quite good, so check them out as well if you’re interested.
Now let’s take a look at the upcoming feature, supposedly taking Old Man Logan as its main inspiration. It would seem that thematically we’re going to see a lot of connections, its set at 20 years in the future so, Logan’s’ going to be dealing with age and the scars of the past in the same way he does in the comic. Logan’s daughter (or at least that’s who I assume she is), possibly adopted) plays a big part in the trailer, so family will also be a common thread, not to mention the inclusion Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier, who was not in the comic, but is always great and has always been somewhat of a father figure to Logan.
While we’re on Professor X, obviously Hawkeye can’t appear in this movie for copyright reasons, so it looks like our favourite bald psychic will replace him as the Wolverine’s road partner. We’ll probably see some of the witty back and forth between them that we have between Logan and Hawkeye in the comic and all non-DC gritty grimy “DO YOU BLEED? YOU WILL” superheroes movies out at the moments, although probably not as much as say Guardians of the Galaxy, when you consider the tone of the trailer and the fact that this probably the end for both Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman in the X-men films. As with copyright laws mentioned earlier, some characters, plot point and locations will be changed, substituted or gotten rid of all together, which is to be expected, plus I’ve never been a big fan of direct panel to screen adaption’s, I’m more for a general thematic and conceptual borrowing so as to create new stories that I won’t be able to predict before I sit down.
All in all I am probably more excited for Logan than I am any other big blockbuster upcoming release for the next year or so, even if it’s only been one trailer so far, the tone and action set course for a great final outing for both Jackman and Stewart by taking inspiration from a really great comic that is emotional, unapologenic and hugely entraining.