Old Man Logan #36 Review

by Charles Martin on March 14, 2018

Old Man Logan #36 Review
Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Dalibor Talajić
Colourist: Carlos Lopez
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics 

OLD MAN LOGAN is SAM SPADE in DEATH BY THE NUMBERS, a hardboiled Ed Brisson crime story! Also starring WILSON FISK as SIDNEY GREENSTREET. 

(I'm just teasing; the arc's real name is MOVING TARGET. That's … not actually much better, is it?)

This story's MacGuffin is a mysterious thumb drive that contains, maybe, incriminating dirt on Mayor Fisk. It was stolen by an idiot driver looking for a little five-finger bonus who then bumps into Logan and begs him for help. 

There's enough uncertainty about the drive's actual contents for me to confidently predict the punchline: It's something completely non-incriminating with purely sentimental value to the Kingpin, like plans for Vanessa's mausoleum, maybe. We're not gonna find that out until Logan and Bullseye have tussled for a couple of issues, though. 

I would be a lot more excited about squishing Marvel heroes and villains into a formulaic hardboiled story if it were done with more ingenuity and more respect for the characters. Wilson Fisk has to act like an idiot in multiple ways to get this plot rolling, from leaving that thumb drive where it could get stolen to hiring Bullseye - the underoos-on-his-head crazy Bullseye last seen in Mr. Brisson's eponymous solo series - to hunt Logan down. To emphasize: He sends Bullseye on a mission where keeping a low profile is key.

Old Man Logan makes a pretty good fit as a hardboiled protagonist, growling memorable loner lines like asking his bartender if he looks like "the kinda guy that drinks craft beer." But loner Logan prowling the streets of New York, worrying about the arrival of the Wasteland and his glitchy healing factor, is exactly where this title was 30-odd issues ago; it feels like a throwback and not in a cool way.

On the visual side, Dalibor Talajić and Carlos Lopez do pretty great versions of Logan walking and Logan talking, and the backgrounds and colours conjure up a perfect New York for hardboiled drama: 9 PM on a blustery night. While Mr. Talajić deserves a little extra credit for portraying Logan's current claw situation well (he left a hand behind in Japan, so now he's throwing half bone and half adamantium), this issue's fight scene is sadly non-memorable. 

This issue also delivers an unpleasant sight that's rare for modern Marvel: bad lettering. There are a lot of picket signs and electronic billboards involved in the "Fisk just got elected" street scenes, and these are lettered with slap-on slogans in out-of-place fonts and colours that will make you wonder momentarily if the relevant panels have already been photoshopped by online parodists - and not ones who take pride in craftsmanship.

The bad signage matches the overall level of creativity on display here, i.e., not a lot. This speedy little hardboiled vignette hasn't committed any real sins, but it is running on rails toward an achingly predictable end. If you're looking for a simple tough-guy popcorn comic, this will fit the bill - barely. 

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
This story moved the needle past "Mickey Spillane" on my Noir-O-Meter but it didn't quite hit "Dashiell Hammett." The Noir-O-Meter gave a sad beep and never got close to "Raymond Chandler" territory.