Old Man Logan Annual #1 Review

by Charles Martin on September 05, 2018

Old Man Logan Annual #1 Review
Writers: Ed Brisson (A Story) & Ryan Cady (B Story)
Artists: Simone Di Meo (A Story) & Hayden Sherman (B Story)
Colourist: Dono Sánchez-Almara
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

This Annual is a simple, pure pilot. It says it's time to take Old Man Logan back to the Wasteland, and it also proposes an Old Man Punisher book. I heartily endorse both of these ideas because they're demonstrated well here.

For a start, I appreciate the way this annual simply drops OML back in his home AU. Going forward, I say we need about two-three sentences maximum explaining how Logan got back to the Wasteland. Either he remembers his sojourn in the 616 or he doesn't. 

Either option is valid, and frankly, the latter is simpler and speedier. Nicely as the post-Secret-Wars OML series has sold, I don't think it's done too much character development that cries out for preservation. If the character is flat-out reset to his pre-dimension-hopping days, we can drive straight on into more great Wasteland stories.

Sorry, I'm getting sidetracked by the huge potential this book demonstrates for future development. I should be talking about the stories themselves.

In the main story, OML is rightly called out for wiping out the Banner Boys and not paying attention to what happens in the power vacuum left behind. When they're replaced with the ultra-violent Punishers, a gang of slavers with a passion for killing, Logan gets his hero strings plucked by the survivors.

Who'll help him take down the Punishers? A decrepit Frank Castle, of course!

Both he and Logan are sketched with fascinating motivations. There's a lot of rich subtext about inter-generational relationships in a post-apocalyptic world. It could easily be applied to contemporary politics or turned into social commentary or even read as meta-commentary on Marvel editorial policies. (You don't just happen to close a Marvel story in 2018 with the words "They should be letting our legacy die.")

Never mind all that, though. What you get in both the main story and the backup - which looks at a more vibrant Frank Castle fighting a new fight in the early days of the Wasteland - are brilliant action stories with very thoughtful underpinnings. 

I'm particularly fond of the complicated course writer Ryan Cady charts out for Frank in the B story. He's blowing up gangsters, as you'd expect, but he's also adamantly opposed to letting their victims arm themselves. It's a fascinating point that could bear tons of further investigation.

Sorry again! This Annual is such a good pitch for an Old Man Punisher series!

Both stories here have superb scripts. It's in the visuals that they betray some weakness. The main story gets sketchy, stylized art. The action scenes are violently dynamic; the hatchet faces are expressive thanks to knife-edge exaggeration that borders on the absurd. Some faces and action moments are strongly memorable; others are confusing or distracting.

The B story pushes even further into sketchy territory. Scratchy, straight lines carry all the weight and shadows appear as tons of spiky scribbling. It's a distinctive style, but it precludes a lot of detail work. The A story has a similar problem but not quite so extreme.

The A story gets diverse (though muted) colour selections that reflect a full spectrum and contrasting day and night settings. The B story is drenched in smoke and fire, coloured almost exclusively in yellows and reds and chalky greys. It works for what is essentially one long scene; I wonder how sustainable that limited palette would be in a longer story.

The Old Man Logan Annual presents a pair of stories that are formidable on their own. They have a higher calling than just providing entertainment, though. They show that it's high time to take OML out of the 616 and back to the Wasteland. We could definitely use an Old Man Punisher book, too. This Annual presents plenty of hooks to develop both of these characters in the Wasteland; these geezers could just use a little more artistic firepower if they make the leap to ongoing stories.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
Don't speed through that art too quickly; you don't want to overlook details like Father Punishment's skull-shaped clerical collar.