Wolverine #72 is the second-to-last part of “Old Man Logan,” with the final part printed in Wolverine: Old Man Logan Giant-Sized Special #1. But I think the story should have ended in #72. (The final part is mostly an ultra-violent bloodbath, and frankly a disgusting one at parts, though it does have an excellent final scene.)
The storyline centered on Logan on a cross-country odyssey with Hawkeye, with the former refusing to unsheathe his claws the entire time despite the many dangerous situations they encounter. Having been tricked into murdering the X-Men fifty years earlier, Logan has vowed never to harm another soul. But his young family needs money to avoid the wrath of the Hulks, so he agrees to help the mostly blind Hawkeye drive across what used to be America.
Things don’t go well, but he never once pops his claws. Even as he battles President Red Skull to the death, he uses the weapons of other, long-dead superheroes to do it. He’s still no longer Wolverine as far as he’s concerned—he just wants to get home to his family.
He indeed gets home with the money he had worked so hard for. But too late. The Hulks got bored and killed his family. And out come the claws.
That would’ve been a perfect ending. You know exactly what happens next: old-fashioned berserker Wolverine on a revenge mission, killing those who killed his family. It’s a foregone conclusion, so story-wise, there’s no need to show it. Those final few pages of #72 say everything about the character—no matter how much pain Logan endures, he always “heals.” Wolverine suffers, but he survives and fights for those he loves.
But even with the final part, it’s still an excellent Wolverine story (but NOT for children). It’s a big story that gets at the heart of character by showing him at his most defeated and building him back up.
There’s no way the movie can follow the plot exactly, but it can capture the spirit of it. I remain optimistic.
Writer: Mark Millar
Penciler: Steve McNiven
Inker: Dexter Vines
Publisher: Marvel Comics
How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in Wolverine: Old Man Logan (TPB)
Appropriate For: ADULTS ONLY