Keeping Up with the Trades
First of all, you have the Millar and McNiven introduction of the character (mentioned above) that originally appeared in Wolverine #66–72 and Wolverine: Giant Size Old Man Logan from way back in 2009. Then, years later, in the onslaught of 2015’s Secret Wars event, Brian Michael Bendis and Andrea Sorrentino released Wolverine: Old Man Logan #1–5 (collected here), which I have not yet read. Finally, my hero Jeff Lemire took over writing duties on the new 2016 series Wolverine: Old Man Logan #1–24. Wait. What?! See what I mean, Denizens? Kind of a mess if you’re new to the character or just saw Logan and want to dive into a comic. My recommendation is to start with the Millar/McNiven trade to get familiar with what happened in the future, but you should be fine diving into Lemire/Sorrentino’s run headfirst as Lemire catches you up quick with our favorite berserker mutant.
Now, keep in mind that I have read the first two trades and I started the third last night, which I’m actually quite eager to get back to reading. This series begins with a grizzled Logan from a tragic future, one where he saw everything that was good destroyed right in front of his eyes, awakening to our modern world. Everything is wrong: his friends are no longer dead, his enemies have not seized control of the world, and those who live are all much younger than they should be. Realizing he has traveled back in time, he sees an opportunity to make certain his world never comes to pass by eliminating key evil figures one by one. Unfortunately, maneuvering around the younger, living friends he loved so dearly complicates matters.
Wolverine: Old Man Logan gives me everything I want from a Lemire comic: strong characterization, emotional beats that hit at all the right moments, and an intricately plotted story that keeps me fully engrossed in this fascinating take on one of Marvel’s most popular characters. Sorrentino’s art captures the dour atmosphere that pervades Logan’s world view and the darkness that weighs upon his soul. If you are a fan of Sorrentino’s work on the tragically short-lived I, Vampire or on his and Lemire’s run on Green Arrow, then you definitely need to see his work here, as it is lovely indeed. Please excuse me, I have to run upstairs and continue with volume three before jumping immediately into volume four of this outstanding series.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Manifest Destiny is a historical reimagining of Lewis and Clark’s exploration of the untamed American Frontier. Much is the same, including the team of enlisted men, convicts, and other unsavory miscreants, it is the secret mission that holds the twist. Unbeknownst to Lewis and Clark’s crew, the real reason they are exploring the uncharted wild is to catalog any monstrous flora and fauna— physically and through Lewis’s journaling — and where possible, eliminate any and all threats that get in their way. There’s also the ever-present threat of angry natives and mutiny among the crew, but they thankfully have the aid of the fierce Sacagawea, who is a total murder machine and who also happens to be pregnant. Their journey is a trying one at the best of times.
Each volume, thus far, focuses on a specific region that just so happens to be inhabited by a towering arch that is somehow linked to the various horrors plaguing all forms of humanity whether they be explorer or native. Thus, each volume contains a few types of monsters that Dingess and Roberts use to terrify their readers with, and trust me, these monsters are as unnerving as they are imaginative –ugh, that flying one with the head thing…I still get the willies thinking about it. The great thing about this exquisitely paced and intricately illustrated adventure/horror tale is that the “good guys” really aren’t all that good. I was fine seeing a few of Lewis and Clark’s crew meet their horrific ends, but I was also deeply disturbed by certain actions taken by the explorers in volume three; I suspect you will find some of the grim undertakings to be extremely troubling. But as unsettling as things might get, you will most certainly be back for more.
Manifest Destiny is one heck of a compelling series. Roberts’s art is flawless in both storytelling and character design, while Dingess’s dialogue and pacing make this revisionist history tale of monsters and mayhem a thrill ride you will never want to end. The arrival of volume five in August cannot come soon enough.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!