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Along with Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Millar has been one of the key writers for Marvel Comics in the 21st century. After proving himself in the '90s as a talent to watch while writing for DC Comics and the UK comic 2000AD, his arrival to Marvel came at a time when Ultimate Spider-Man had just shot up the sales charts. It was in this environment that Millar made his first major contribution to Marvel with Ultimate X-Men, as Millar integrated forty years' worth of X-Men history, characters and lore into a solid two-year run, making the companion title to Ultimate Spider-Man every bit the creative and commercial success. Next up was The Ultimates, a new rendering of the Avengers that was to continue building on the success of the Ultimate line. He and artist Bryan Hitch pulled it all off in spades: The Ultimates and its sequel, Ultimates 2, were ensconced at the top of the sales charts every month; what's more, they were critical successes, as well. Meanwhile, Millar was invited to enter the regular Marvel Universe to take a stab at two of its most iconic characters: Spider-Man and Wolverine. Paired with industry heavyweights to draw his stories -- Terry Dodson on Marvel Knights Spider-Man and John Romita Jr. on Wolverine -- Millar brought the same fast-paced and cleverly constructed plots with which his Ultimate fans were already familiar. Amid building a small library of Millarworld indie comic books -- including the titles Chosen and Wanted, the latter of which was turned into a Hollywood blockbuster starring Angelina Jolie -- he managed to write Civil War, the epic seven-issue miniseries that definitively reshaped the landscape of Marvel's heroes. Kick-A**, a Marvel Icon project done in tandem with John Romita Jr., made an impressive impact on the sales chart before also being adapted for a major motion picture. In addition, Millar has reunited with Civil War artist Steve McNiven in both the pages of Wolverine and their creator-owned book Nemesis.
Much to like - but also a few things to make you go "Wait... what?" - in the eight-issue arc WOLVERINE: OLD MAN LOGAN. There's no doubt at all that Wolverine is one of the most overexposed characters out there, having been affiliated with a boatload of teams (Weapon X, Alpha Flight, Dept. H., the X-Men, X-Force, S.H.I.E.L.D., the Avengers, and soon probably the New Brighton Archeological Society, the Yancy Street Gang and the PTA). But, admittedly, there's something so very cool about the guy and that vicious thing that he's the best at doing. I don't know that OLD MAN LOGAN is the best Wolverine story ever told. I certainly don't believe that it's the most relevant. But it's certainly one of the most fun and wild and memorable.
Set roughly fifty years in the future, and to spoiler readers of Marvel comic books, the bad guys finally win the whole shebang. The story begins with "Nobody knows what happened on the night the heroes fell." and one of the things which bug me about this arc is that writer Mark Millar never does give us the score on just what went down with the cataclysmic fighty fight between the Marvel heroes and villains. We don't get the juicy details, even though we learn that, finally, finally, the bad guys got wise and realized that, together, they outnumber the good guys by a ratio of huge. Some of the most brilliant villain heavy hitters got together and coordinated simultaneous strikes on the Marvel heroes and pretty much eradicated them from the face of the planet. Fifty years ago.
Something truly horrific happened to Wolverine, and it scarred him so badly that he turned pacifist. Decades later, grizzled and white-haired, he's a struggling farmer trying to support his family, and nowadays he prefers to be called Logan.Read more ›
Mark Millar is a writer I very much enjoy, but he often seems to have trouble sticking endings. That has changed in this story as, from start to stop, it's massively well paced, enormously twisting, and ultimately satisfying. Bringing the sensibility of Clint Eastwood's magnum opus Unforgiven to the plot of the comic Wanted (which Millar also wrote), Wolverine treks across a land where almost every superhero has been killed and America divided amongst the remaining villains. Steve McNiven, teaming up with Millar again after Civil War, brings his A-game in every single panel, be it the ultra-violent battles or the gut-wrenching emotional moments, the Marvel universe has rarely looked so well drawn. I found myself reading it again the moment I finished it and catching all sorts of background references and hints, so it reads well the second, and I'm sure third, time. Absolute highest recommendation.
I'm going to admit I'm biased- I haven't liked the Wolverine books for a long time. All the writers clamoring to write his comic are so concerned with what new and different thing they're going to do with Wolverine or what soon to be retconned mysterious thing from his past they're going to introduce, that they wind up completely messing up the character and the story line. (I'm talking to you, Way.)
Mark Millar actually does these things but he does them well and without messing up the character. Millar is an old school story teller, he knows that good storytelling is character driven- meaning that a good story establishes a character's values and then challenges them to reveal something about that character. By increasing Wolverine's characteristic, latent guilt (which was a crucial aspect of what originally made him an interesting character) to a level which he psychologically neuters himself, we learn more about Wolverine through his nonviolence, rage, and indignation that we ever could about him by an absolute clarification of his past (once again, I'm talking to you Daniel Way.)
Also, there's lot's of gore. That's a plus too. ;)
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This is Wolverine meets Unforgiven meets Mad Max meets The Road. This really tries to use multiple genres & create an alternative world for Wolverine to inhabit. It works! I really enjoyed this book. The world that is left after the villains win is very interesting & exciting when you think of the possibilities. The vagueness of how it all happens is similar to future apocalyptic books like The Road where an explanation isn't really needed. Villains ganged up they won. That simple. It leaves multiple stories that could be developed. Logan is in a world of inner torment more so than usual throughout the book but by the end it's worth the wait. The Hawkeye & Logan journey & conclusion feels very much like Unforgiven. Logan is a man who has turned his back on his violent past but that can't last forever. The ending has a sort of symmetry to it as the first ever foe we saw Wolvie face is the first foe of Wolvie's return. This is a real enjoyable read & leaves you imagining and wanting more. Well worth a read.
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There have been many possible futures for the children of the atom. Chris Claremont and John Byrne's X-Men: Days of Future Past was the first of many time traveling stories in which an apocalyptic future had to be averted by the X-Men. Years before movies like `Terminator', the idea of someone traveling back in time and changing the past to ensure a better future was not unheard of by our favorite mutants.
The mistake of many writers after the Byrne era, however, was relying exclusively in the same narrative schematics. Mark Millar, of course, finds a different way to tackle on alternative futures. His idea is easy to understand: THIS is the future and there's now way around it, it has been that way for over fifty years; it is a dismal future but no one could change it. It is the way it is, a tautological future if you wish. When all the villains in the world decided to work against the heroes, they were able to vanquish them all. They conquered America and divided it among themselves. Magneto, Doom, Kingpin, Red Skull, they all got what they wanted.
Defeated and emotionally scarred, Wolverine has sworn never to be a party of violence again. No one has seen his claws in five decades, and it seems like no one else will. What happened the night all the heroes were killed? No one knows for sure except Wolverine, but he prefers to find peace in oblivion.
It is in this scenario in which the story begins. Wolverine, once the most dangerous X-Man is dead. He is only Logan now, an old man married with a red haired woman. They have two children and they are farmers living in the lands of the Hulk gang, the grandsons of Bruce Banner himself.Read more ›
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