In Old Man Logan #3, Logan’s travelogue through Battleworld continues. I haven’t read OML #1 or 2. #3, at least, follows the same playbook from Mark Millar’s original Old Man Logan series: send Logan through various landscapes ruled by various latter-day versions of familiar characters. Don’t keep him too long in any one place. Shake situation like a jar full of praying mantises, then enjoy resulting chaos. The storyline lends itself remarkably well to the whole Battleworld shtick, which may explain (along with all those pictures of old Wolverine and old Steve Rogers from the previews) why Marvel decided to include OML, of all things, in their brave new world.
The fun of alternate universes is the variation. How do character x, and their environment, get tweaked by the circumstances? In the case of this issue, Apocalypse runs a territory, there’s a Lady Beta Bill as the resident Thor police guy, and Tony Stark controls a kingdom called Technopolis, with James Rhodes as the local Thor. The best moment in the issue, however, is a throwaway encounter between Emma Frost and Wolverine. As Wolverine races to gut/maim the local Thor, he telepathically asks Emma— now one of Apocalypse’s four horsemen— to keep an eye on a stray Boom-Boom (one of the original New Mutants) who doesn’t understand who she is. It’s a rare chance in this issue for Bendis to work his normal magic with dialogue and character development. The rest of the story is so exposition heavy that he doesn’t get the opportunity.
The rushed pacing and heavy exposition, and their impact on the writing, make me wonder how much editorial direction Bendis— and all writers— are getting throughout the Secret Wars storyline. Story arcs that work across multiple titles require coordination. Coordination requires someone in charge. Bendis is probably the best writer at Marvel, and arguably in comics. I get the sense that this issue’s hastiness was less him than the need to make this issue play its part in an overall arc about as byzantine as the tax code. This may not be the case. But I will say that this issue isn’t one of Bendis’ best.
The art is OML #3’s real standout. I don’t know how much of the layout is Bendis, and how much of it is artists Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo, but it’s stunning. The balance of perspectives— close-ups and pull-backs— carries the story. There’s a preponderance of rectangles, longer horizontally than vertically, that lends a cinematic quality. A few beautifully colored spreads accentuate the action, and also the variation of the different realms.
Worth the money? Overall, no. Read it in the store and see how the visuals strike you, however.