Review: Wolverine Old Man Logan by Mark Millar

Wolverine: Old Man LoganWolverine: Old Man Logan by Mark Millar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Brief Introduction:

Now, everyone knows that I am a huge fan of Wolverine, so when I heard about this unique little story called “Wolverine: Old Man Logan,” I just had to try this comic out! Luckily, I was not disappointed with this story as “Wolverine: Old Man Logan” was one of the most intense and possibly terrifying stories I had ever read about Wolverine! With spectacular writing from Mark Millar and dramatic artwork by Steve McNiven, “Wolverine: Old Man Logan” is definitely one comic book you just have to check out!


What is the story?

In the future world, the United States is being ruled by the villains of the Marvel Universe (Dr. Doom, Norman Osborn and the Kingpin) and all of the superheroes were killed off, except for two heroes: Wolverine and Hawkeye! Wolverine is now living peacefully with his family as he swore off ever using his claws ever again since a horrible incident happened that dealt with him using his claws. One day however, the evil Hulk Gang wanted their payment in rent from Wolverine and if they do not get their rent money, they will kill Wolverine’s family. So, Wolverine goes on a cross country journey with his partner, a now blind Hawkeye, to get some money for Wolverine to pay the rent. Unfortunately, even though Wolverine is trying to live a peaceful life, he will soon realize that in a world ruled by villains, he will always be a target and he might have to compromise his stance on not fighting anymore once his life and family are being threatened!


What I loved about this comic:

Mark Millar’s writing: After reading Mark Millar’s fantastic run on “Ultimate X-Men,” I just knew that I had to give this book a try and when I did, oh my goodness, I was totally blown away by this story! Mark Millar had done a fantastic job at giving us a really dark and dystopian world where super-villains ruled the United States and Logan decides to give up being “Wolverine” after a tragic event happened in his past. I loved the way that Mark Millar developed Wolverine’s character and the fact that there would be a day where I would see Wolverine become a pacifist was really surprising to me. I also enjoyed the back story about why Wolverine became a pacifist and what happened to him in the past was a truly terrifying and emotional moment in this book that will make you really sympathize with Wolverine’s predicament. I also loved the idea about this being a “what if” story about what would happened if the super-villains ruled the world and all the super heroes were killed? It rose up so many interesting scenarios in this comic about what the super villains would do once they take over the world and how the world would look like. Apparently, the world is full of people being killed for no good reason and the endless changes to the United States such as California now being called “Hulkland.” I also loved the way that Mark Millar portrayed Hawkeye and Wolverine’s relationship with each other as Hawkeye is always cheerful and can still fight extremely well even when he is blind and I loved the fact that they still remain friends after all the hardships of living in a villain ruled world.

Steve McNiven’s artwork: Steve McNiven’s artwork was just so fantastic in this comic! I loved the way that Steve McNiven made the characters looks extremely realistic. The characters’ facial expressions are done extremely well as there are shadows on the characters’ faces whenever they are having dark thoughts. I also enjoyed how detailed the bloody scenes were as blood squirts everywhere whenever the characters are cut up as it gives the scenes a much more frightening feeling.

Logan


What made me feel uncomfortable about this book:


~A huge warning for anyone reading this comic~

This comic has oodles and oodles of blood and gore throughout! I had never seen a “Wolverine” comic that had so many scenes of people being killed in the most brutal ways (being cut up) and anyone who does not like seeing any kind of strong violence in a comic might want to skip this comic. Also, there is some language in this comic, although not as strong as something you would see in Scott Snyder’s “American Vampire” or Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” series, so for anyone who does not like reading language in a book, they might want to skim over these words. I took off half a star because I felt that the beginning was moving a bit too slow and it was not until the middle of the story where things really started to pick up. Also, the story might be a bit confusing for anyone who does not read “Avengers” or any other Marvel comics since it manages to combine most of the Marvel characters into one story (I know I got really confused when the Avengers were mentioned since I barely read the “Avengers” comics (big X-Men fan here).


Final Thoughts:

Overall, “Wolverine: Old Man Logan” was a really interesting read for me since I usually do enjoy the usual dystopian future storylines and this one was really creative and unique to read through. Wolverine fans will definitely enjoy this fantastic one shot story of everyone’s favorite claw wielding mutant!

Rating?

4.5 pows

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Review: Superman: Red Son

Superman: Red SonSuperman: Red Son by Mark Millar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Mark Millar’s got the alternate reality/universe/elseworlds thing down. Between Superman: Red Son, Ultimate X-Men, and Old Man Logan, he has penned some bomb-ass shit. He’s got some haters out there. He certainly isn’t the most sensitive dude. But boy can he write some fun stuff. Anybody that can get me to sit through a Superman book has some talent. Sorry, not a lot of love for the boy in blue.

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Well in Red Son he’s actually the boy in grey. In this twist of fate story, Kal El crashes in Russia instead of Kansas and is raised under Stalin’s communist regime. Cool idea. Some similarities remain. He grows up in a farming community, he initially is just interested in helping his people, and he ultimately falls into the service of his nation’s government. I read some complaints that Supes was not different or “evil” enough. I like that Millar just doesn’t do the communist = bad thing here. Superman is still basically a good guy that wants to do the right thing. Making him evil or “bad” might sorta imply that all people in Russia were malevolent Stalinists. And I’m pretty sure that was not the case. He does evolve in this universe a little differently than he did in traditional DC continuity. So does Lex. One thing remains the same though. Even though Luthor can balance the budget and cure cancer, he still hasn’t been able to improve on hair club for men. You’d think he would put 5 or 10 fuckin’ minutes into that one, right?!?

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A ton of cool references in this one and a bunch of familiar faces show up including Lois, Perry, Jimmy, and of course, Lex. There are some familiar, yet different, versions of Batman, Wonder Woman, and a couple of other surprise Leaguers that also make appearances. I really dug this “Anarchy in black” version of the caped crusader. Even the hat. Princess Diana was initially a little bit too much of a lovesick school girl for me, but managed to come around by the end. Overall I really enjoyed Millar’s take on these classic heroes.

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Dave Johnson does a terrific job on the artwork with this book. Known mostly for his covers (100 Bullets, The Punisher, and some Batman stuff), I really enjoyed seeing him put in some work on this book. His style has always appealed to me and I wish he would do more interior stuff. Sorta reminded me a little of Eduardo Risso.

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Anyone that enjoys alternate reality or “Elseworlds” stories like Injustice: Gods Among Us, The Dark Knight Returns, Old Man Logan, or Kingdom Come would probably get a kick outta this one. If you’re a Millar fan and you haven’t read this, your missing out.

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Review: Ultimate FF Vol. 5 – Crossover; by Mark Millar

Ultimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 5: CrossoverUltimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 5: Crossover by Mark Millar
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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This is a solid 3.5 Star book that introduced a bunch of new possibilities, but docked back to 3 because it just abandoned a lot of what I loved about the series under Ellis’ watch.

Mark Millar is back in control here, and that’s a good thing, because Mike Carey was by far the weakest link in the chain (well, when you have Bendis, Millar, Ellis, Carey; one of these things is NOT like the other…).

I found the last volume quite a disappointment, but this one is an improvement, though I still find that Warren Ellis’ run was the peak of things for me so far.
Art Duties fall to Greg Land, and while he does some good work, I believe I enjoyed the Kubert brothers stuff the best so far…for this series at least.

So the FF is back in time chasing Chrono-Bandits…yup, looks like they did have a precedent before Mark Waid threw them into Indestructible HULK’s way during his run. (I KNEW I’d seen them before today!) Not the same people but the same idea. They threatened to kill the first creature that crawled out of the oceans as a precursor to Humanity….Millar wisely had Reed explain that would probably mean none of them ever exist, so we didn’t completely need to savage it.

We see here that the FF now has a name, they’re out and about, and working alongside the Ultimates (who don’t seem to give a shit about them, ahh I miss grumpy dick Cap!)
We pick up the story after that with Reed talking to the hologram Reed that contacted him at the end of last Volume’s Think Tank storyline…well Reed has a portal he’s constructed here, with the help of Holo-Reed, who even lets him meet Franklin (as a hologram).

There’s some problems for me by this point though…they’ve oversexed Sue at this point (no doubt a Mark Millar action) and Reed is slowly reverting to his driven scientist who ignores everyone persona from the regular Marvel U…
So Reed uses his machine to go thru dimensions to the other world…and finds out that he was duped…by ZOMBIE REED! and the ZOMBIE FF! On this world, the Heroes are all zombies who feast on human flesh…luckily, one “hero” still lives, who saves Reed, and then manages to explain what happened…Reed is more like our Ultimate version we love, and the rest of the story proceeds in a way that makes a lot more sense to me, just as a parallel universe activity, with a cool ending.

(Here’s a hint; Jeff will NOT like what goes down between Ben and a certain someone Green).

By this time we’ve done nearly half the book…and jump right into the next story…the return of Mary Storm! Mother of Sue and Johnny! (who was long thought dead but was only just working on a very important research project.)

We get some stuff about her being a bit of a bitch, careerist (she’s kind of a female Reed Richards from Marvel 616 but sexy, in a hot librarian way) terrible mother. I don’t love the art here, as they’ve totally changed everyone’s appearance, and not for the better.

So turns out, that Momma Storm was busy discovering Atlantis! (Ultimate U doesn’t have it) and she needs the FF help to go deep in the ocean and check shit out…Sue sees right through her and I loved that Sue’s not a moron, and calls her on her using them, and agrees only to be done with the woman ASAP.

Well it’s Atlantis, and we can’t have that without everyone’s favourite Mer-Mutant-Mariner! In this version, he’s still a gigantic dickhead, and still has a boner for Sue (good taste for sure, Ultimate Sue is hot hot hot!). Fighting ensues…not a surprise…But we see that Reed has built another machine (shocking how just a few issues ago he was all about the rules and teamwork, and now he’s built a dimensional portal, communicated with parallel Reed, and made a gigantic robot combining all the FF powers! (called Fantastic-05 of course, because apparently Millar didn’t get the memo that Ultimate FF mock the shit out of stupid names for things, and we the readers LOVE them for it!).

So Namor is subdued, but turns out, not for long, and long story short, he agrees to leave things in one piece if he gets a piece…of Sue! Dude, I kinda like your borderline rape-y creep blackmail style (this is Mark Millar, so don’t be at all surprised kiddies, at least this isn’t as sick as that) This just happens to be for a kiss, not a Lono special with Cheese.

So all’s well again…except we’ve totally abandoned most of the characteristics of the personalities, they don’t look the same, they are becoming more Ultimates(y) ie. dickish…reverting to stupid things, and we don’t get the same science or explanations, and the relationships are put to the backburner by Millar, who is more in his Michael Bay form here than I’d like…however, he does do that stuff well, and the Zombies & Namor stuff is fun, so it’s not a total mess.

All in all, I’m worried that the series peaked with Ellis’ ending, I just hope they can level things off and not regress much more…if they turn to in-fighting and acting like assholes, I’ll just stop reading…plus, we need more DOOM!


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Review: Ultimate FF Vol. 4 – Inhuman; by Mark Millar (and Mike Carey)

Ultimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 4: InhumanUltimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 4: Inhuman by Mike Carey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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OK so we’ve got 2 stories here: Think Tank, by Mike Carey (which is the weaker of the 2) and Inhumans (The Annual, by Mark Millar).

I guess the Mad Thinker Ultimate form is this girl in the story Rhona, who was rejected from the Baxter Building, and found out Reed got her spot instead (because her Psych consult was off the charts and she was a nutter). She is nuts because she lobotomizes her brother and then turns him into a robot or some shit? So she sets some trap in the BB…Reed figures it out, it’s kinda boring, and compared to the high quality the series was on so far, this was kind of a let down…the only interesting thing is the cliffhanger reveal where Reed is contacted by an alternate dimension…Reed!

I also didn’t love the art by Jae Lee.

The Mark Millar piece, about the Inhumans, was a bit better, introducing them to the Ultimate Universe. Johnny falls for Crystal, who’s being pursued by guards from Attilan. He tries to save her, gets his ass kicked, but she fixes him…because apparently the Inhumans are 10K yrs ahead of us, and avoid us because we’re like howler monkeys to them.
There’s a funny bit where Crystal gets taken back, and Johnny’s like “Oh no, how will we find her?” and Ben’s like “boy you’re really dumb aren’t you?” and then points to Lockjaw (the gigantic telepathic transporting Dog…) So they crash Attilan, we meet the Ultimate versions of Medusa, Black Bolt, Gorgon, and the others (including Maximus, who seems exactly the same).

A stupid fight ensues, and as such, Attlian must be abandoned, as the FF have ruined it. So Black Bolt levels it and they leave…the end.

Really, this was a big let down after Warren Ellis’ last 2 volumes…I just feel like it jumped all over the place, and the story really didn’t interest me much at all, nor did it explain anything, and the stereotypical caricatures of each member returned…

Rather disappointing, but not quite low enough for 2 stars…a generous 2.5+ rounded up?

Skippable.


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Review: Ultimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 1 – The Fantastic; by Brian Michael Bendis & Mark Millar

Ultimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 1: The FantasticUltimate Fantastic Four, Vol. 1: The Fantastic by Brian Michael Bendis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Better late than never…my library was just a little slow on the delivery, but I now have a stack of 9 FF volumes to get through for our Foursome Shallow Buddy Read…from LAST week…my bad…

Anyhow, here we go! Welcome to the Ultimate Marvel Universe, a place which varies slightly from the normal Marvel U, and which allows us to tell familiar stories with slight twists…

Here, Reed Richards is still a super smart kid, Ben Grimm is a big jock who defends Reed from bullies in exchange for help with Trigonometry homework, and Sue and Johnny Storm are kids of Dr. Storm, the head of the Baxter Building.
Reed’s father (Gary, not Nathaniel) here is a bit of a dick, mad that Reed breaks the blender and other devices…eventually, the Baxter Building program for super genius scientists recruits him at the Science Fair, and off he goes, but even there, there’s not much love from the family still (mom is OK, but dad isn’t).

Sue is a smart one here, Reed is in love from day one, and Victor (Van Damme, not Von Doom – though I hope it means he’s great at Kung Fu and does Volvo commercials!) is his main rival. Mole Man is a professor at the BB who’s fired for doing human DNA work and General Ross (Thunderbolt?) and Dr. Storm fire him for immoral work.

Johnny’s his usual self, a bit younger, and Ben just happens to come visit one day when they’re doing a big experiment…it goes wrong, and they all wake up in different places with variations of their powers (Earth – Ben, Air – Sue, Fire – Johnny, and Water – Reed (makes more sense than Elastic)) However, Victor is still missing…

There’s a Mole Man creature who shows up to attack the city, and Ben and Johnny dive right into ass-kickery, Reed a little less so…they then discover that Sue was found by Mole Man, and there’s some awkward shit there…

We’re left with the whereabouts of Victor still unknown and the army concerned about what the four have become, especially Ben…

So this is a great variation on the origin story, and a fun place to jump into a series that can alienate by being too high concept and science-y for some of us troglodytes, but it also corrects the blatant sexism of the early 60s FF when they weren’t quite sure how to deal with Sue…

I’m looking forward to continuing the series, and cannot wait to see how Victor will manifest himself. I’m also happy to see the comedy and action mix, courtesy of Bendis and Millar, who wrote this together! Now, onto Vol. 2!

This should have been the required read for Foursome Week…great fun read that’s not too fluffy or too heavy.


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Review: Superman: Red Son, by Mark Millar

Superman: Red Son (New Edition)Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OK, so I recalled reading this, but I think I got it confused with Last Son of Krypton…because there’s no WAY I wouldn’t have gushed about how awesome this book is.

Superman: Red So(u)n (You’ll get it.) is, quite possibly, Mark Millar’s finest work.

This book is so full of little teasers and links to the original DCU that it’s like a Where’s Waldo game to find them all…I only read once, and I saw a few that were AWESOME.

I could literally gush about this non-stop. It was one of those few books you read the panels over and over again just because it’s so F’n awesome. It’s also one where you cover the next page with your hand because you don’t want to get ahead of things at all, you want to inhabit this story in real time.

Millar has also done the impossible, and made a major character even better than I thought possible. (hint: I’m not talking about the main character.) Millar has taken the essence of what makes each character we encounter important, and twisted it around just enough to remain interesting, while still, importantly enough, remaining true to each character’s roots.

I don’t want to give away too much, because reading this without any spoilers or clues other than the title and the obvious fact that Superman was going to be a Soviet Comrade instead of an American Citizen.

If I was to sum up in words how much I loved this book…I think it would be:

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To the Power of

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Oh…then there’s the ending. Mind. Blown. BOOM.

I was so jazzed I said out loud “Holy S**t!” My wife came in to ask me what was wrong…then she saw the comic book, and started crying for some reason…anyhow. YAY! COMIC BOOK AWESOME!

So so so so sooo good. I might not be able to be friends with you if you don’t really enjoy this.

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Review: Hit-Girl, by Mark Millar & John Romita Jr.

Hit-GirlHit-Girl by Mark Millar
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a pretty solid addition to the Kick-Ass family. 3.5 stars…not quite 4.

Set between the end of the original and before #2 (though somehow published and written after #2); it follows Mindy (aka Hit-Girl, in her transference from Big Daddy to Estranged Mom and Cop Stepdad.

We get to see her out of her element, in Middle School/Junior High. She’s picked on, made fun of, and doesn’t have a clue what to do. Enter Dave (aka Kick-Ass) who’s agreed to help her fit in and know everything cool if she helps train him.

Wacky Hijinx ensue!

Dave breaks his hand and is out of commission; Mindy’s step-dad knows she’s Hit Girl, and locks her in the house (for her safety, and for her mother’s mental stability…I actually bought the second part a lot more than the first, and it’s a great way for Millar to establish that Step-Dad isn’t a bad guy at all – apparently he was Big Daddy’s partner in the PD?)

We also see Red Mist reappear, but he cannot remember who Kick Ass is, even though he told him. His uncle sends him away as he takes control of the crime empire, and we get to see some hilarious montages of him training a la Batman/Wolverine/Iron Fist/any hero sent on a ridiculous task of self improvement/becoming a weapon.

Best part is? He SUCKS. He cries like a baby, and pays everyone tons of cash; so they bilk him for as much as they can get (the Shaolin type monk is hoping for a new BMW with seat warmers or some shit…pretty funny stuff).

However, what would it be without gratuitous violence and buckets of blood?
Lucky for us, this IS Mark Millar, so we get cursing, hyper violence, but mixed with the right level of humour just to take the edge of, but not render it into a farce.

On top of that, we’ve got a great intro by THE Scott Snyder, who’s a big Millar fan and writes an impossibly actually somewhat interesting intro!

Put it together and you’ve got a pretty good time.

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Except that guy. He had a shitty time.

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Review: The Authority Vol. 2 – by Mark Millar & Frank Quitely

The Authority Vol. 2The Authority Vol. 2 by Mark Millar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Vol. 2 of the Authority takes Warren Ellis’ great work on Vol. 1 (12 issues) and continues it through the Mark Millar filter. This could have gone either way really, but thankfully, this is a very strong follow up, with just enough change of feel and voice to make it different, yet similar enough to feel like a sequel, not a continuation of Ellis’ work.

That being said, Millar is doing some of his strongest work here, given characters who can be more or less what he wants them to be. I feel like this was what gave him the confidence/idea/drive to do Ultimates. (Ultimates being the parallel universe version of the Marvel U Avengers/SHIELD/others. But mostly a classic Avengers in the way you’ve never seen them…The Ultimates) Read NOW if you haven’t.

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