Don't I Know You From Somewhere...?
"The Last Ronin, Part 1: The Silent Order"
Writer - Jeff Lemire
Artist - Andrea Sorrentino
Colorist - Marcelo Maiolo
Letterer - VC's Cory Petit
Release Date: 07.27.2016
Cover Price: $3.99
Now, here's a book that absolutely snuck up on me.
Old Man Logan, as a concept was something I never took too seriously. I initially saw the character as Mark Millar's out-of-continuity... but still sorta-in-continuity Wolverine-flavored plaything. But, I'm now learning that he (can be) so much more than that!
While I was growing up as a comics fan in the 1990's, there were few "constants"... one of which was, Wolverine knows (or knew) everybody and everything... but we ain't gonna tell ya how!
Of course that all changed around the turn of the century... in a massive info-dump, rather than in any sort of organic way... but beggars can't be choosers, I guess. Here, in Old Man Logan, each story acts as something of a touchstone for an adventure or event in our main (old) man's life. This way of presenting the facts helps shape the way we receive the character... making, ostensibly a new character one with whom we can relate and empathize with. He's not keeping secrets from us... and it makes for a much more satisfying reading experience.
An information exchange has gone terribly awry for ol' Logan. He (was) hot on the trail of Lady Deathstrike... which had brought him to a nasty little bar in Tokyo. Of special interest, our main man has decided to don his "Patch" disguise to make the transaction. The Patch persona was always one that amused me... all it is, is Wolverine wearing an eyepatch... that's it!
He winds up getting jumped by some poor souls who think they may have even an eyelash of a chance against him... Logan takes'em out, and begins to reflect... we learn that (obviously) this is not his first trip to Japan. This current threat is apparently a modernized version of one he'd dealt with long ago. While we're in flashback mode, we see Logan's first run in with this "Silent Order". They are a group of ninjas who wear a face mask not terribly dissimilar to the "Friend" from Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys.
With the way this chapter ends, it is probably safe to assume that our 616 version of Wolverine has also caught the ire of the Silent Order... after all, our Old Man version winds up riddled full of their arrows when he finally stumbles upon his long-fingered lass. I really like that there appear to be some parallels between the two Logans... they must have both ran afoul of these characters before.
I suppose it would make sense that the Old Man would find himself having to eventually pay off some of the other runts debts. I'm interested to see how this all plays out.
With the story out of the way, let's discuss the character a bit. Now, this fella... this "other" Logan. He's amazing. While I definitely dug (and miss) the "real" Wolvie, this... beaten down, worn out otherworldly version is almost a refreshing change.
He says so much, both verbally and with his body language (a testament to Lemire and Sorrentino) that gives off an impression of discomfort... even perhaps, a lack of self-confidence. It's subtle... but it's there. Which for this fella, fits perfectly. He is at the same time, vicious and tentative... if that makes even an ounce of sense.
This is one of those books where it never fails to amaze me that the artist can deliver so often. With art of this detail and quality, it's almost as though I'd been trained to assume long gaps between runs, or severe delays in release. Thankfully, that is something we appear to have sidestepped thus far with Sorrentino. I'd be remiss to leave out mention of the great color and lettering work here as well. Everything in this book, from craftsmanship to storytelling compliments each other to and almost uncanny level. Excellent stuff here, as we've become accustomed!
Bits and Pieces:
Old Man Logan is one of the very few titles where I actually get excited when we go into "flashback mode". This issue includes a pair of almost "parallel" storylines, and both were crafted in such a way that one complimented the other perfectly. Top notch art and characterization... overall, another wonderful issue of this wonderful book!