Old Man Logan #49 // Review
Logan gets at a firsthand look at how Maestro runs things in Fort Wells in Old Man Logan #49, by writer Ed Brisson, artist Ibraim Roberson, color artist Carlos Lopez, and letterer Cory Petit. After the beating he took last issue, is there any way a weakened Logan can defeat the Maestro? Brisson slows things down in this issue, letting readers and Logan in on what the town has become, and it’s a harrowing experience.
After a horrific flashback to the Wasteland, Logan awakens in a pile of dead bodies outside of Fort Wells. Joshua, the boy who he met before his fight with Maestro, helps him back into town and hides him, eventually retrieving Logan’s backpack for him. Meanwhile, the Maestro has put the two men who brought Logan before him on trial, and sentences them to death for aiding him. As the doomed men walk to the gallows, Logan gets to see for himself what Maestro’s twisted leadership has done to the people of the town.
Brisson’s script in this one lets readers see what Fort Wells has become, and it’s a bit horrifying. Maestro’s reign of terror has turned the townsfolk against each other as they try and stay on the monster’s good side. To them, he’s an insurmountable obstacle, and the snow and terrain of Canada’s Northwest Territories has them trapped with him. They can’t leave the town; they couldn’t carry enough supplies with them and would die long before they got anywhere. He’s brutalized them so thoroughly that they would do anything to stay alive for another day.
Logan’s flashback to the Wastelands is a bit cliche for this book, but it shows readers Logan’s guilt about what happened to his family. That guilt has become a big part of who he is. It’s one of the things that has motivated him to hunt down the Maestro. If Logan would have killed him when he first encountered him, none of the terrors visited upon Fort Wells would have happened. However, Brisson reveals a secondary, perhaps more important, reason that Logan hunted down the Maestro. This second reason shows that, as much as his guilt motivates him, the horrors of his own past also fuel him.
Ibraim Roberson’s pencils are detailed and expressive, capturing the terror and desperation of the townspeople, but the real highlight of the art is Carlos Lopez’s colors. In the Wasteland sequence, he overlays the whole thing in a shade of burnt ocher which highlights the desolation of the Wastelands. In Fort Wells, he uses a lot of blue, giving the town a cold, icy feel. Not only does this represent the frigid weather, but the hardened, frozen hearts of the townspeople.
After the no-holds-barred slugfest of the last issue, Brisson and company slow it down here, cueing readers in on what’s going on in subtle, and not so subtle, ways. Old Man Logan #49 delivers some nice atmospherics and wonderful art. This is the penultimate issue for the book, and it brings a new dimension to Logan’s decision to hunt down the Maestro, setting things up for a cataclysmic slugfest in the last issue. The creative team has built a near-perfect middle chapter for their story. This one doesn’t disappoint.