Old Man Logan #50 // Review
It’s the final showdown between Logan and the Maestro in Old Man Logan #50, by writer Ed Brisson, artists Ibraim Roberson and Neil Edwards, color artist Carlos Lopez, and letterer Cory Petit. Can Logan defeat the Maestro, or will the mad Hulk of tomorrow finish him off? Logan faces his greatest challenge yet here, both physically and mentally, as Brisson and company bring the book to a close and set up for the upcoming Dead Man Logan.
Logan tries to distract Maestro long enough to inject himself with Regenix to kickstart his healing factor, but Maestro doesn’t fall for it and beats on him again, knocking the Regenix into the crowd and taking Logan prisoner once more. The fate of Joshua, the boy who helped Logan earlier in the story, motivates the townsfolk to rebel against the Maestro, freeing Logan and getting the Regenix back. Logan confronts the Maestro, and Maestro makes Logan an offer that will test him to his core.
Brisson used the last issue to shine a spotlight on what the Maestro’s twisted rule has done to the town of Fort Wells, and pays that off in this issue as the townspeople finally realize that they can fight back because, in the end, the Maestro would kill them all on a whim. This moment of triumph of the human spirit is very important, and is the kind of message that more people need in times like these. Not everyone can be Logan and take the fight to the monster, but they can stand up, refuse to sit back and let the monster and those who follow it out of fear, greed, or both get the upper hand. Logan is the hero of this story, but, without the normal people propping him up, helping him out, he would have failed.
Logan faces his greatest trial since coming to the main Marvel Universe in this issue, both because of his weakened healing factor and the sheer indomitable physicality of the Maestro, but also from the Maestro’s offer to him. Brisson introduced Maestro to the present timeline in his first story arc on the book, and it was a big surprise. He never explained how Maestro got to the present, but he does here, and it’s this explanation that allows to test Logan with his heart’s desire. Not only does Maestro have a time machine, but a time machine that can move through dimensions. By taking Maestro’s offer, Logan can not only go back to the Wasteland, but also save his family. This offer, not the fight, is the hardest thing Logan has had to deal with, and he makes the only decision that a man like him could make.
Ibraim Roberson and Neil Edwards share pencilling duties on this one. Roberson’s pages have a level of detail that Edwards’ pages don’t, and his Maestro is easily one of the best looking interpretations of the character. Edwards’ pages have an almost cartoonish quality to them, so much so that even the coloring of them feels different. It’s a bit of a jarring tonal change, but Roberson gets to do the last few pages, and the whole thing ends perfectly, a quick, brutal showdown between the two most dangerous old men in the history of the Marvel Universe.
Ed Brisson had some huge shoes to fill when he came onto Old Man Logan after Jeff Lemire left, and he filled them admirably. Like Lemire, he focused on Logan’s character, and used that focus to tell some classic, globetrotting Wolverine stories that felt familiar to long-time fans of the Wolverine without being rehashes of what others have done. Lemire and Brisson made the argument that the Marvel Universe didn’t need the 616 Logan back with this book, giving readers the adventures they loved with a version of the character that was just different enough to make it all interesting again. Old Man Logan never felt like it was trodding the same ground as a Wolverine title would have, even when it went to similar places, and the quality of writing made a huge difference in that. While Brisson’s run wasn’t as powerful as Lemire’s, it was still top-notch and this issue is a perfect exemplifier of that. He expertly uses character to move the plot forward, provides great set pieces for his artists to work with, and scripts a great fight scene. The art quality falls when Edwards takes over, but Roberson and Lopez work together like a well-oiled machine on their pages. Old Man Logan #50 goes out on a high note, setting up Logan for what could be his last adventure.