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Old Man Logan #34

by Charles Martin on January 31, 2018

Old Man Logan #34
Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Ibraim Roberson
Colourist: Carlos Lopez
Letterer: Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics

The second half-arc of Old Man Logan's Japanese adventure sees him transplanted to Madripoor and partnered up with a resurrected Mariko. Dirty confession time: I'm a sub-par Wolverine scholar and my Mariko knowledge starts and ends at "she's the tragic lost love, right?" Old Man Logan #34 is all about Mariko, and it paints a sinister (but perhaps too subtle) picture.

I got way too close to nose-diving my rating because this issue fails as an epic Logan/Mariko romance. Then I got a grip on myself and remembered that this story is being told by Ed Brisson. Once you give up the sappy romance angle and start looking for a hardboiled femme fatale, you realize something really dangerous is brewing.

The first scene is a beautifully-illustrated history lesson Mariko gives Logan about an old Yashida/Hand war for Madripoor. After storytime, Mariko is more interested in describing how angry she feels about the Gorgon enslaving her than how much she's missed Logan. Her only concern for OML regards his watered-down healing factor. Why? Because that makes him a less useful ally. What are Mariko's real goals here, and does she see anything besides a pawn when she looks at the hairy old brawler beside her?

The story takes a winding stroll through the sleazy streets of Madripoor to bring Mariko and Logan into a fight with the Gorgon. All three of them are in town to track down the last dozen doses of Regenix, the handy healing-factor-in-a-vial drug the Silver Samurai introduced three issues back. 

Mr. Brisson's script lingers a bit too long on the junkies and two-bit hoods that infest the city, and his main characters suffer from the lack of attention. The big question mark hanging over Mariko's head is sketched in far too lightly, and the generic gangster hanging onto the Regenix before the Gorgon rolls up gets far too much page time. 

Artist Ibraim Roberson and colourist Carlos Lopez struggle to keep up with the grit. While the early scenes do a great job of grinding us into Madripoor's dirty pavement, later backgrounds and palettes get a bit simplistic. That introductory flashback is dripping with delicate colours and ancient parchment texture. The layouts aren't as imaginative as they were under Mike Deodato, but the linework is refreshingly natural; I actually prefer hand-crafted lines to the over-processed stuff Mr. Deodato is pumping out these days. 

Don't pick up Old Man Logan #34 looking for a love story. The straightforward art might fool you into dismissing this as a goodies-vs-baddy comic, and a shallow read along those lines will come off underwhelming. There are much more sinister nuggets buried in Ed Brisson's script. Though unearthing them takes a little too much effort, the questions they raise about Mariko are definitely worth asking.

Our Score:

7/10

A Look Inside

Comments

Charles Martin's picture
Ooh, my first draft was terrible. I was so smug about working out "this is more about Mariko and Gorgon than Mariko and Logan." Like Ed Brisson would do that accidentally and then be mortified when my brilliant review pointed it out.