Old Man Logan by the superstar team of Mark Millar and Steve McNiven conforms to that. An out-of-continuity take on Wolverine, Millar pays homage to the central theme of a comic which is to have as much fun as possible while allowing totally wacky crazy ideas to filter in. In fact, it is difficult to envisage Old Man Logan in any other form of literature other than the comic medium.
Set 50 years in the future, a future in which the super-villains have triumphed and have vanquished most of the superheroes, Logan lives in California seemingly settled, with his wife and 2 kids. This is however not the Wolverine of the old. He has not popped his claws since the fateful day when evil triumphed and leads out the life of a seemingly innocuous farmer, struggling to pay rent to the family of Hulk who own the region of California. Logan gets beaten up by the Hulk family for not paying the rent and he is issued an ultimatum to pay up the rent by next month or get evicted. At this juncture, Logan is visited by the former avenger, now blind superhero, Hawkeye who needs Logan’s help to transport a vital consignment to the East Coast and offers to pay him for the trip. Logan agrees reluctantly with the condition that he will not raise his fists on anyone and harm anyone. Hawkeye agrees and the adventure starts.
Its a bleak world that Logan confronts as he traverses across America moving through each super villain’s lair and it takes all of his control not to pop his claws. On the way, the pair encounter all kinds of weird creatures as well as get to face their respective pasts. The consignment that Hawkeye wants to deliver is another part of the puzzle and things take a turn for the worse once the deal is completed. Its pure adrenalin rush after that as Logan takes on the President of the United States and makes a horrendous discovery after an interesting (to put it mildly) mode of transportation back home. And then, its back to doing what Wolverine does the best and it aint pretty (to quote Wolverine).
Old Man Logan as a story has nothing new to offer and in fact, could have been covered in a single issue. However, that is a way of looking at it too simplistically. It is not necessary for a comic to be heavily layered or hold things back from the audience to be successful. Millar successfully crafts an absorbing tale which while offering nothing new still is wholesome fun to read. Some of the concepts are so insane that you actually have to read it twice to believe it and they instantly bring a nice big grin to your face. Examples include the venom symbiote bonded with a T-rex that chases Hawkeye and Logan as well as the depiction of places like Hammer Falls and Pym Crossing. Millar is a fan favorite and he proves it why. Millar packs it tons of fan boy moments, right from the Spider Buggy to who the President of the United States is to the conclusion paying a tribute to the Lone Wolf and Cub.
However, the real star of the show is Steve McNiven. Epic is the best description that one can bestow on McNiven’s pencils. There is an entire Western Spaghetti feel to the art of Old Man Logan and all kudos to McNiven for achieving it. Millar has said often that Old Man Logan is a tribute to the Westerns and in particular to Clint Eastwood and McNiven captures it astoundingly. There even is a shot of Logan wearing an overcoat with a fedora to boot. Double Splash pages in every issue illustrating the wackiest concept that Millar came up with is no easy task and McNiven excels. In fact, Old Man Logan is a wholly gorgeous book to look at. The scene that everyone saw coming right from the first issue, of Logan popping his claws is captured in a brilliant two page splash in a wholly simplistic and innovative manner. Everyone who drew Wolverine before must be kicking themselves on how they had not come up with this before.
Old Man Logan captures the true essence of a comic book of being as irreverent as possible while offering oodles of fun. Old Man Logan is pretty much like a typical summer action extravaganza. Read it for the whole experience and it’s worth every minute of it.