Last year, when Marvel Comics first began teasing the return of many of its alternate timelines and major events, they released a teaser image for Old Man Logan, a story Marvel fans haven't seen since the original run by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven ended in 2009. At the time the teaser was dropped, we didn't yet know that Marvel was planning to bring a multitude of continuities and universes together on Battleworld -- including the 616 Universe and the Ultimate Universe -- for the epic Secret Wars event. Now it's clear that the world of Old Man Logan will be part of Secret Wars, and last Friday Marvel revealed that the creative team reviving the title will be superstar writer Brian Michael Bendis (Ultimate Spider-Man, Age of Ultron) and much-acclaimed artist Andrea Sorrentino (Green Arrow, Uncanny X-Men Annual).
“I think it’s the best thing either one of them has ever done," Bendis said of Millar and McNiven. “I think it’s an amazing story. It’s perfect world building. It is filled with imagination. And like almost everyone else on the planet who read the first one I was eagerly waiting for them to do a sequel. Clearly it isn’t going to happen or it would have happened by now. So we’ll do it.”
For those who either don't recall the original story or didn't read it, Old Man Logan is set in a far future (more than 50 years away) version of the United States that's been taken over and divided up among various supervillains, including Dr. Doom, Magneto and the Red Skull, who has named himself President and keeps a trophy room of relics of now-dead Marvel heroes. The few heroes left alive lay low, and Logan's settled down to scrape out what life he can with a new family, until Hawkeye asks him for help. What follows is a cross-country excursion that reveals a dark Marvel future, and a man who can no longer call himself Wolverine.
So, how does that fit into Battleworld? According to Bendis, Logan's quest to make a better world at the end of Old Man Logan will carry over into Secret Wars, as he'll be one of the few characters who really seems to understand something is wrong.
“This is Wolverine as Clint Eastwood in ‘Unforgiven,’” Bendis said. “This is a Wolverine on a desperate road to redemption. But unlike most people in Secret Wars he will have a sense that things aren’t the way they should [be], not like Wolverine and House of M, but Old Man Logan will venture out of his section of Battleworld and into others. On a quest. And he will be one of the characters most affected by the outcome of this event.”
Back when Marvel's full plans for Secret Wars were announced, we were promised a Battleworld where some familiar characters might not survive and some characters we thought we'd lost might return. As you may have heard, the 616 Universe version of Wolverine is dead at the moment, and we don't know how Secret Wars will change that, if it does at all. Could Old Man Logan be a character that sticks around in the wake of Secret Wars, perhaps to mingle with younger versions of the heroes he thought were long-dead? Bendis isn't saying, but it certainly seems like Old Man Logan is being set up here to rise above his little pocket of Marvel continuity and become something bigger.
Secret Wars kicks off in May. Old Man Logan #1's release date has not yet been revealed, but you can check out the cover by Sorrentino below.