For nearly two months I’ve been intrigued by the cover of OLD MAN LOGAN #31, since the face of the Scarlet Samurai had been blurred out. But I absolutely love Mukesh Singh’s art, and the cover (even with a blurred face) was enough to make me want to pick up a Marvel book, which if we’re being honest, for the last 2 years have been either good or absolute trash– there’s been no in-between,

Old Man Logan – the man who was Wolverine – is up against a foe like no other…the Hand! Logan’s past comes back to haunt him when a former love drags him into battle with the Hand, who have bolstered their forces like never before. Just when things couldn’t get any worse, Logan encounters the mysterious Scarlet Samurai! Will Logan be able to discover who she is and take down the Hand?

I’m not familiar with Mike Deodato Jr.’s work, so this was my introduction to him. Now, in all fairness, I’m not saying that Deodato’s art is bad, but having Singh’s art on the cover put him at an extreme disadvantage in my opinion. For me, his art is definitely not for everyone, and one of those who fall in that (“not for everyone”) category is me. I felt that it’s kind of flat in the sense that even with Frank Martin’s (colorist) beautiful colors, it still comes off as being underwhelming.

Art by Mike Deodato Jr., Colors by Frank Martin

Like the panel to the right, the colors jump out at you and you can see that there’s going on, but it just doesn’t move the needle for me.

One of the things I liked about this issue was the “loner” vibe Old Man Logan has. It’s intriguing to see time sort of catch up with him, as there’s an essence of misplacement. You can feel it as you know that the character was originally created for the “elseworld” universe he originally showed up in.

Here, despite me knowing he’s been in main-U continuity for a while– since SECRET WARS (back in 2015), Logan feels way out-of-place. I haven’t been on the title since its launch, as I just picked this up because of Singh’s cover, but if this is the way every issue has felt I can understand reintroducing (regular) Wolverine like they did in MARVEL LEGACY #1.

Art by Mike Deodato Jr., Colors by Frank Martin

An interesting plot device with the Old Man version of Logan is his healing factor being much slower. I kind of took that for granted before this issue, and seeing him say, “But that was then. I’m gonna be aching for days,” really put it into perspective.

It’s a characteristic that separates him from his OG version, and actually makes him a tad bit more interesting in my opinion. It takes that somewhat “unstoppable” feeling away, and makes him vulnerable. You can sort of connect to him, as I’m sure that as you get older you notice your body can’t take everything it used to.

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I’m a huge fan of the Samurai and the philosophies behind them. From their armor to code, I’ve always found them extremely interesting, and beautiful in ways. So seeing the SILVER SAMURAI really played into the Japanese tone of the issue, and made me realize how great a Logan movie would’ve been in the settings of like The Wolverine.

The character building for the Silver Samurai in this issue was solid, and seeing him at first in a very antagonist position only to shift more to a– well, neutral at best, showed the wiggle room he had.

And characters who can play in the gray area tend to lend more toward a story than simply antagonists and protagonists because at the drop of a hat they can be what you need them to be.

Art by Mike Deodato Jr., Colors by Frank Martin

SO, I was obviously disappointed that the Silver Samurai was killed off so quickly. You could feel that there was potential for the character to go on further in this arc. He had “legs” to really add plot and perhaps play out to switch from an unexpected ally of Logan’s to an enemy once the arc concluded, but I understand the sacrifice of him to introduce SCARLET SAMURAI. Even though it felt like it didn’t have to happen.

And while we’re on disappointments, I wish we got more of Scarlet Samurai. The cover teased her in a way that made you want to see her and Logan interact. And yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that covers almost never actually give us what occurs in the issue, but man, I really was hoping for something.

This issue definitely wasn’t a mind-blowing one, but in the same breath, it wasn’t a total trash pile. If you remember, I said that there’s been “no in-between” the last two years with Marvel‘s books. Well, I’m glad this finally found middle ground.

This issue is currently in a comic shop nearest you, and OLD MAN LOGAN #32 will be hitting shelves Wednesday, December 20th,

SCARLET SAMURAI Part 2! It’s LOGAN versus ninja after ninja after ninja when the HAND attack! Their new leader has it in for our hero, and the SCARLET SAMURAI is willing to do anything to be the cause of Logan’s end.