Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Jonas Scharf
Colorist: Neeraj Menon
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Artists: Juan José Ryp, Jesus Albertov
Editor: Mark Basso
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Old Man Logan may be dead (RIP) but his world still lives on in this week’s Avengers of the Wasteland #1, reintroducing Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to the barren landscape of their dystopian future.
The “Old Man Logan” universe, which began as a standalone story arc in the pages of Wolverine nearly two decades ago, has gotten lots of play in recent years. The character himself was transported to (and from) the present-day Marvel Universe following the events of Secret Wars, and he recently made his grand finale in the maxi-series Dead Man Logan. There have also been a number of spinoff tales following other characters in the alternate timeline, Old Man Hawkeye and Old Man Quill. Avengers of the Wasteland is the latest entry in the ongoing saga.
Set some time after Dead Man Logan, we follow a trio of established characters from previous titles: Dani Cage, the daughter of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, who grows up to become the new Thor; Dwight Barrett, the son of petty criminal Turk Barrett, who has adopted the Ant-Man persona; and Bruce Banner Jr., who’s exactly what you think he is. When Doctor Doom (who is still kicking around, because of course he is) causes a whole mess of trouble, it’s up to them to end his reign of terror, and they won’t be facing him alone.
As someone with only a passing knowledge of “Old Man Logan” and the various spinoffs , Avengers of the Wasteland works as a standalone story. Because writer Ed Brisson is relying on classic Marvel iconography with these newer characters (Mjolnir, the Ant-Man Helmet, Hulk’s general vibe) you “get” what their deal is without prior context required. You might miss out on their connections to the wider Marvel Universe (e.g. Dani being the daughter of Cage and Jones, who also grows up to be Captain America in another, unrelated timeline), but in this universe, the idea of legacy isn’t especially irrelevant, so it doesn’t really matter. (This is the timeline wherein Bruce Banner and Jen Walters produce a clan of inbred Hulk babies … ).
Ultimately, however, your enjoyment of this series will depend on your investment in the OML timeline. While it works independently from Logan’s presence, it’s still set in that universe, and it’s fairly bleak like you’d expect a dystopia to be. Having Dani be the ostensible leader of the new Avengers is the right call here; she’s optimistic and hasn’t completely let the Wasteland ruin her. It’s overall not as dark as the original “Old Man Logan” storyline was, but your mileage may vary..
In any event, Jonas Scharf’s art does a good job of emulating the darker, inkier style of previous stories set in this universe, while Neeraj Menon’s colors are similarly muted to match the dusty setting of the Wasteland. I haven’t encountered Scharf’s work prior to this issue, but some research tells me his most prominent works to date have been based in both horror and superhero stuff, which is an interesting pedigree for this story. As alluded to, the OML timeline is fairly gritty and brutal in comparison to the mainstream Marvel Universe, and I wonder if we’ll see more of that aspect moving forward.