Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
Not sure what I was expecting when I went into this story, but I was certainly not expecting what I got from this story. This takes place in an alternate timeline fifty years in the future. The supervillains formed a coup putting aside their differences and masterfully executing a plan that leaves many of the world’s superheroes dead. The ones who do manage to survive go into hiding to survive. There’s one exception to this story—Logan.
Logan lives in California, a place known as The Hulklands, with his wife and two children, and he’s taken a vow never to take another life, never to unsheathe his claws again. Sounds quaint, but it’s far from it. Life is hard for Logan and his family. During the conflict that led up to the demise of the superheroes, Bruce Banner took the side of the villains and was rewarded with California. Now, the Hulk offspring run the land ruthlessly, demanding rent from those who dare to dwell there.
After unsuccessfully trying to come up with rent money, Logan has a violent confrontation with the Hulks. He doesn’t defend himself and his family is spared, but the Hulks tell him that he must pay double rent next month. Logan takes a job accompanying Hawkeye, who is still in rare form, across the country for money. It’s during this journey that we learn more about what happened in this big battle and what led Logan to just give up the fight and live his days in peace.This is a fast-paced story through the wreckage of “Amerika.” Hawkeye and Logan encounter a few familiar faces, such as Emma Frost and Black Bolt, during the story while introducing a few new faces to this bleak world that’s run by some of the world’s biggest criminal minds. In some panels, there was little said, but the art in the panels said so much and really showed how BIG and pivotal this battle turned out to be. It was a visual treat to see how scarred the land was and it leaves readers with so many questions.
The only thing that got annoying was Logan constantly telling Hawkeye that he wouldn’t fight for him, that he wouldn’t kill for him. After a while it became a tired song and dance with Logan, but when Logan finally got a chance to reveal the reasons why he stopped fighting, why he walked away from the mansion and “killed” Wolverine, it’s so poignant and unsettling. Millar managed to capture so much emotion and pain with Logan’s story.
The panel of Logan in tears as he talks about his attempted suicide after the events at the mansion (where Hawkeye points out didn’t work because of his healing factor… duh…) was so sorrowful, especially when he said, “But it hurt, an’ sometimes that’s enough.” There was a simplicity to Millar’s storytelling that really fit Logan and this story.
I won’t spoil the rest of the story. I think this is something that needs to be read and consumed without prior knowledge of the complete storyline to really get into the reality of this new world and let Logan’s life sink in. I read there was talk of a sequel to this, which would be nice if handled with as much poignancy as this one, but even if it doesn’t happen—if it hasn’t already happened—the story ends on a bittersweet note that leaves readers hopeful about what will happen from that point. It doesn’t give you all the answers to the questions it presented in the story, leaving it wide open to speculation.