I had a thought. Indulge me.
Mark Millar has a new project coming soon in Wolverine
. It's called Old Man Logan
. It's a future tale, about what Logan looks like, in a post-superhero world. Millar says that he was initially inspired by the superlative Unforgiven
. At first that got me crazy excited, because Unforgiven
is one of my all-time favourite Westerns. I thought I might be reading a Wolverine
comic for the first time in years.
Then I read on. ( cut for spoilers, though I'm sure most of you don't care )
Now, I'm not one to call for fewer mutated freaks in my superhero comics, particularly in my X-comics, but let's face it, this can only end in tears. All criticisms of Millar aside, he's got too many disparate ideas in there to explore in the short time he's alotted - he's too ambitious, and when compressed into a short story arc, it's going to be complete and utter crack. And probably not the good kind.
Still, the idea of doing Logan's Unforgiven
is imho fantastic, and it's what I want to talk about today. Unforgiven
is an old story. Like A History of Violence
, it tracks a criminal who's gone straight, found a family and a normal life. All is well, until some outside force invades their little slice of paradise, and starts to tear it all down. In A History of Violence
, it's a chance encounter with two criminals on the run. In Unforgiven
it's nature itself - the farm is failing, the children are sick, and when an offer of one last job comes along, it's too necessary (not too good) to refuse. Both movies are about how you can't outrun your past, and you can't outwit fate.
There's also the non-criminal version of the story, which you can find in 3:10 To Yuma
and so many other movies. Really, it's one of THE Western stories. It's a story about masculinity, humanity, duty and loss. And if you hadn't guessed, it's a story I'll never get tired of.
Now imagine a many years post-superhero world. Logan has turned his swords into ploughshares and for a time he's happy, until something goes wrong. Something forces him back into the world he chose to leave behind, too tired, too exhausted morally, spiritually and physically to keep on saving the day.
Break him down, and what Logan is, is a cowboy. He's a character type that's very much at home in Westerns.
Logan's abilities, both natural and acquired, are all of the body, they're all very human
- the character is the antithesis of everything technological. So many of his stories have him outwitting technological solutions to the special problem he poses, or having his enhanced senses turn out to be superior to some new gadget. His eternal dilemma is controlling those pesky berserker rages he's plagued with - the monkey on his back is his own animal nature, which constantly threatens to overtake his human reason.
And then there's his character - his affinity for dying traditional cultures, particularly that of Japan; his contradictory needs for solitude, and then human society, just to keep him sane; his personal code of honor, that he's willing to overlook, if the need is great enough; his love of the simple pleasures; his willingness to be talked into sacrificing it all for the greater good, even when he doubts the existence of a greater good.
He's nostalgia, pure and simple. *** Everything about the character recalls to us a bygone era that never was. A time when men were men, and life was nasty, brutish and short. But sometimes, if only briefly, beautiful.( Read more... )