While the character of Old Man Logan has been present in the Marvel universe since ‘Secret Wars,’ “Old Man Hawkeye” #1 takes the reader back to that setting for a prequel to the original tale. Some spoilers follow.
Written by Ethan Sacks
Illustrated by Marco Checchetto
Colored by Andres Mossa
Lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna
AN EYE FOR AN EYE Part 1. The super heroes have fallen. The country has been divided into territories controlled by super villains. Among the wastelands lives CLINT BARTON – one of the few Avengers to survive. But it’s been 45 years, and he’s no Avenger. Trying to eke out a living anyway he can, the former HAWKEYE is confronted with a startling discovery: the sharpshooter is going blind. With time running short, Clint realizes there’s one last thing he wants to see: revenge for his fallen comrades-in-arms.
The first question often raised when any kind of prequel is put into production, is very simply, why? Is there a reason that this prequel needs to exist, is there even a story here to tell? And if this story was important, wouldn’t it have been in the original work in the first place? There is a reason something like Solo: A Star Wars Story has been met with such derision by fans. Do we really need to know how Han Solo get’s his blaster, or how he meets Chewbacca, when he was already so fully formed in A New Hope? For “Old Man Hawkeye” this same question presents itself, and unfortunately, this first issue doesn’t provide an entirely satisfactory answer.
Another question, when it comes to prequels, are whether they can stand on their own, or whether they need the original work for context. In this case, many of the positives of “Old Man Hawkeye” #1 come from the way it able to bring the reader back to the original ‘Old Man Logan’ story, and not from the actual issue itself.
The art by Marco Checchetto does a fantastic job of recapturing the look and feel of that first story. While not aping Steve McNiven, Checchetto uses a very similar style to the original comic. There is a level of detail to everything from the back ground to the figures that is reminiscent of that original story. Along with that level of detail, there is also a certain amount of grit that is associated with the story which brings the reader back into this world. The coloring by Andres Mossa gives everything in the issue the same washed out feeling of the original.
While it may sound like this is all a bit derivative, or faint praise, the art in this issue really does bring the reader back into this world in a way that is incredible. One of the main stars of the original story was the setting, and it is recreated very faithfully here. Nothing in this issue, art or story wise, has the same kind of shock value of that original run, that isn’t entirely a bad thing. While the original relied almost too much on those shocks, this one is willing to be more about the intimate story of Hawkeye, for the better.
However, while it is good that the story is lacking in the kind of needless shocks that have plagued the original ‘Old Man Logan’ run, the story itself doesn’t have much momentum. There are no cataclysmic events to propel the story forward. There isn’t a plot hook. There isn’t even the same sense of subversion that we found in that original story, as we know this world already.
One of the main positives of the issue is how it brings the reader back to the setting of the original story, but that sticking close to what made the original interesting also brings one of the biggest flaws of the issue. “Old Man Hawkeye” #1 doesn’t seem to be willing to set off on its own story in this world. It spends three pages on going back to check in on where Logan is at the time this story takes place, which adds nothing to the actual narrative of the issue.
This issue brings the reader squarely into the world of the original story, and does a wonderful job at doing that, but then it just leaves them there, with nothing to go off of. The art has recreated the feeling of the environment, but the story itself is lacking what made the original so interesting. If the original ‘Old Man Logan’ was Unforgiven staring Wolverine, this story so far is just aimless. I’ve spent much of this review talking about how the issue compares to the original story, because without doing that, the plot of this issue just wanders aimlessly. While there is a bit of time, as the maxiseries is going to have 12 issues, one has to wonder whether it would have been better to create a smaller, tighter story, more in line with what the original tried to do.Continued below
Either way, when looking at the question of whether this prequel was necessary, so far, “Old Man Hawkeye” hasn’t made much of a case for itself. It is an enjoyable ride, returning to the future presented in this story, but the plot is too thin and too meandering for it to be anything more than that.
Final Verdict: 7.0 – While “Old Man Hawkeye” #1 captures the environment of the original series, as a prequel it still has a lot to do to prove it is a story worth telling.