By Kiel Phegley
In a post-apocalyptic story, readers measure their enjoyment in terms of fallout. Of course, they don't necessarily mean the radioactive kind as much as the accumulated action that comes with heroes facing the end of the world.
In Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's futuristic WOLVERINE blockbuster "Old Man Logan," that fallout action grew even bigger this weekend when Marvel announced the pair would wrap their eight-part series in the OLD MAN LOGAN GIANT-SIZED SPECIAL. Featuring Logan and Hawkeye's final confrontation with the mysterious super villain President of the United States in the ruined city of New Babylon, Millar promises that "what [Wolverine] goes through in this final issue is the worst ever, and the previous issues just get more and more depressing."
by Steve McNiven
Those ramp-up issues comprising WOLVERINE #71 and 72 feature reveals from the contents of Hawkeye's mysterious smuggling package to the identity of the series' biggest, most powerful villain. And while those ideas build upon the shocking flashback revelations of WOLVERINE #70, Millar admits that all the twists and turns he and McNiven squeezed into the earlier chapters of the apocalyptic story pressed the burden for action into a "giant fight" in its last chapter. And the writer didn't realize how big the story needed to be until scripting part eight:
"It kind of caught up with me, and when I sat down to write it, I thought, 'It'd be good to have an extra 10 pages,'"
Of central importance to the issue will be some of the smaller details that have greeted the series' heroes on their cross-country road trip as well as pieces of Millar's more recent Marvel work.
"There's a lot plot threads running through them all," the writer asserts. "For example you've seen Venom in various forms following the guys around since they started, but you only notice them when they notice them really, combined with the Savage Land dinosaurs. There [are] a lot of things like that tying it together.
"The last two pages of the WOLVERINE special feeds directly into the FANTASTIC FOUR story line [I'm currently working on with artist Steve McNiven], and then you go, 'Ahhhh. Millar's so clever. Look at the way this has all worked out.' That's the plan."
Playing with characters introduced in his recently wrapped 1985 series, the upcoming FANTASTIC FOUR comics will also delve into a place very close to Millar's heart.
"I just really had an idea about them coming to Scotland and doing a little two-parter there," he says. "It gave me some room to play around with some stuff with Ben and Debbie's engagement. I saved that from just being some one-page subplot stuff and gave it some room to breath. That's the two issues that just came out, but the Scottish issues were born from me being purely a patriotic Scot. I just loved the idea of the Fantastic Four interacting with my people. And one thing I love as well is juxtaposing super heroes with real, rural Scotland because you always see super heroes in Manhattan skylines, but you never see them walking through Scottish woodlands in their costumes or boggy marshes. It actually looked great. I suppose it seemed very real world to me because it is my real world, but it's a very unusual environment to set a super hero story in, and it's really interesting visually."
Millar also revealed plans to further develop the story of "Old Man Logan" with McNiven again aboard sometime down the road, noting that they left plenty of room to play in while also joking that they couldn't top their initial run.
"I'll write like 200 pages [of story notes] for every one page you see," he laughs. "Whenever I'm doing something I've got so much stuff worked out, but only a little bit of it makes its way onto the page, but for 'Old Man Logan' I've got everyone's story worked out. I know what happens to the Fantastic Four in that -
universe. I know what happens to Spider-Man. It's all there, and the great thing is that we can play with that in the future. I'd like to come back and do a disappointing sequel."
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