If you’ve heard the phrase “life begins at 40”, forget it. Life doesn’t begin at 40. It ends at 30. For everyone.
This is the basic premise of Bluewater Production’s take on Logan’s Run, which started life as a seminal 1967 sci-fi novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson before making the transition to the big screen in the 1970’s. In it and the several comic book tie-ins that followed, we’re introduced to a post-apocalyptic world where everyone is fitted with a glowing crystal in their hand at birth that changes colour depending on their age. When they reach 30 (and if you think this is harsh, the novel set the age limit as 21), the crystal changes colour to indicate that the good citizens should make their way to Sleep Centres and a temple-like structure called the Carousel and prepare to be ‘renewed’. This euphemistic description of the ceremony that takes place glosses over the fact that what happens is more mass murder than mystical event. Yet, brainwashed by the rulers of their society, most people believe they really are being reborn and don’t consider that the whole charade could be a very twisted way of keeping the population down, and the strain on scarce resources to a minimum. Most people, but not all.
Enter the titular Logan, a so-called Sandman whose job it is to track down people who refuse to go quietly from this life to the next—runners. He’s good at what he does, too. Raised with the sole intention of becoming a Sandman, Logan is one kill away from the record for the most number of retirements. Imagine the Punisher, just armed with Judge Dredd’s Lawgiver, and you’re pretty much there. As you might guess from the title, through a quick turn of events, Logan’s life gets turned upside down, and he finds himself running from other Sandmen, trying to avoid his own unexpectedly early Last Day.
It’s a great premise that unfortunately hasn’t had much luck in its previous incarnations. To tie in with the movie in 1976, Marvel Comics released a seven-issue run, which frustratingly left several plot threads unresolved due to the sudden cancellation of the series. Now I’m normally not a betting man, but I’d still wager that this was due to the fact that a little known sci-fi film called Star Wars: A New Hope was released shortly afterwards. Who needs a Sandman when they can have a Wookiee? Yet another adapatation followed in British kid’s magazine Look-in but then triggered a period of inactivity for Logan and a bit of a dry spell for Logan’s Run fans. In 1990, the now defunct Malibu Comics released two six-issue runs to keep the hardcore fans happy, so you almost have to admire Bluewater for taking on a somewhat problem child in the Logan’s Run franchise. We can only hope that this darker take on the 70’s movie fares better. It certainly deserves to because the art is crisp, clean and perfectly evokes the sterile and rootless world the characters inhabit, the writing is sharp and dynamic, and the pacing of this first issue bodes very well for what’s to come.
Fans of the movie will find that there have been some minor cosmetic changes to the look and feel of their favourite characters (there’s hardly an afro or shiny disco outfit in sight), but what this has done is reboot and refresh the world of Logan’s Run for a new audience: one that you should definitely be a part of.