Sunday, February 20, 2005
The Original Nexus Graphic Novel
Mike Baron and Steve Rude
First Comics, $6.95, 1985
Nexus has always been one of those series that I'd always heard about, but never got the chance to try. When I found this GN on sale a few days ago I decided to give it a go. This volume apparently, it wasn't very clear, collects the early black and white issues of the series run when it was at the defunct Capital City Publications.
Nexus has an interesting approach early on, distancing the reader from its lead Nexus by having others take on the narrative role and thus only allowing the reader to be an observer to his actions.
Which gives the character a real edge to him. His role of an executioner of some of the most notorious killers and dictators is made unique because of his seemingly complete emotional distance from his actions.
He isn't doing these things for revenge, justice or sense of altruism as heroic leads tend to do. Nor is he doing it for power, thrills or the like as most adventurers. He does it for one reason alone, to be rid of the internal pain.
While only partly explained so far in these early issues, as the book nears the end it starts dipping into what makes Nexus tick through the telling of his origins to an attractive female reporter/love interest.
Apparently to make amends for sins of his father, Nexus is haunted by dreams of the death and suffering of beings across the universe. These dreams bring him great pain and a target he must eliminate in order to have the pain stop for a while, along with the power to do so.
This makes him a more interesting lead than most, because he really isn't a heroic figure in a lot of respects. He's not an evil person, he allows those who he's helped or might be in danger because of his actions to return with him to his moon base. Yet he is quite cold and distant from everyone, and has no overriding compunction to eliminate evil that he isn't driven by his dreams to. As shown when he allows a dictator to live when faced with an opportunity to end his reign.
The mystery of his origin still has lot of explorations left, yet his future is just as compelling. I wonder where things go next and whether Nexus could ever lose the dreams and the pain they bring in order to lead a more normal life. Then I wonder if he possibly should given how much he meand to the universe.
Rude's art has that classic epic feel, that brings that bigger than life universe to life in wonderful detail. Along with compelling emotional details to the quieter character moments as well. His art is clean and beautiful, without all of the unnecessary lines that a lot of artists even today seem to feel the need to add to add weight to their art.
I found the afterword by Baron to be interesting, especially his talk in the back of how hard it is to get readers to try new books and characters even when most of the standard mainstream superhero comics were doing little more than retelling the same stories. This was way back in 1985, but still holds true to this day in the direct market comic marketplace.
I really hope I can find more trades of this series soon, as I want to read more. Any Nexus fans out there that can clue me into how much further, and how many trades, this series ran?