Nexus (along with Sergio Aragones’ Groo the Wanderer) represents the first wave of creator-owned comics and the first successful attack upon the Big Two comic book publishing monopoly. It’s appropriate that both of these titles are still being published today. For anyone who reads Dark Horse’s new Nexus Omnibus Vol. 3 and gets hooked—and you will get hooked—there are new serialized Nexus stories featured in Dark Horse Presents, produced by Nexus’ original creative team—writer Mike Baron and artist Steve “The Dude” Rude.
How do I know you will get hooked? Why should you read Nexus? I can give you seven reasons…
1. The Premise: Mike Baron summed it up in this introductory caption: “The year is 2587. Nexus, a super-powered avenger of murder victims, has been chosen by an ancient alien (The Merk) to be the conscience of his race.” The Merk sends the proposed targets to Nexus (Horatio Hellpop!) in his dreams. Even though Nexus’ powers are practically God-like, the guilt of his situation is taking its toll.
2. The writing is crisp, and even after 20 years, it is still hip and neither dated (except the for the Space Soviets) nor embarrassing. Mike Baron has a terrific ear, so his dialog just hums and cements the characters in the reader’s mind. The overall storyline is always moving forward. It is not just an episodic saga of one mass murderer after another. The best issues are “Claymore”–with the artist as murderer, “Devil Fish”—which finds Nexus traveling back in time to the Library of Alexandria just before the fire, “Planet of Assassins”—in which Nexus sends his two 4-armed security guards off to kill 218 mass-murderers on the Merk’s list with disastrous results, and “Mission for Mary”—in many ways the quintessential Nexus story.
3. The incredible art of Steve Rude. Take the artistic sensibilities of renowned illustrators like Andrew Loomis and JC Leyendecker then add Kirby’s energy and inventiveness, mix in Russ Manning’s beautiful women, along with page designs that would make Gulacy proud—and you end up with pages that are as readable as Carl Barks with panels as jammed full of wit and background shenanigans as Jack Cole. I never throw these names around lightly. Rude is that good. And his imagination seems to have no limits. He and Baron create hundreds of alien races.
4. The world of ‘Ylum (think “Asylum”). Nexus is running a Boys’ Town/Ellis Island planet for anyone who wants a fresh start in a critical and dangerous Universe. It only took about 5 issues before we encountered the first religious conflicts among the refugees.
Andy Mansell lived in Chicago for over 40 years until his doctors advised him that he would die soon unless he got as far away from the land of Italian combo sandwiches and soft serve frozen custard. He is currently growing rather old rather quickly in Charlotte, NC as a member of the Waistline Protection Program. He lives for four things: his family, baseball, opera, and of course great comics. He is also looking for a ride back to Chi-town for just one more breaded steak sammich. He will provide gas, guaranteed. Contact him at this address.