Saturday, July 28, 2007

Comic Book Review

The 1980s was a great time to be a comics fan. The new direct sale market allowed many small publishers to get their product into comic book stores without the large outlay of cash required for newsstand distribution. A lot of crappy comics got published, but for those of us willing to sort the wheat from the chaff there were finally books that presented an alternative in a market that had been dominated by Marvel and DC. One of the absolute best of this bunch was Mike Baron and Steve Rude's Nexus. The book was initially published by Capital Comics, then First Comics, Dark Horse, and now artist Steve Rude is self-publishing through his Rude Dude Productions imprint.

This is the first of a four issue mini-series, but the book also carries over the numbering from the last Dark Horse issue from ten years ago, making this also the 99th issue. Nexus is a fusion-powered assassin who targets mass murderers. His home base on a moon called Ylum has become a place where sentients of many species can seek asylum from tyranny. Nexus's long time companion Sundra Peale is about to give birth to the couple's first child. Nexus, however, has garnered many enemies over the course of 99 issues, and several nefarious looking villains of varying species are plotting the death of the unborn child. There is unrest between a pair of fanatical religious sects called the Alvonites and the Elvonites, and President Tyrone is hard pressed to keep the peace without Nexus backing him up.

Seeing these characters again after so long is like running into old and dear friends you never expected to see again. We've yet to get reacquainted with Dave of Thune and his son Fred, better known as The Hammer, and I'm hoping Baron and Rude are saving that pleasure for next issue. Many of the early issues of Nexus carried a quote from science fiction author Harlan Ellison that said Nexus "glows with originality." It was truly unique in its day, and it's still a great read. I eagerly await the second installment of Space Opera.

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