Saturday, July 21, 2007

Just Read: Nexus Archives, Volume One by Mike Baron & Steve Rude

Folk are still re-publishing my favorite comics of the '80s, so I'm still re-reading them. (Though I'm waiting for my big Ambush Bug collections -- DC, are you out there? Two fat trade paperbacks, in color, would hit the spot.)

This book, the first of several (I think five volumes are out already, and another one or two solicited), collects the three-issue first series of Nexus and the first four issues of the much longer-running (like, ninety more issues longer) second, color series.

It is both swell and cool, but also engenders a sense of wonder that ourselves and the world was ever that young. (Or maybe it only does that to me.) The stories detail the first appearance and origin of Horatio Hellpop, known as Nexus, the fusion-powered assassin of mass murderers in the star-spanning multi-racial civilization of the 26th century. Most of the major supporting cast -- Sundra Peale, Dave, Judah the Hammer, Ursula X.X. Imada, Tyrone -- is introduced as well, and the general philosophical outlines of the series (to speak very generally: when is violence, especially murder, justifiable?) are outlined. The actual source of Nexus's powers is still unknown as this book ends, but it's fascinating to see how much of the later developments in the series were implied by the very beginnings of the story.

Baron's stories got somewhat better -- and he didn't hit us over the head with deep, serious quotes every other page once he settled in -- but his work was pretty darn good even here. Rude also got a lot better as an artist, but he was solidly professionally and occasionally brilliant even back then.

It's an expensive book, and I suspect it will only sell to people, like me, who already have (or had) all of the old issues. But it's quite swell, and I don't care who knows that I like it.


Jess Nevins said...

I got v1 & v2 as an anniversary present from my wife (bless her!). They hadn't held up *quite* as well as I'd hoped, but I think I'd built them up too much in my mind. Still, by the end of v2 Baron & Rude are hitting their stride, and we're getting some choice stories.

Justin said...

I've also read the first 2 volumes and really enjoyed them. I'd only read some of the stories - I started with Nexus around #40 and was only able to procure some of the earlier issues (none of which I have now). I'm definitely hoping to get to Vol. 3 before the end of the year.

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