Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 210 (9/1) -- Nexus: Space Opera by Baron & Rude

Everything has its time; we all know that. And that implies that, for any particular thing, there will be a time when it is too early, and a time when it is too late. Nexus, the comic from writer Mike Baron and artist Steve Rude, had a long run, and a solid "time" during the '80s, and then petered out, after the death of their main publishing company, into a sequence of miniseries and then a long period of quiet. By any reasonable calculation, Nexus's time had passed.

But Baron and Rude still had stories they wanted to tell; they wanted to continue Nexus, and, so, a couple of years ago, they decided to publish a four-issue miniseries, Space Opera, under the "Rude Dude Productions" imprint. (Which I suspect is run by Rude, possibly alone -- there's certainly no sign of any larger, or more established, comics company backing them.) From all indications, the miniseries only just barely limped out into comics stores -- Nexus was a major comic with a big audience, once upon a time, but the comic-shop crowd is fickle and changes over time -- and then this collection also landed with more of a whimper than a thud.

That's a damn shame: Nexus is as good now as it ever was, and that was excellent: it's one of the very best examinations of the uses of violence, and particularly murder, in any medium. Its hero wears a distinctive costume for essentially political and theatrical reasons, and has powers from reasonably science-fictional mechanisms -- Nexus is the intersection of the mainstream superhero comic with philosophy and science fiction, and, remarkably, never short-changed any side of that equation.

This collection, Space Opera, collects what Baron and Rude are calling issues 99-102 of the greater Nexus series, and this story does continue as if there was no gap after the last Nexus series -- a new reader could pick up all of the details without too much trouble, but this definitely isn't a new beginning or anything like that. The world of Nexus is a big and complicated one, with a lot of history, and Space Opera doesn't shortchange any of that history and complication.

Space Opera would be a reasonable place for a new Nexus reader to start, if it were easily and generally available. (It doesn't seem to be; I was looking for it for a while before I found a copy.) So I'd still send interested parties back to the beginning, to Nexus Archives Volume 1 (which I reviewed here a couple of years back). But the Nexus series, however you find it, is worth seeking out, particularly if you'd like to see more SF in your comics.
Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index

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