Nexus Archives Volume 1 Hardcover – Dec 27 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Nexus is Horatio Hellpop, a young man who grew up in isolation after his parents fled to a planet filled with mysterious technology. As he matures, he begins to have unbearable nightmares that drive him to kill mass murderers—of whom this galaxy has an endless supply. A flashback reveals how Nexus's first dream compelled him to kill his own father, and this larger-than-life tale takes off from there. In the present day, reporter/spy Sundra Peale comes to write a story about Nexus, now a godlike but mysterious celebrity, and ends up helping him liberate thousands of decapitated, telepathic heads, collected by the slaver Clausius to power his plans of domination. Space opera at its finest, the initial story line spins off into a dozen other plot threads, fueling this book's original 100-issue run in the '80s and '90s. Baron's sweeping yet quirky stories recall Alfred Bester, Heinlein and Sturgeon. Rude, one of the most accomplished comics artists of his era, captures nuances of tragedy, comedy and everything in between. Although these earliest issues have rocky moments, like those other writer/artist duos Lee/Kirby and Morrison/Quitely, the Baron/Rude team surpasses anything they have done separately, and Nexus is a masterwork deserving the archive treatment. (Dec.)
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Sf-based superhero Nexus was one of the initial successes of the early-1980s independent comics movement. Raised on a distant a moon, Nexus is haunted by dreams of intergalactic mass murderers that become so unbearable that he is compelled to use his godlike powers to seek out and kill the culprits. The first stories of the reluctant vigilante, reprinted here, show how he acquired his dreadful curse and his abilities, and introduce his supporting cast: girlfriend Sundra Peale, trusted friend Dave, and Dave's son, Judah Maccabee. These early efforts by Nexus' then-young creators are a bit rough. Baron's dialogue can be unironically melodramatic, and Rude's style, an amalgam of classic magazine illustration and superheroic dynamism, has yet to acquire its appealing sleekness. But their powerful concept, which propelled the series for two decades, is firmly in place. Despite a loyal cult following, Nexus was never a huge popular favorite. Perhaps this lavish showcase of the character's earliest exploits sets the stage for a revival. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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The first issues (first published starting in 1981!) are in b&w, the way they were originally printed, but you do get the nice color covers (some are by Paul Gulacy) and then the four-color series kicks in. Along the way Baron's erudite writing style starts to flow and the Dude's art coalesces into something resembling his gorgeous mature work. These are two creators in their formative days coming together to tell the thrilling, philosophical and sometimes hilarious stories of Nexus as he wrestles with his destiny as a man doomed forever to kill mass murderers.
You'll meet Nexus himself, then watch as he pursues killer freaks like Zeiffer Meird and the decapitation-obsessed Clausius. As the story progresses, Nexus encounters the reporter Sundra Peale, who will become his lover, and then the nefarious and compelling Ursula X.X. Imada (plus he learns what the X's stand for). It's a sci-fi superhero tale that quotes William Blake and visually references everything from Dr. Seuss to "Star Trek." All those influences (Baron lists a few in his intro), and yet it's like nothing else.
"Nexus" was one of the indie greats of the 80s, and some of these stories were later retold more fluently by Baron and Rude, but it's worth it to have them in their original, somewhat rougher, form. Wonderful work that only improves along the way.
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