Advance Comic Book Review - Nexus #101 Ashcan


I received this Ashcan of Nexus #101 from Steve Rude a few weeks back, just after I moved house. I only just got around to reading it, so I thought it might be interesting to do an advance review for the site. So, without Further ado:

Up for Review - Nexus #101: Space Opera Act Three

Nexus was created by writer Mike Baron and penciler Steve Rude in 1981. The series is a combination of the superhero and science fiction genres, set 500 years in the future. The series was published for many years, with both critical and commercial success. However, in the latter years, Baron and Rude had problems publishing the book, and eventually the series was discontinued due to low sales. Steve Rude announced plans on his message board in January 2006 to self-publish a new Nexus comic series. The first issue of the new series, numbered Nexus #99 was published in July 2007. Several months later issue #100 was published. A entry in the FAQ on Rude’s web site says that #101 and #102 will not be scheduled for publication until both are finished. #101 is finished, and Rude is now working on #102.

This New series departs from the original direction of the series. The original concept was that the lead character, Horatio Valdemar Hellpop, received his powers as Nexus from an alien entity called the Merk. As payment, the Merk required Nexus to seek out and kill a certain quantity of human mass murderers per “cycle”. When the Merk selected a target, Nexus would receive strong headaches and maddeningly anguished dreams of his target’s victims until he did his duty. Horatio was reluctant to act as the Merk’s tool, but continued seeking out mass murderers to maintain his power and his sanity so that be could defend his homeworld, a lunar refuge of Ylum.

This series takes the focus off of the crime and punishment storyline of past issues, and focuses on the lives of the people surrounded Nexus, and events on the planet Ylum. Nexus’ wife recently gave birth to a child, and many anti-Nexus groups are out to kill the child by any means necessary. Nexus finds himself torn between protecting his own family, and keeping peace on Ylum. Ylum was designed as a self-governed refuge for anyone seeking to escape oppression. Originally, anyone was accepted on Ylum, no matter what their species, religion etc. However, this has now generated much friction on the world, as religious groups have begun to clash, namely, the preachy and self-righteous Elvonics. The worshipers of Elvon have made it their duty to destroy worshipers of other religions. Nexus has tried to calm events without directly stepping in to take control, as he never wanted to be a planetary ruler. This approach had been working, but just delaying the inevitable, and at the end of issue #100, the Elvons clashed with Nexus, and the security forces of Ylum.

This issue starts out with the conclusion of that battle, and the events that follow in its aftermath. The United Planets of the “Web” are not pleased with what they see as Nexus’ aggressive actions. the Elvonics are a major power force throughout the Universe, and while many planets would like to be rid of them, the council of the web are very much in their pocket. Nexus is called before the council to defend his actions on Ylum, and is incredibly unapologetic. A decision that he may come to regret, as a large invasion force is dispatched to neutralize Ylum. This issue also clears up the return of the character, Kreed, from the end of issue #100, and sees the return of the fan favorite character, Dave.

There is huge amount going on here, It really lives up to its name as a “space opera”. It has everything from politics, to religion, to family values in there. Everything is deftly handled by Nexus co-creator Mike Baron, and never gets jumbled or confused. I would say that anyone could pick up the Space Opera storyline and read it, without knowing much of the back story of Nexus. The back story would only enrich an already solid piece of work.

The artwork presented in this ashcan is not the final art. It is inked but uncolored, and presented in a smaller format than a regular comic. Even so, the art contained within is some of Steve Rude’s finest, and I cannot wait to see the final product. It is amazing!

This issue is not scheduled to be released until Rude has the final artwork completed on both #101 and #102, in order to avoid the scheduling issues that plagued #99 and #10o. I would suggest that people who have not read the first two issues of the arc to use this gap to hunt down those two issues and read them, as they are both wonderful pieces of work. Or, the lazier people out there might want to wait till all 4 issues are published in trade form next year. Anyway, whatever you do, this is MUST READ material.

Grade: 10 out of 10

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