Mike Baron and Steve Rude’s Nexus was one of the first major independent comics back in the hazy days of 1981, and indeed, it’s one of the first non-Marvel/DC comics I remember buying, and I still own issue 3 of the original Capital Comics run with the flexi-disc that had a gloriously cheesy audio version of that issue. 35 years later, I’m glad to see Nexus is still going and that Baron and Rude.
Nexus: The Comic Strip is a great place to start for new readers as it’s a collection of weekly newspaper strips telling the sprawling story of Horatio Hellpop, a super powered assassin in the universe of 500 years in the future. Nexus was that rare beast: a well-told, written and drawn science fiction story with a pseudo-superheroic lead character (Nexus himself is often as far removed from anything heroic as you can get) in a vast story that Baron and Rude built upon over the decades.
The premise is simple. Hellpop dreams of criminals, killers and tyrants across the universe, and his job is to hunt these people down and execute them. Nexus has never been just a ‘killer of the month’ story, but instead has delved into the moral and ethical question raised, and Hellpop himself is often conflicted to the point he questions what he does frequently. Full of pathos, drama and humour, Nexus: The Comic Strip starts with a brief retelling of the origin of Nexus before going into it’s main story which follows the 35 year continuity so Hellpop has a family and is trying to help people with problems rather than just being a killer.
The scripts by Baron are fantastic examples of precise, clear comic book storytelling, and Rude’s Jack Kirby/Alex Toth inspired art is stunning in place. You know what’s going on exactly so there’s not the dreadful sequential art you often see in many artist’s work in 2016, not to mention Rude crams panels full of detail and tiny little gems that constantly makes the story exciting to read, even when it’s just exposition. It’s a joy to be reading Nexus again in the 21st century…
It’s worth a purchase from Comixology just on the strength of Rude’s art alone. Give it a go!