Thursday, September 26, 2013

More Artifacts From Ylum!

In this second collection of Nexus stories from the First Comics years, the saga of Nexus really gathers some steam. The consequences of being the universe's most famous executioner lays heavy on Horatio Hellpop and after killing a Sov general, a lingering reminder of our own times, he goes on a bit of bender. He goes all "Elvis" after surgery which removes his dreams and headaches, but also it seems his will. Nexus is sprung from his ennui by Sundra Peale who reawakens his sense of purpose, and we get to meet the ancient force behind both his dreams and his power. Then an existential threat to Ylum itself forces Nexus to make hard choices about his own life in order to save the thousands of sentients who have found and who seek safety in the refuge world. The final story in this volume is one which bristles with potential for the next volume.

This second volume has a nice arc to it as the consequences of the first story, a classic Nexus story by Mike Baron and Steve Rude,  resonates throughout the volume in often surprising ways. The saga of Nexus is one in which hard choices are often required by all the characters and the consequences of those choices don't dissolve readily. It's a book about power and responsibility, but unlike that other comic about such matters doesn't blink in the face of what those responsibilities entail.

Artistically the book actually picks up speed. Eric Shanower's elegant inks are replaced by a more potent brush by John Nyberg, giving the stories a bit more bite. There are also a few fill-in issues in this sequence, one drawn by Shanower featuring Judah Macabee on vacation and the other a callback issue with art by Keith Giffen which relates an untold tale of Nexus and Judah when they teamed up with Badger beyond the Black Hole.

One downside in this volume for me were the back-up stories featuring Clonezone the Hilarator, a walking talking alliagator who also is a professional comedian and actor. His misadventures written by Baron and drawn by some guy named Nelson (for the most part) are pretty unfunny and actually rather tedious for all their six or seven pages at times. I didn't grok this at all. 

That final bit excepted, not surprisingly Nexus is proving to be a slick and provoking read. This is a superhero who not only wants to make a difference, but must.

Here are the covers, some quite powerful, of the issues in the second omnibus.

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