Sunday, March 26, 2023

Nexus Omnibus Volume Seven!

There are eight volumes in Dark Horse's Nexus Omnibuse series, but I acted too slowly to get the eighth and now I'll have to do without. (I almost all of those contents in the original so it's not that big a problem, save to the completist mind.) This seventh volume picks up the misadventures of Nexus and Sundra and the gang after the demise of the regular series from First Comics. The best news is that Steve Rude is back in a big way, partnering again with Mike Baron. These two are the fathers of Nexus, in form and content and the series works best when they both are in attendance. 

The first installment here is a retelling of the origin story. The tale has been told a few times over the decade since Nexus was created, but this one is the most complete and lavish. It also spends a good deal of time focusing on Horatio Hellpop's father, the man who saw that it was his duty to murder millions and the first man to fall to the justice of Nexus. Sundra looks ravishing when Rude draws her. 

This is followed by Nexus the Liberator, a four-part tale by Stefan Petrucha and John Calimee, the first time that Nexus had been produced without either Baron or Rude in attendance. It's still  pretty decent, a story about a world overcome by religious zealotry and ruled by cruel men who proved remarkably hard to kill. It falls into the category of an untold tale since the timing puts it very early in the career of Hellpop's Nexus. This series is outside of the overall numbering of the Nexus series as calculated by Baron and Rude since neither of them contributed to it. 

Then we are treated to Nexus - Alien Justice, perhaps the most beautiful Nexus issues ever created. Three long stories in which the mad Merk sends Horatio packing and signs up new Nexi. First he tries out aliens such as the Giz, the Quatros, the Thunes and the Demons. That doesn't work at all and so he finds four human psychopaths to give unlimited power to. Only their own deficiencies make them less of a menace than they might have been. It's up to Horatio and Sundra to put down these threats and they are given power by another of the Merk's race to do so. But before that there was a tragic story of Nexus and Dave returning to Thuneworld and finding grinding heartache on this dark Seuss-like world. It's easily one of the best Nexus stories ever told, and a game-changer for Dave. 

Then things get a bit wonky as the rest of the volume is filled with non-Nexus features or better sidebar Nexus features. First we are treated to Hammer of God - Pentatholon which stars Judah Macabee. This story by Baron and artist Neil Vokes is a light-hearted romp as our hero tries to win and still maintain his dignity. It doesn't go well. 

Mezz Galactic Tour 2494 was written by Baron and drawn by Mike Vosburg. It's well crafted, but a bit difficult to decode at times. I always like the look of Vosburg's work, especially when he draws women. This is a strange light-hearted entry, but again no Nexus really. 

Hammer of God - Butch has Judah Macabee attempt to join the Gucci Assassin's Guild with the sole mission of finding his long-lost cousin Butch. He succeeds eventually in this three-part tale by Baron and artist Shea Anton Pensa. Pensa is a typical artist of his time, good but it seems a little too standard action comic for my tastes. 

The volume closes out with a offbeat pieced by Baron and Vokes, published by both Dark Horse and First featuring Clonezone.The Clonezone Special is in black and white and brings back the crocodilian commedian who had been the back up in Nexus for many issues. This time he's running a telethon and for anyone familiar with Clonezone's antics, you already know things do not go smoothly at all. This was actually pretty funny as Clonezone is good in small doses. 

I wish this volume had included more pure Nexus material, but I see the logic of including this stuff from the Nexus universe. As I said there is an eighth volume, but I don't have it. so we wrap up my month-long look at Nexus here. Stay out of trouble you all, you never know when the universe might decide to wreak some justice. 

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