At first, Nowhere Men seemed to be a part of Image Comics’ ongoing exploration into mad science as a subgenre, and it was pretty fun.
But issue #3 has made it abundantly clear that the first two issues were all set-up for this book to fire up what it really is: A huge, sprawling story about mad science and superheroes that’s part X-Men, part Fantastic Four, and part Manhattan Projects.
This is the kind of book where you’ve got corporate intrigue on one page, and then a scientist turned into a gigantic organic tank beating up a bunch of Mad Max-esque hippies and chucking their bus a few blocks away the next.
This book is working on a massive canvas: Eric Stephenson’s script features no fewer than four subplots, taking place across the globe, featuring multiple characters. After last issue, where a jury-rigged teleportation device got a bunch of infected scientists off of a malfunctioning space station, you have a bunch of people, mutated into superheroes by a virus and who are quite possibly infectious, dealing with various problems ranging from the aforementioned hippies to freezing to death. Oh, and the book closes with the implication that this superhero virus is spreading. Oh, and did we mention it’s often very funny?
Nate Bellegarde’s art recalls Moebius, interspersed with multiple tributes to and parodies over advertising from previous decades that’s often relevant to the plot in subtle ways. Bellegarde is that rare artist who can also effectively ink his own work. Jordie Bellaire’s coloring makes the book pop ever further: She does a superb job differentiating all the plots and evoking different spaces, from the dull fluorescence of an airport to the hushed whites of a house turned private hospital.
Here’s a splash page from early in the book that really shows them both to superb effect:
In short, it’s gorgeous, it’s funny, and it’s the start of something that promises to be expansive and unique, even in Image’s catalogue.
Oh, and before we wrap it up, the book’s colorist has a request:
Hey, if anyone buys a copy of #NowhereMen, take a photo of yourself being so happy you have it so I can RT that shit.
— Jordie Bellaire (@whoajordie) January 30, 2013
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