5 out of 5
After quite seamlessly establishing the many settings and main characters of Nexus, then sidetracking through a diverting – but admittedly necessary – mid-life crisis for mass murderer-killer Horatio Hellpop, the issues collected in the volume 3 omnibus (26 – 39) hit an amazing streak of forward momentum. We have our background; Horatio has been through enough of an emotional crucible that he can consider the new complexities writer Mike Baron throws at him without, as before, coming unraveled. Sundra drifts in and out, but that drifting has also been built it; Nexus drifts through isolated but amazing and affecting adventures, and that’s also part of the series’ DNA – as well as Baron’s vastly imaginative writing style. But ticking through the background are all of the inter-planetary tensions, with each planet / culture juggled to feel fully alive, even if we only check in with them for a page or so, and fomenting troubles on Mars, on Headworld, with General Loomis’ daughters…
And while it’s a matter of personal taste, I also think it’s best that we say goodbye (if only temporarily) to the Clonezone backups. They’re replaced by Judah backups, some scripted by Roger Salick, and while these are arguably just as unrelated to the main feature as Clone, as Judah pops up in the main storyline, the character just seems naturally more tied to what you’re reading – it doesn’t take you out of the contemplative, rambling nature of Nexus – and I’d say Judah is also more flexible in terms of what kind of story he can be added to versus the ‘Zone.
A lot of guest artists filter through these issues. Some are quite good, some aren’t necessarily a good match, but I’d say the changeups help to remind how damn good Rude was on this book, and how integral his swooping style was to establishing the tone.
An excellent collection that absolutely builds on everything that came before it.