NOWHERE MEN #1
Written by Eric Stephenson
Art by Nate Bellegarde, Jordie Bellaire
Release Date: November 28, 2012
Eric Stephenson, publisher of Image Comics, throws his hat in as a writer with Nowhere Men #1. The series focuses on a company founded by four scientists and the moral ambiguity of some of their current work. The first issue doesn’t flesh out a lot of details, but rather drops readers right into the thick of things and current conflict within World Corp.
Stephenson has me hook, line, and sinker with the four masterminds of World Corp. These four men are The Beatles of the corporate and scientific world, and from the beginning, their four personalities shine through. There is a sense of optimism in the opening pages, that these four men could accomplish great things, but also a sense of dread from the very outset…that this venture simply will not work as it could and should. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the corporation and it’s founders, though I’m sure the holes will be filled in as time goes by. Stephenson’s pacing of the first half of this comic is brilliant, giving readers just the right amount of information to keep tensions and intrigue high, while also being succinct and to the point.
In the second half of the book, however, succinct falls off the rails. The second half of the comic focuses on one of World Corp.’s ongoing experiments and the people involved with it. This half of the comic is not poorly written, do not get me wrong, it is just about five pages longer than it needs to be. Nowhere Men is a steal with 30 pages of comic for $2.99, but for me it didn’t feel like that great of value when so many pages toward the end were superfluous. Hopefully subsequent issues will prove me wrong, that these pages are filled with critical information for the plot, but for the purposes of this single issue it felt like overkill. Now this may feel like “who complains about extra pages in a comic?”, and that usually is not me…but the extremely high quality of the first half of the book was brought down by the second half and while I will continue reading this series, my enthusiasm for the story did wane as I waded through the second half.
Nate Bellegarde’s art is strong throughout the issue as he nails the tone Stephenson is looking to put forward. Each of the scientists has a very distinct look and vibe about them, with each character evoking a lot of emotion through their eyes. There are points in this issue where Bellegarde’s art explodes off the page, and I look forward to seeing his work unchained more as the series unfolds. Jordie Bellaire’s colours really take Bellegarde’s art to the next level. She is a fantastic choice to colour this book, and her use of specific colours is the perfect means of delineating time shifts in the story. Bellaire’s Image work of late is showing she is one of the best in the business, hands down, and her stylized colouring of Nowhere Men makes me want to read more simply to view the work she is laying down.
Overall, I will be coming back for more Nowhere Men, without a doubt. The first half of the book was strong enough to overcome the pacing of the second half for me, and I hope my comments about the second half come back to bite me down the road. Stephenson has set up the framework for what could be a really interesting series and has great co-conspirators on board with Bellegarde and Bellaire.