Nexus #4 (1983)

Great Goulessarian, this is a great comic. Early issues of Nexus were full of wonderful art, snappy writing and gorgeous coloring. If things were sometimes a little bit awkward around the edges, they were offset by the cleverness of the whole thing.
In this issue, Nexus, the man who dreams of mass murderers and then must kill them, dreams of a woman who slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people. He finds that she’s living in a ziggurat, or temple tower-shaped building, on a planet mostly covered by water. He finds the woman, and she dies.
Okay, that’s vaguely interesting, but the greatness lies in the exciting ways that creators Baron and Rude fill in the details. Nexus lives on a moon called Ylum, a place for refugees from the galaxy’s wars. Nexus is a hero to those creatures. They call him Great Nexus, idolize and deify the man. Wonderfully, as the series progressed, all of those plot points progressed and became more complicated. First Ylum started filling with refugees, forcing the colony to decide its admission policies, which then forced politics to enter the picture. The adulation of Nexus changed as the series progresses, too, as he often lost face with the people of Ylum. The story progressed in interesting and unpredictable ways, just like real life.
Anyway, Nexus leaves Ylum and travels to the water world. First, he tries to be the heroic alpha male, attacking the ziggurat. But it turns out that the attack would deplete the planet’s sun, so Nexus has to commune with the planet’s dwellers, some very intelligent frogs, to help him decide what to do.
And on and on the comic goes. We see the heads encased like President Nixon on Futuarama, except they have amazing kinetic powers, and we see the old murderer take a heroic end after a wonderful conversation between her and Nexus.
None of this would work without the magnificent art of Steve Rude. Even at this early point in his career, Rude’s art was gorgeous, with its clean lines, wonderful composition and thoughtful fanboy love. Rude’s art is pure energy and intelligence, a perfect match for the story.
I guess Dark Horse is collecting these early issues of Nexus in Archive-type books. Great. They deserve it.

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