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On the distant moon of Ylum, an enigmatic man is plagued by nightmares. He is forced to dream of the past. He dreams of real-life butchers and tyrants, and what they have done. And then he finds them, and kills them. The year is 2841, and this man is Nexus, a godlike figure who acts as judge, jury, and executioner for the vile criminals who appear in his dreams. He claims to kill in self-defense, but why? Where do the visions come from, and where did he get his powers? Though a hero to many, does he have any real moral code? These are but some of the questions that reporter Sundra Peale hopes to have answered.
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Starred Review. Nexus is Horatio Hellpop, a young man who grew up in isolation after his parents fled to a planet filled with mysterious technology. As he matures, he begins to have unbearable nightmares that drive him to kill mass murderers—of whom this galaxy has an endless supply. A flashback reveals how Nexus's first dream compelled him to kill his own father, and this larger-than-life tale takes off from there. In the present day, reporter/spy Sundra Peale comes to write a story about Nexus, now a godlike but mysterious celebrity, and ends up helping him liberate thousands of decapitated, telepathic heads, collected by the slaver Clausius to power his plans of domination. Space opera at its finest, the initial story line spins off into a dozen other plot threads, fueling this book's original 100-issue run in the '80s and '90s. Baron's sweeping yet quirky stories recall Alfred Bester, Heinlein and Sturgeon. Rude, one of the most accomplished comics artists of his era, captures nuances of tragedy, comedy and everything in between. Although these earliest issues have rocky moments, like those other writer/artist duos Lee/Kirby and Morrison/Quitely, the Baron/Rude team surpasses anything they have done separately, and Nexus is a masterwork deserving the archive treatment. (Dec.)
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Sf-based superhero Nexus was one of the initial successes of the early-1980s independent comics movement. Raised on a distant a moon, Nexus is haunted by dreams of intergalactic mass murderers that become so unbearable that he is compelled to use his godlike powers to seek out and kill the culprits. The first stories of the reluctant vigilante, reprinted here, show how he acquired his dreadful curse and his abilities, and introduce his supporting cast: girlfriend Sundra Peale, trusted friend Dave, and Dave's son, Judah Maccabee. These early efforts by Nexus' then-young creators are a bit rough. Baron's dialogue can be unironically melodramatic, and Rude's style, an amalgam of classic magazine illustration and superheroic dynamism, has yet to acquire its appealing sleekness. But their powerful concept, which propelled the series for two decades, is firmly in place. Despite a loyal cult following, Nexus was never a huge popular favorite. Perhaps this lavish showcase of the character's earliest exploits sets the stage for a revival. Gordon Flagg
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