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In this second volume of the acclaimed and multiple Eisner Award-winning series, reluctant vigilante Nexus - AKA Horatio Hellpop - sets out with the gregarious warrior Judah Maccabee for a drinking man's tour of the galaxy. They are soon waylaid when Judah, well past the legal blood-alcohol limit for operating a spacecraft, gets the pair sucked into a black hole! But instead of meeting their untimely end, they meet... the Badger?! Meanwhile, back on the moon Ylum, the plot thickens with mysterious ruins, a coerced presidential election, and Ursula X. X. Imada's relentless espionage. The last thing this refugee population needs while Nexus is out of commission is the reappearance of mass murderer Claudius the Slaver, and guess who's coming for dinner!
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In the 1983-85 issues collected here, sf-based superhero comic Nexus began to hit its stride. Scripter Baron's plotlines shucked off standard space operatics and grew wildly original, while his dialogue achieved the archness he had aimed for earlier. Rude's artwork became sleeker and more confident, his storytelling more accomplished. In these tales, Nexus and friend Judah Maccabee embark on a drinking tour of the galaxy, and Judah drunkenly steers their ship into a black hole. Stranded on a bowl-shaped artificial world, they meet another of Baron's creations, the Badger, a costumed crime fighter with a strange but entertaining multiple-personality disorder. Meanwhile, back on Nexus' home world, Ylum, a presidential campaign is underway, and intergalactic spy Ursula seeks out the secret of Nexus' vast power. After returning to Ylum, Nexus considers risking an operation to release him from dreams compelling him to execute intergalactic mass murderers, and Judah sets off into space again in pursuit of Claudius the Slaver. It may sound rather ponderous, but Baron's deft humor enlivens things considerably. Gordon Flagg
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Starred Review. In the second volume of Dark Horse's reprint series, we see Nexus, the intergalactic executioner of mass murderers, ending up in a black hole with his hard-drinking friend Judah and dealing with teenage killers. Baron's scripting balances humor, philosophy and emotion by creating a supporting cast that's just as fascinating as the eponymous hero. The final story doesn't even feature Nexus that much. It's just Judah and a bunch of disembodied heads up against a space pirate, a story as exciting and funny as the tales preceding it. Baron's imagination and wit go along perfectly with Rude's superior draftsmanship. Rude is one of genre comics' finest artists, and every page features his mastery of figure drawing, panel structure and line work. He creates a sleek and elegant look for both explosive action sequences and small character moments. Perfectly melding the elements of humor, high adventure and stunning artwork, Nexus feels like the continuation of the great newspaper adventure strips of the mid-20thcentury, with a larger than life feeling to match. (May)
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