Artists: Nate Bellegarde and Jordie Bellaire
Publisher: Image Comics
Currently on: Issue 4
"Science is the new rock'n'roll!" This slick-looking book presents a world where the Beatles are basically replaced by a quartet of genius scientists and forward-thinkers, leading to a sort of cult of science, where even "punk gangs" are followers of a certain branch of science. Or to put it another way, it's a close cousin the Jonathan Hickman's The Manhattan Projects (another indie book you should be reading), but the mad science is public instead of secret. I'll admit, Nowhere Men is a very dense read, and as a result, sometimes difficult to follow from month to month. Part of it is that we're following a heck of a lot of characters, including the aging Fab Four and a whole crew of scientists on a space station owned by their World Corp, who are quarantined because they're turning into... not sure. Humanity's next evolutionary state? And of course, there's a conspiracy afoot, or it wouldn't be a comic featuring a corporation.
Bellegarde's cool, designed art looks just technical enough to fit this high-tech world and he brings a lot of imagination to the mutated characters and gear alike. Stephenson takes a page out of Watchmen by including a lot of in-world "documents", like magazine articles, fake ads, and book excerpts, all beautifully designed that deepen the world and give the comic a more cerebral edge than most. It'll all probably read better in trade, but some detail from two-page spreads might be lost in the collection's crease, so maybe the singles are the better product. And yes, this is another example of a comic that feels completely unpredictable.
And it's another comic from Image, which I swear I'm not doing on purpose. Haven't decided what I'll be talking about tomorrow, but I wouldn't be too surprised if it was yet another Image book. It's difficult for an old comics reader like me to come to terms with Image today filling the role imprints like Epic and Vertigo used to, a line of creator-owned books that push the boundaries of modern comics and tell stories quite unlike what the mainstream is doing (perhaps with more of a science fiction slant). To think, Image used to be about art-over-substance and overly-rendered, angst-ridden, teeth-gnashing, ultra-violent superheroes. The company has certainly grown up and I couldn't be happier.