After a lengthy delay, Nowhere Men finally returns with issue #6. But was it worth the wait?
The mission statement from the beginning of Nowhere Men has been that “science is the new rock n’ roll”. The book itself, however, has been less rock n’ roll and more VH1’s Behind the Music.
The problem with Nowhere Men is that the characters have never been as interesting in their old age as they were when they were young. As the book opened we got a look at the four men who make up the core of the book, at the beginning of their careers. But it turns out that all of that was just backstory to a weird tale of angry, scheming men who are past their prime and accidentally create a superhero team.
The last pages of this issue flashbacks to the very beginning of these four men’s careers, just before they were at The-Beatles-of-science level of popularity. It’s supposed to a poignant commentary on how much this band has gone through in the years, juxtaposing the youthful optimism of then with how horribly things have gone wrong since then. But, it just doesn’t resonate. The story of what has happened in between then and now isn’t filled in enough to make these moments true. It all rings so false.
We are told they were the world’s hottest scientists. Then we are told they had a falling out. But not really being able to experience this with the characters makes the entire scenario feel hollow. It makes me wonder what this tale would have looked like told linearly from then to now, as we got to experience all the ups and downs of their career. Then the breakup might have resonated more and the current status quo could have actually meant something.
On the other side from the scientists, is the group of superhumans they have created. Too often, storytellers do not give enough attention to side characters. In this case, the side characters have been given too much attention.
This book is filled to the brim with too many characters. This may be another reason why telling this story of the science Beatles in the present rather than the past bothers me. We never got enough time with our main four characters and then suddenly another huge group is introduced.
The action of this issue is thrilling, and there is still enough intrigue in many of the side plots to keep me going for another few issues. But the story is moving at too quick a pace at the moment, making everything feel jumbled and haphazard. A long delay also did no good for a book with this many threads.
But before I can really be invested the band breaking up, I’m going to have to hear a few of their hits.
Eric Stephenson (W), Nate Bellegarde (A) • Image Comics, $2.99, October 16, 2013