Kara O'Connor

Nowhere Men: Making All Their Nowhere Plans

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Someday our planet might be one where the general public is enamored with the greatest scientific minds of our time. A world where it’s sexy and cool to be an inventor and creator. One where celebrity is about science and not about a pop star’s latest scandal. While we aren’t there yet, fortunately this is the world created by Image Publisher Eric Stephenson in his science laden, rock-star adventure Nowhere Men.

Nowhere Men Volume 1

Nowhere Men Volume 1 cover via imagecomics.com

Nowhere Men #1-6
Writer: Eric Stephenson
Artist: Nate Bellegarde
Publisher: Image Comics
Release dates: Single issues – November 2012 to October 2013

Buy your own copy of Nowhere Men TPB Vol. 1 Fates Worse Than Death now!

“Science is the NEW Rock and Roll,”screams the tagline of Nowhere Men, but if only this affable line of the geek soaked story were true. In the near-future, Neil DeGrasse Tyson-types are running the world and they are as cool as Jack White, as smooth as Mick Jagger and as much of an enigma as Kurt Cobain. But just like rock and roll, the magic doesn’t always last.

Nowhere Men opens with our four anti-heroes, Dade Ellis, Simon Grimshaw, Emerson Strange and Thomas Walker banded together (no pun intended) at the mega-think tank of World Corp., each playing their own part in this science supergroup. Alas a break-up heralded by ego, as happens to some of the best groups before them, seems inevitable.

Fast-forward to years later and the massive fame their work has brought them, Stephenson reveals that stardom has finally pushed a wedge between the four brainiacs. When a project spearheaded by the radically minded Simon Grimshaw goes haywire, the company begins to crack at the seams with each man taking a different ethical position.

In a parallel narrative, a twelve-person crew sits on a space station high above the earth. The team begins to suffer uncertain effects of a virus, and changes start to develop in several of the crew members. While the crew’s bodies begin to develop colorful mutations, they later determine that no one (except the leaders of World Corp.) even know they are stranded in space. Grimshaw makes an executive decision to leave them to their fate, and the group must struggle to deal with their new “alterations” all while finding a way home.

The world is fantastically molded by Stephenson who employs Nate Bellegarde to draw his chaotic vision and the highly sought-after Jordie Bellaire to color it. Stephenson does a tremendous job of building a realm of science and celebrity by adding inventive advertising for various projects from World Corp.within the pages of the story. He also cleverly adds articles from magazines like IQ (a witty play on our own GQ), which chronicles Thomas Walker’s “decline from science superstar to gibberish-spouting acid casualty” along with bios of some of science’s up and coming superstars like Esme, the singularly-named and alluringly sexy chief of a rival company.

Most of my issue regarding Nowhere Men revolve around the rather slow release of each book (though the man is helping to run one of the most popular comic publishing companies around, so I should probably give him a break). My quibble is also a testament to how desperately I crave each issue. As a fan of Image, I find its lack of superhero titles to be refreshing. And while Nowhere Men shouldn’t necessarily be classified as a superhero origin story, I find myself rooting for the abandoned crew and wanting to know more about their ever-evolving powers. The representation of our celebrity-obsessed culture is fascinating as well, and I long for a day when science will truly be what’s “hot”.

Nowhere Men Volume One released on February 15th, 2014 and Issue 7 is expected sometime this April. The solicitation contains the cryptic heading “Meet Monica Strange,” She is the daughter of Emerson who makes her only appearance in issue 4 as a painting with the face of…..well, a galaxy.

While Nowhere Men contains echoes of Image Publishing’s own origin story, whether purposefully or not, it also continues to build an excitingly intricate world. In our world, Science SHOULD be the new Rock and Roll and Nowhere Men SHOULD be in your subscription box.

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