Alex Wilson writes for Bleeding Cool;
Nowhere Men starts off by following the young, then a few panels later, the old heads of a company called “World Corp.” We then jump to people who have a virus that no one has ever heard of. They have been quarantined and the symptoms range from hands passing through solid objects to mass deformities. This book, published by Image Comics and written by Eric Stephenson with art by Nate Bellegarde and Jordie Bellaire, has a theme of science and exploration of the unknown.
The first issue in this series starts off with three of our four cover scientists arguing about the deaths of two employees who lost their lives fighting a transformed gorilla. The group is divided on whether to go forward with their plans, which are not really explained in the first issue, or to drop the project and cut their losses. There is a lot set up in this issue but not much is elaborated on. We meet a lot of characters with their basic ideas exposed like “caring dad” or “lesbian doctor” but we don’t go deep into anyone in particular. Stephenson seems to just be setting the stage and feeling out the characters, almost like taking them for a test-drive in this introductory issue.
Image Comics always seems to be coming out with fresh and interestingly non-convention ideas and Nowhere Men seems to be just that. It breaks up the monotony of tradition hero books with presenting non black and white characters. Everyone has motivation for what they do and you never get the sense that anyone is evil or good but just simply a person. I applaud Stephenson on this front. His dialog is compelling and interesting, moving the issue along with convey surface character personalities. I usually felt like I was reading enough but I wasn’t being over powered by dialog with the art playing an intricate role in the story telling process. What could be told with the art was show and what needed to be elaborated beyond that was in the dialog.
I don’t think a clear story is formed in this issue. We have around 16 characters introduced but that seems to be all this issue is, an introduction. We somewhat see where our characters are and the problems they face but we don’t see how they got there or even a clear definition of their problems. Problems are referenced and projects are as well but we never get a clear sense of what any of it is. We just know they are working towards something. I’m not saying that is necessarily a bad thing since this is the first issue in a series and introducing a new world is a lofty task. I’m simply saying that I hope to see more story in future issues. I just simply hope to see a more complete background in the coming issues as this constant reference to something that the reader isn’t clear on will get tedious quickly.
Over all, Nowhere Men is enjoyable, although somewhat confusing. The dialog is well written and the art is well done with the Gorilla monster being awesome creature art (I’m a sucker for monsters.) If you’re at your local comic shop and looking for something to try, I would recommend Nowhere Men. It has potential to turn into a compelling and captivating series but the first issue didn’t blow me away. This book, right now, isn’t a must pick up for me. It’s more of a “lets see where it goes.”