Nowhere Men is a comic created by Image Publisher Eric Stephenson. Yes the main man responsible for publishing everything amazing coming out in comics right now.
Despite being a successful publisher at Image, Stephenson is also a writer himself. This comic is his own personal story and work. I reviewed the full TPB of the first 6 issues of Nowhere Men and there are many, many things to cover for this series.
Overall, Nowhere Men, a vague term for the cast of characters, relies a lot on world building and mysterious back story that is so infrequent it makes you want to rip your hair out because half the time you don’t know what any character is referring to. The biggest problem this comic suffers from besides the world building is that there are just TOO many characters. In total there are at least twelve spanning two different generations of scientists. It gets draining to keep up with who is who, what their motives are and where their place is in the world of Nowhere Men. The good thing about all these characters is that they are for the most part entirely unique in their look from one another, which makes it partially easier to differentiate. This sums up everything that is wrong with the book.
The story of Nowhere Men spans decades, beginning with a dream team of the worlds brightest and best scientific minds and spanning to their latter years running the worlds most successful company. It shows glimpses of their heyday where they were like rock stars to everyone. The comic was even marketed with the slogan “science is the new rock and roll,” which is quite brilliant to be honest. What all these science guys invented is unclear, but it’s hinted at every so often that each one of them contributed to society in very profound ways. There are these brilliant single page faux ads in each issue for the products that I assume are associated with whoever invented it. Also involved in this story are a new generation of scientists who have been quarantined because they have come down with some kind of unknown transformative virus that is highly contagious. Each scientist begins to change and transform into these seemingly horrific mutations, although, again, not much has been explained as to why or what reason they changed. Also there’s the underlying story of corporate espionage, and takeovers abound because of a disgruntled ex employee or son of the father who runs the company… I think. Because there are so many characters, I’m not positive who is doing what in this story line of the comic.
I think Nowhere Men has tons and tons of potential if Stephenson can just explain everything in a more coherent way and tie the pieces together. Also the book has already suffered it’s first delay with printing recently, which I’m sure didn’t help, but Stephenson I’m sure is a busy, busy man with a lot on his plate.
Now onto the redeeming qualities of Nowhere Men! First off, I think the idea of having all these hotshot scientists doing experiments is great, and could be expanded upon much further if this becomes an ongoing. Second, I love the way this book sort of feels like the X-Men. Each person on this secret science team becoming mutated with a virus and gaining powers is awesome. Again, there’s potential there to make that aspect of the book really shine. And third: the art. Nate Bellegarde draws some amazing panels within this book. All the full-page action and characters are really unique in how they look, and the brilliant coloring work of Jordie Bellaire makes his drawings spectacular looking. The talent of these two together makes for some pretty images to look at. The character designs for each of the scientific crew when they mutate are all distinctive and very cool to see, whether they are deformed monsters or just a color change in eye and skin tone. There’s a few panels in particular where a member of the team is going through her final transformation and basically melts into a symbiote. The coloring and art is fantastic. Also, I should mention the design team of Fonografiks creating all of these awesome and elaborate yet simplistic minimalist designs throughout each issue as an advert for an imaginary product. They also handle the lettering as well.
While Nowhere Men suffers from a few underwhelming plot points and a multitude of confusing story lines and an insufferable amount of characters, I hope this comic can come into its own over the next few issues and really make me look forward to reading it every month instead of letting the issues pile up until I have nothing else to read.