Deep in space, on the planet Ylum, a figure sleeps and dreams. Emerging from his chamber, he speeds through space to deliver justice and death to the criminals of the universe. It is Nexus! Feared and revered, Nexus is something of an anti-hero. While he is powerful, he gets his powers from a mysterious source. He is sent dreams that both tell him who his next target is and also make him physically ill until he fulfills the dream-command.
Nexus was born Horatio Hellpop. His father, Theodore Hellpop, was the general and leader of the planet Vradic. But when an uprising threatened his rule and the planet, he destroys the planet in order to save it. Fleeing with his wife and baby boy, they travel through a wormhole to the planet Ylum. Once there, his wife becomes mentally unstable and is eventually lost in the catacombs below the planet’s surface. General Hellpop is weighed down with the guilt of taking all those lives, but before he can take his own life, Horatio begins to get his first dreams, dreams that tell him to kill his father. While he resists at first, they are too strong and eventually Horatio gives in to their commands, killing his father and becoming Nexus.
Given that the omnibus edition runs 400+ pages, it’s hard to give a concise summary without feeling like one is leaving out a lot. Nexus is supported by a large cast of characters including: Sundra Peel, the spy turned girlfriend; Dave the Thrune, a former slave freed by Nexus and now his right-hand-man; The Heads, people of all types enslaved as just heads but freed by Nexus, who use telepathic powers to run their world; and Ursula X Imada, Sundra’s former boss, who seduced Nexus and bore him twin daughters.
Begun 1981, Nexus established Mike Baron and Steve Rude as cartoonists to pay attention to (they won multiple Eisner awards for their work). Their style pays homage to older comics through the use of a simple color scheme and their choice of action poses. Rude gives Nexus a wonderful, intense setting, with lots of dramatic angles and moody lighting.
Nexus was originally published by a small publisher with inexpensive printing and it shows in this reprint. As is the case with many Dark Horse omnibus reprints, there is no context added. I had to do a bit of digging to find out the background to the comic and when it was originally printed. The omnibus would be enhanced by the addition of some history and footnotes, but it is still wonderful on its own.
Nexus Omnibus vol. 1
by Mike Baron
Art by Steve Rude
Dark Horse, 2012
Publisher Age Rating: adult