In this feature, I ask comic creators that I like a lot to recommend a great comic that they’d like to see spotlighted. They pick the comic and then I write a review of the comic (of course, this runs the risk of them picking a comic that I don’t like, but there’s so many great comics out there to pick from that I find it hard to believe that that will ever actually happen).
I was doing this as a weekly feature earlier this year, but I didn’t think it was getting enough attention, so I figured I would instead do it every day this month, make it a bit of a thing. Draw some attention to these great books being recommended!
Today’s creator is N. Steven Harris, who co-created Aztek: The Ultimate Man for DC with Grant Morrison and Mark Millar. He has drawn many comic books since then (plus plenty of outside illustration work). He most recently co-created (with Robert Garrett) the excellent Ajala: A Series of Adventures. He also created the (Brotherhood of) The Fringe. Steven’s choice is Jerome Walford’s Nowhere Man.
I’ve actually reviewed these comics before, so I’m just going to combine my two reviews into one spotlight.
Nowhere Man is about a police detective named Jack Maguire who happens to share his body with a super-powered agent named Zade. Due to sharing a body with Zade, Jack has super powers, but the more he uses the powers, the easier it is for Zade to take control of their shared body. The first volume is called “You Don’t Know Jack” and has three books in it.
As you might imagine, it is not necessarily a situation that sits well with Jack…
The problem also comes when Jack falls asleep…
Here’s Zade in action from Book Three…
As you can see, Walford’s artwork is very accomplished. He has a great sense of design, as he lays the pages out in a very dynamic fashion. He often makes expert use out of negative space. It’s a really visually striking comic book series. I’m really surprised that one of the Big Two comic book companies hasn’t given Walford a shot – his style like it would lend itself very well to a New 52 series.
The story is interesting, as well, as Walford smartly makes Maguire’s current case one that looks like it will cross between his regular life and Zade’s life. And as you can see above, Zade’s life is one of superpowers and super gadgets, so when you throw “normal” police into the middle of stuff like that, it gets really crazy really fast and Maguire is soon forced to make some very uncomfortable choices.
The person making these choices weigh upon Maguire is his partner and lover, Rose Yancey, whose uncle is Maguire’s Captain (and who seems to have it out for Maguire). Maguire tells the reader, via narration, that he does not love Rose, but it seems like it is case where he is trying to tell himself that more than anything. When push comes to shove, does she mean more to him than he is willing to admit? The Jack/Rose relationship is likely the highlight of the book for me. Especially in Book Three, where Rose makes a difficult choice for Jack, as well. Rough stuff.
The second volume is called All Jacked Up, and it opens up with a striking prologue set at a cemetery…
The rest of the book mostly concerns itself with expanding the world of Zade (and the technology that allows him to “share” bodies with jack and give them both superpowers) and the world of Rose, as she is our point of view character for much of this book.
When Jack awakes, he very publicly reveals his powers and suddenly Rose is thrust into a major fustercluck. The issue ends with Rose about to make yet another difficult decision based on her desire to help Jack.
Walford continues to do a dynamite job with the artwork on this series. He is such a dynamic artist with a great sense of style. The action pieces practically leap off of the page.
It is impressive how well he has developed the supporting character Rose that she’s so able to step in and handle a lot of the heavy lifting of this book. The cliffhanger sure makes you want more!
If YOU want more, check out Walford’s website here, where you can buy all the Nowhere Man books your heart desires!
Thanks for the recommendation, Steven! Steven wanted to recommend Dawud Anyabwile’s latest Brotherman graphic novel, but it isn’t out yet. So also be sure to check out Brotherman for news of when it comes out!
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