Unearthed: Nexus… now in COLOR!

As promised, True Believers, we now move into the next phase of Nexus… the Next-us Phase, as I never call it… in which we get to see Horatio Hellpop in glorious color!

Steve Rude’s clean-lined style truly lends itself well to color. Les Dorscheid does amazing work throughout this series… as someone who’s just now beginning to understand how color in comics works, I’m amazed he was able to achieve so much. Just the simplicity of assigning hues to differentiate secondary characters from the mains, as above, is an art in itself.

And hey, check out the amazing ‘camera’ view from above here!

And again, great use of silhouette to evoke, not just a sense of mystery, but also as a way to lead the reader’s eye in to this character. Then we push in ever farther in the second panel to humanize Ursula’s character.

But hey, we’re just prolonging the anticipation of one of the greatest characters in comics… enter:

Judah Maccabee, the Hammer! Seriously, go find collections of Nexus and glory in this amazing guy. It’s not our intention here to present every panel of every issue of any comic; these stories are more than worth the asking price. But if this website introduces more people to great comics they might otherwise not have known about, then it’ll all have been worth it in the end!

Also, recognize that cowering table pose?

Steve Rude will always use perspective and camera angle to heighten a scene’s drama and action. Here the focus is drawn to Judah’s hand as it powers up with energy, and the inset panel of Nexus’s hand interrupting it — with accompanying color change! — is perfectly rendered.

And then these two panels that continue the scene… look at how the framework of the dividing wall puts the eye’s focus right where it should be: in the first panel, where Nexus is gripping Judah’s wrist. In the second panel, framing the astonishment of Judah’s face. This is next-level stuff, humans. You just don’t SEE this kind of composition anymore.

Rude also knows when to break panel, as in Judah’s sword above, and the shards of glass in the panel below.

Lothar’s comeuppance was only briefly interrupted. You might think that Rude could have used a more straightforward shot of Judah firing, but by showing him in the mirror, the artist maintains the placement of the characters in the room. His spatial sense is second to none, and it’s something not a lot of comic artists seem to care about.

And I don’t know if it’s in the script, but it’s a nice touch to show the couple on the left’s reaction to the violence. And again, Dorscheid’s colors help the eye visually identify where the focus should first be.

In Judah’s apartment, Nexus reflects on his own culpability for Judah’s chosen profession as “independent adjudicator”. It’s just one thought balloon, but that’s all that’s needed.

Rude’s characters display such natural body language, it’s a genuine pleasure to see. And this is the only nod to Judah’s name that the series gives.

Also of note are Steve Rude’s transitions. You see characters naturally entering and exiting rooms all throughout the series. And look how much he gets out of not even showing Nexus’s or Judah’s faces!

Remember the framing in the restaurant scene? Rude does it again here. He’s so thoughtful about composition it’s kind of ridiculous.

And then, in the midst of all this violence and drama, this bit of slapstick. This has to be part of the actual script, right?

The horrifying moment when Judah returns, headless. And not to detract from the horror, but look at the unusual pose Nexus displays here. You only get this kind of angle when you work from photos, I think. But you also have to have the kind of visual mind that invents this pose in the first place.

And if you don’t get a thrill from this scene, I don’t know what to tell you. But look at the careful attention to detail in the clothing of the background characters, and the way Nexus’s right pectoral tenses up! And I’m not sure, but that red-and-white costumed character behind Nexus HAS to be an homage to Beast Boy, right?

And finally, a look at the cover of the next issue of Nexus, all covers of which were painted by Steve Rude:

It’s a little crude, compared to what he would later execute, but look at the way he leads the eye’s focus from the brightest point to the darkest; from the green guy’s expression to Nexus’s bloodied face and cracked visor.

But we’re done with Nexus for now… honestly, I could rhapsodize about this series for the rest of forever, but this website is about more than this! Drop back in on Monday to see who we’re tackling next! Great Goulessarian… it’ll be fantastic!