For a comic about science, Nowhere Men contains a refreshingly small amount of science. That is to say, writer Eric Stephenson does a consistently great job of making sure the story isn’t bogged down by its subject material. The concept of Nowhere Men is a world in which scientists are given the same pop culture treatment as the Fab Four, and the plot centers on a secret space station where World Corp scientists are studying. The station tumbles to Earth with the added biohazard of an unknown viral infection plaguing the scientists and having unforeseen effects on both scientists and civilians.
As dense as that story could potentially be, Nowhere Men is an accessible comic, which makes it all the more enjoyable. It’s the perfect blend of pop culture and (comic book) science, and though it requires some suspension of disbelief (as most comics do) the homages to the way in which the media treats celebrities and the diverse characters keep it fresh and engaging. Nowhere Men #9 spends a lot of time focusing on the personality and humanity of its characters, rather than their viral mutations, something that is hinted at in the cover. Readers learn more about the surviving scientists’ backgrounds and motivations as scientists, which in turn sheds light on who they are outside of the lab.
While there’s a lot of conversation and exposition happening in this issue, it’s difficult to say how things are otherwise progressing. The pacing is slower in this arc, though it’s not necessarily a bad thing. While the first issues worked to develop a solid profile of each of the four founders of World Corp, the second volume is shaping the newer World Corp recruits into rounded, well-developed characters. Nowhere Men largely offers glimpses of its characters, never focusing on an individual for too long. The discussion in this issue is broken up by short scenes that take place outside of the hospital, as well as another issue of Emi Lenox on Nowhere Men’s meta-comic, The Mixed-Up Adventures of Monica Strange.
Dave Taylor’s art is another constant in the series. His expressions convey extra depth in each character, even in those like Kurt and Susan, who respectively can be described as a cooler-looking Red Hulk and a void that can project thoughts. Taylor is as much a part of the character development as Stephenson as he brings each scientist alive with expressive faces and body language.
While people looking to read Nowhere Men purely for science will be disappointed, the comic continues to be an enjoyable read for its art and themes of humanity. Stephenson builds tension in the waiting, leaving much room to wonder what the endgame will be.
Story: Eric Stephenson Art: Dave Taylor, Emi Lenox, Jordie Bellaire, Fonografiks
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.