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Worlds Of Wonder

Published: Tuesday March 4, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday July 18, 2014 MYT 2:22:03 PM

Nowhere Men: Scientific fields forever

Weren’t you in Herculoids? It’s not all hard science in Nowhere Men, with creatures like this weird, craggy gorilla thing spinning out of World Corp’s work.

Weren’t you in Herculoids? It’s not all hard science in Nowhere Men, with creatures like this weird, craggy gorilla thing spinning out of World Corp’s work.

When it comes to smarts, this quartet is more than fantastic, it’s fab – the Fab Four of science!

Nowhere Men

Writer: Eric Stephenson

Artist: Nate Bellegarde

Publisher: Image Comics

“Science is the new rock and roll.” – Thomas Walker of World Corp.

IMAGINE if the Beatles weren’t musicians, but scientists. Imagine that instead of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, they had a space station in the sky with a virus. Imagine a world where scientists are rock stars, celebrated and adored by the masses.

Now, imagine that these celebrated scientists actually ACTED like rock stars, letting all that fame, fortune and power get to their heads, influencing every world-altering decision they make, and basically getting into trouble and making a mess of everything.

That’s the premise of Nowhere Men, which, as you probably guessed, is named after the Fab Four’s song. Dade Ellis, Simon Grimshaw, Emerson Strange and Thomas Walker are four of the greatest scientists of all time, and together, they are the research supergroup World Corp.

Spanning issues #1-#6 of the Image Comics series, this first story arc takes some time to get going, with Stephenson focusing a lot on building a world where scientists are rock stars, and science is everything.

He cleverly divides the story into two parts. The first one focuses on the troubled Beatles-esque relationship between the four World Corp members who changed not just the field of science but also the world. Through the four World Corp scientists, Stephenson explores the topics of ethics and power, how far science should go and where the line should be drawn.

'Are we on The Ed Sullivan Show yet? You haven't really made it till you're on Sullivan.'
‘Are we on The Ed Sullivan Show yet? You haven’t really made it till you’re on Sullivan.’ 

While that part of the story deals with the top of the food chain and how the string-pullers and button-pushers make their decisions, the other part of the story deals with the consequences of those decisions.

High up in the sky is a space station where a group of 12 World Corp staff have been infected by a strange virus that is changing them and giving them new abilities.

Yes, people get superpowers here, but Stephenson wisely chooses not to let their powers define them. There is no “with great power comes great responsibility” epiphany here, just a lot of confused people suddenly blessed (or cursed, depending on how you look at it) with special powers and wondering how to cope.

It’s in the scenes that involve this group of people that Nate Bellegarde’s art really shines through. From a weird, craggy gorilla monster to a woman slowing turning into a black viscous ooze, he draws the fantastical fantastically, and his designs for some of the more out-there creatures are just amazing.

Even with all that going on, Stephenson never loses sight of the main plot. If I have one complaint, it’s that there is way too much dialogue and exposition in the book, but because much of it is essential to the plot and development of the characters, I’m willing to let it be.

Time to meet the adoring public ... even the Nowhere Men need a little convincing (at first) to embrace their celebrity status.
Time to meet the adoring public ... even the Nowhere Men need a little convincing (at first) to embrace their celebrity status.

The world he builds is also staggeringly rich in detail – besides all the flashbacks and exposition in the main body of the book, he expands the world further through extras such as magazine covers, interviews, advertisements and even a magazine poll featuring categories such as male thinker of the year, best dressed female scientist, favourite physical enhancement, and best of all, most wonderful human being.

Now, scientists aren’t usually the most interesting people to feature in a comic (unless they’re Bruce Banner or Reed Richards), but what makes this a great read is Stephenson and Bellegarde’s attention to detail, the Beatles references, and the patient way they reveal the bigger picture. Judging by this first volume, Nowhere Men certainly seems to be going somewhere.

Tags / Keywords: Opinion, Lifestyle, Worlds of Wonder, comics, Nowhere Men, The Beatles, Image Comics, graphic novels

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