Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Nomad: Girl Without a World

I thoroughly enjoyed Sean McKeever's 2005 Marvel superhero series Gravity, which was solid character-driven old-school storytelling that introduced a new hero into the Marvel universe. The series sold poorly, and there was never a follow-up; McKeever left for DC to write Teen Titans and generally seem artistically frustrated, and Gravity appeared in some random miniseries and I think may have been killed off. I moved on.

Now McKeever is back at Marvel and back doing what, to me, it seems like he does best: writing simple, grounded stories about teen heroes. The tortured history of the title character from Nomad: Girl Without a World ties in with the much-maligned Rob Liefeld version of Captain America from the '90s, plus the even more-maligned Onslaught Reborn miniseries, and Ed Brubaker's current run on Captain America, none of which I've read. But McKeever easily sweeps aside all the back story and simply establishes this girl who adds being from an alternate universe to her typical list of teenage woes. This story is, like Gravity, simple and straightforward, and as much about character development as it is about fighting a villain (who isn't all that interesting).

Nomad isn't as distinctive a character as Gravity was, probably because she's sort of a hybrid creation, but McKeever does a good job of giving her a personality of her own and an interesting supporting cast, and the art by David Baldeon is kinetic and fun and just cartoony enough to seem lighthearted while maintaining the down-to-earth tone of the non-action scenes. McKeever, as he did with Gravity, connects the character to the larger universe in a way that makes her seem like part of something bigger while also never letting his focus drift away from his core characters and plot points.

This is the kind of entertaining, simple (but not simplistic) superhero storytelling that Jay Faerber has done on books like Dynamo 5, and that Marvel and DC seem only marginally interested in these days. I doubt sales on this book were huge, and Nomad's adventures will continue not in her own series (which I'd be willing to buy), but in the back pages of Brubaker's Captain America, which I hear is good but am not interested in jumping onto at this late stage. I can just wait and hope that McKeever will get his hands on another teen hero with whom to work his magic.

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