Reviews of trade paperbacks of comic books (mostly Marvel), along with a few other semi-relevant comments / reviews.

08 March 2011

The Quarter Bin: Nomad: Girl without a World

Trade paperbacks and — God forbid — hardbacks are a big risk; dropping $14.99 to $34.99 on material you’re not sure about can lead to buyer’s remorse and bitter, bitter recriminations. Why didn’t someone warn you that Captain America and the Falcon, v. 1: Two Americas was so bad? A sample would have warned you, but you had to order the whole thing.

Well, I’m not made of money either. So I’m trying out that sampling approach in The Quarter Bin. Recent comics that have lower promotional prices, are Free Comic Book Day giveaways, or I have found in that holy of holies, the Quarter Bin, get a quick review and a recommendation on whether it might be worthwhile to pick up the trade. So, without further ado, we have …

The Issue: Nomad: Girl without a World #1 (November 2009, Marvel)

The Culprits: Written by Sean McKeever, art by David Baldeon

The Hook: Rikki Barnes, Captain America’s sidekick from the Heroes Reborn universe, tries to adjust to high school life on a new planet in Marvel’s New York.

Collected in: Nomad: Girl without a World

Nomad: Girl without a World cover

Strengths: McKeever writes a simple, grounded story of heroics from an unpowered teenage hero with something to prove. The story charmingly starts with high school weirdness, then quickly dives into something much darker. Baldeon’s art is clear, attractive, and without any annoying tics; his Rikki looks like a high-school student instead of a pneumatic acrobat — helpfully played by the Black Widow. Nice cliffhanger.

Weaknesses: Potentially confusing backstory for the title character doesn’t really fit with high-school supervillain drama. The scene with Rikki and the Black Widow doesn’t quite work — the Black Widow’s desire to keep Rikki from the new Captain America feels strange. Rob Liefeld artwork on the title page. Gratuitous ass shot of the Black Widow.

Mitigation: Backstory is kept in the background, for the most part. Could be a payoff for the scene between Black Widow and Rikki later in the series. The Liefeld artwork is for just one page, and it makes Baldeon’s work look even better. Ass shot is only one panel.

Judgment: I’m definitely interested in this one. Make no mistake, Rikki’s background is a problem, but McKeever mentions it as little as possible while making sure readers know he still remembers it. Rikki is more down to earth than other Marvel heroes; she has no powers, only training, and it shows in her adventures, keeping her both a lovable underdog but not incapable of winning a fight. I’m eager to know what’s behind the sinister class elections — I’m betting on a junior varsity Hate Monger, but that’s just a guess. And the cliffhanger, in which it’s hinted Rikki might have an ally, is nice as well.

Hardcover, TPB, or Nothing? There’s no hardcover of this one, so that makes it easy: I’ll have to read the TPB.

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