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Nomad: Girl Without a World #2

Posted: Tuesday, October 13, 2009
By: Matthew J. Brady

Sean McKeever
David Baldeon
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Nomad: Girl Without a World #2 arrives in stores tomorrow, October 14.

It's good to see Sean McKeever back in the environs of his excellent previous series, that hotbed of teenage drama Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane. Nomad is a bit different, being a superhero action series that takes place more firmly in the Marvel universe, but it's still spends a fair amount of time in high school, with all the emotions and stresses that come with the territory. Of course, this high school is in the middle of what appears to be a mind control scheme meant to help an agent of the Secret Empire win the student council election, which ups the stakes on the drama a bit. And our hero, Rikki Barnes, is actually a refugee from an alternate universe (where she was Bucky to the Rob Liefeld-created Captain America) trying to figure out her place in the world. That's a lot to juggle, but McKeever seems ready to handle it.

Interestingly, he also seems to be going for some socio-political commentary, as in this issue's action scene that sees Rikki (who has taken over the Nomad mantle after receiving the costume as a gift from an unknown benefactor) take on Flag-Smasher, who has bombed an Armed Forced Career Center as a protest against the United States' "neo-imperialism." It's an interesting political statement, lending itself to one of those fight scenes where the combatants spar verbally as well as physically, and pointing out the ridiculousness of terrorists who make anti-war statements through killing people. And the McKeever contrasts this with the election plotline, which sees students being caught up in a movement for the sake of following a charismatic leader (one who calls for "change," even), without actually considering what they rallying around. It's a strange mix of juvenile stuff like fights and costumes with complex real-world ideas, and it does seem a bit scattered right now, but hopefully McKeever will be able to pull it all together to form a more cohesive statement or theme by the end of the miniseries.

He's got some help from artist David Baldeon, who does pretty decent work with the characters, especially in the fluid movement of the fight scenes and acrobatics, but struggles a bit with characters' facial expressions. They can be a bit exaggerated, which makes the crowds of cheering/screaming students pretty effective, but overdoes things for the simple conversations. He also has a strange tendency to draw Rikki's eyebrows as if they are on top of her hair, which looks bizarre, even if it does allow him to be a bit more expressive with her eyes. The art isn't perfect, but it generally works to tell the story.

It's hard to tell where the story is going here; a plot involving Rikki's friend/brother John (he was her brother in her original universe, but he's not aware of that, or of her status as an interdimensional superhero) makes for one of the strongest moments here, and it's definitely going to come into play later on. McKeever seems to know what he's doing, so hopefully trusting him won't be a mistake.







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