Issue(s): Nomad #1
The series starts off surprisingly low key for a first issue, but i guess the idea is to set up the formula for the series. Nomad wanders into a town (Seattle), places a classified ad advertising his special kind of help (under the title of "handyman"), and winds up in the plot of the month. He gets a call from a woman, Gloria Justin, who is being blackmailed into stealing information on shipping routes from where she works. So Nomad goes after the guy that is pressuring her, a Giscard Epurer.
Epurer seems to be as good a fighter as Nomad, so Nomad agrees to settle matters by getting the information that Epurer wants instead of Justin having to do it. Nomad leaves Bucky with Epurer while he's on his mission.
The twist is that Justin and Epurer have been playing Nomad; they anticipated him doing Justin's work all along.
But Nomad has made a copy of the information that Epurer wanted, and Epurer will be a repeat character in this series.
And then Nomad is back on the road. A newspaper references what i assume is the Slug in one headline, and sets up the plot for next issue in another.
Like i said, not much too it. And if it wasn't for Bucky, it would all be very dry and dull. It's not terrible, but i don't really see the appeal.
I didn't realize that Nomad's stun discs were made from spent uranium. It might have been too soon for the use of depleted uranium (thought but not proven to be a cause of Gulf War Syndrome) to be considered a health risk, but even at that time i'd think it would seem obvious that it's not something you'd want a baby to be around.
Of course, Nomad's not very health conscious himself. We'll often see Nomad grabbing himself a Mountain Dew in this series. I understand that completely. This website was fueled by Mountain Dew for a long time. I've switched to Mountain Zevia, but the same principle applies. Not much gets done in life without bursts of caffeine.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: In the middle of this book, there is a flashback sequence taking place "six months ago" featuring Henry Gyrich telling Andie Sterman that she has eight months to lead a task force in capturing Nomad. A General Standish, who will later appear in two New Warriors issues, is also in the flashback. But i'm not listing any of the characters since it's all flashback. I don't know why you would put a flashback like this, that has nothing to do with the main story, in the middle of a book. I could see having it at the beginning or the end, but in the middle it's just a false narrative break.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
fnord, you make a good point about how Nomad ended up with his own regular series. I wonder if this didn't come as a suggestion from marketing (maybe Michael or Mark Drummond might have more insight) with the idea that groups of titles or families of titles are a lot easier to sell, market, and have crossovers than individual series.
It's shortly after this time that Midnight Sons was introduced, the X family of books was doing quite well, the Avengers had their niche, Spider-man as well, and then possibly this was a way to give street level heroes like Moon Knight, Punisher, and Daredevil their own family or bloc of titles. The Dead Man's Hand crossover will take place in a few issues time and that crossover, while not including Moon Knight, deals with a lot of Moon Knight concepts like the Secret Empire.
Marvel seemed to be driven by marketing at this time and while I'm not any sort of strategist, it does seem like it's easier to sell blocs of titles that tie in to each other rather than individual isolated adventures.
Posted by: Mark Black | February 23, 2016 1:29 PM
Mark, that's where they're headed in the next few years where the different "families" of books all have their own thing going on. Not coincidentally it's also right around the time Marvel completely goes to shit. I don't think Nomad (title, not character) survives to see it though.
Posted by: Robert | February 23, 2016 2:21 PM
I remember this was launched as part of the Heavy Hitters line, which I believe included Silver Sable's book and Punisher War Zone (and likely some more).
Whatever happened to S. Clarke Hawbaker? I really liked his art, but he only did 3.5 issues of Nomad and not much else to my knowledge.
Posted by: Joe | February 23, 2016 4:03 PM
Close, Joe, it was Big Guns: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/5d/d4/6b/5dd46bfa69ffe9261e1855cc26ffdbec.jpg
Posted by: AF | February 23, 2016 8:33 PM
More on Big Guns:
Posted by: AF | February 23, 2016 8:36 PM
Weird they included Death's Head II in that promo, considering the completely one-sided way the UK titles interacted with the US Marvel-verse. I don't think any were ever included in line-wide, let alone company-wide, crossovers.
Posted by: cullen | February 23, 2016 8:46 PM
Wasn't this in Marvel's "flood the market" stage, too?
Posted by: Morgan Wick | February 23, 2016 9:16 PM
AF, what are the scans from? Marvel Age?
Posted by: fnord12 | February 23, 2016 9:19 PM
Marvel Quarterly Report 1992 (on the flipside of the poster)
Posted by: AF | February 24, 2016 4:01 AM
Also was there a Punisher arc in 1992 where he piled on the pounds like that cover suggests?
Posted by: AF | February 24, 2016 4:03 AM
My wife found this quite memorable, as she has always adored babies. Sensitive tough guy/ eye candy plus baby seems clearly to be an appeal to female readers, or indeed anyone who might enjoy such things. She read every Nomad issue we had! The disposal of Baby May and, at the time, MJ, put an end to her ongoing readership of superhero comics. At least we still had Promethea and the Vertigo line.
Posted by: Cecil Disharoon | February 24, 2016 6:22 AM
What's interesting is that so far i haven't noticed any indication in the actual issues that they are meant to be part of a line or seen any mention of the "Big Guns" brand (i.e. not on the covers, or in the bullpen pages or lettercols). And as Cullen notes, the inclusion of Death's Head II is especially odd. The mini-series, at least, actually included a number of promotional pages advertising the UK sub-universe as opposed to the Big Guns. I do see that DHII wasn't included on the poster, so maybe they weren't too committed to him being a part of it (although Terror wasn't included either).
(I think the depiction of the Punisher is a nod to the bulky JRJR version.)
@Morgan, the question is more why Nomad as opposed to any number of other characters, like ones that have had books in the past (e.g. Ka-Zar) or popular characters that had never been tried out in solo books (e.g. Storm). But to your point, there were just a ton of new books being added at this time, and if FabNic was advocating for it, and if the mini-series did reasonably well, then i guess Marvel was willing to go with it. And as Cecil notes, the book did have its appeal.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 24, 2016 8:13 AM
In hindsight it feels just odd. They seemed maniac, desperate, and relying a whole lot more on marketing over contents than any sane person would advise.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | February 24, 2016 8:44 AM
Fabian Nicieza, writes a million books, and none of them well.
It still baffles me how such a lackluster creator ended up in control of the bulk of the company's output for the better part of the decade.
Posted by: Bob | February 24, 2016 10:59 AM
Are you baffled by the concept that you're not the only reader? Plenty of people (myself included) like Nicieza.
And two ongoing X-Books, New Warriors, Nomad and occasional fill-ins or spin-off miniseries are the bulk of the company's output?
Posted by: AF | February 24, 2016 11:11 AM
I suspect that around the offices he was considered very good for how fast he must have been, considering how much he wrote, and reliable. -He appears to have been a go-to guy when writers abruptly left, too.
Posted by: BU | February 24, 2016 11:25 AM
I like Nicieza's stuff on Nomad and New Warriors and he wasn't terrible when he was on the x-books. While he isn't brilliant, his stuff is solid and he did do a good job of finding voices for characters that heretofore were a little one-note - i.e. Nova, Nomad, Speedball, even Marvel Boy. None of these characters became top-tier characters necessarily, but I would definitely say that Nicieza brought them (and Firestar) to the forefront (with varying results - most of them good.
Posted by: Mark Black | February 24, 2016 12:15 PM
Count me as another reader who enjoyed Fabian Nicieza's writing on Nomad, New Warriors, the Adventures of Captain America miniseries, Thunderbolts, and X-Force beginning in the second year once Rob Liefeld was gone. Nicieza was, in my opinion, one of the best writers at Marvel in the 1990s
The only book where I really did not like Nicieza's work was X-Men, and I really do believe that is down to Bob Harras' very heavy editing and his numerous edicts, things that in those pre-Facebook, pre-social media days most of us readers were unaware of.
Given a much freer hand, Nicieza did good work. His two year run on Nomad is among my all time favorite writing of his. If you've ever read an interview with Nicieza or met him in person, when he speaks of his work on the character of Jack Monroe, it's pretty obvious that it was something of a labor of love on his part. Nicieza clearly put a lot into this series.
Posted by: Ben Herman | February 24, 2016 1:23 PM
Yeah, Nicieza genuinely seemed to have a fondness for Nomad (for whatever reason). He seemed a bit stung that Brubaker killed the character and how he did it in the intro piece for Thunderbolts: From the Vault. But all the while wearing a smile and trying not to outright say he hated it.
Posted by: AF | February 24, 2016 1:42 PM
I haven't read much early Nicieza, except for New Warriors (which I like) and X-Force (which I don't), but later on he does some great work with Thunderbolts, Gambit and Cable & Deadpool.
Posted by: Berend | February 24, 2016 6:55 PM
Fabian Nicieza is to early-90s Marvel Comics what Jude Law was to Hollywood movies a decade later: he's good, but he's not good enough to justify just how much of him you saw.
Posted by: Oliver_C | June 21, 2016 8:11 AM
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