Issue(s): Nomad #4
Minneapolis isn't a bad place to live if you can deal with the drugs, guns, prostitution, winters, twins, north starts, porn-rings and freezing cold.
And then on the next page:
It's an even better place if you happen to love that kind of stuff.
Me and Minneapolis go together like slurpees and crack-babies.
Umm, ok. But for issue, #4, there's a twist:
Juneau's not a bad place to live if you can deal with the narrow streets, glacier skiing, sub-zero temperatures, snow, ice and nose kissing.
And then, again:
It's an even better place to live if you happen to love that kind of stuff.
But this time:
Actually, I hate all of that stuff, so me and Juneau don't go together at all. In fact, I want to get out of here before my toes freeze off.
Just thought i'd note that little twist, since Fabian Nicieza made a point to set it up.
Much more important is the first appearance of Baby Bucky in costume.
Nomad is in Alaska because that is where the high tech weapon that has been the object of his quest is located. It's actually on a Soviet ship.
Since he got his start as the Bucky of the 1950s, Nomad has always hated Communists.
Nomad locates the gun and reprograms it.
But baby Bucky's crying gives him away, and he has to flee. He next runs into Captain America.
I've been talking about how i'm not sure how i feel about the writing in this mini-series, but at this point i start to come to a conclusion. Because there is no way Nomad doesn't just say, "Hey, i found an American tech company working on a secret weapon for the US military, and now it's somehow in the hands of the Soviets, plus drug dealers were involved." Instead this is a page full of content free dialogue that ends with the two characters deciding that they have to fight.
I do like the fact that there is no contest between Nomad and Cap. Cap wins, hands down.
And that's taking into account the fact that Nomad cheaply kicks him in the balls so hard that Cap's spine seems to fold in half.
I guess the chainmail doesn't extend down that far.
It's still no contest.
Nomad gets so desperate he considers using Bucky as a hostage, but thinks better of it.
The Superpowers Commission turns Nomad over to a US general (not sure if it's supposed to be General Haywerth, who we saw last issue was aware of what the government is up to here, but i don't think it's him). The general reveals what's been going on. I've been saying all along that the plot of this story is a bit too complex, and that continues with this final explanation. The US are providing drugs to the Soviets because the Soviets want to flood the regions of their country where they are experiencing unrest with drugs to keep them docile. Hayworth implies that the same thing is done in the US.
It also turns out that the drug dealer Safilios is still alive. And he's going to use this gun in Cuba. The Americans don't like Cuba for the usual reasons, and the counterpart Soviet general says that they give too much money in foreign aid to Cuba.
It has all the makings of a good conspiracy story but we've taken a weird and twisty path to get here and it's really all over at this point, so it's kind of pointless. You could have told me that the government was going to give the gun to NASA to play Space Invaders and it would have had the same effect. This isn't what the story is actually about; it's just overly complex window dressing.
Meanwhile, the remarkably incurious Captain America has just wandered off. But luckily the Superhero Commission's archivist, Andie Sterman, is feeling guilty about putting together the psyche profile that said that Nomad was crazy (even though he clearly is, as we'll see!), which is what caused the Commission to go after him. So she goes back to try to help Nomad and overhears some of the conspiracy stuff, and then goes and gets Cap.
This time, Cap offers to trust Nomad, which may seem like a positive development.
And Nomad seems to agree to do things "cleanly", i.e. no killing.
(Nomad also looks remarkably like Winter Soldier in that panel above.)
The Soviets try to use the super-gun on Nomad and Cap but Nomad previously reprogrammed it so that it only works for him. But they are still surrounded. And that's when Nomad freaks out.
And murders everyone.
He then decides "this isn't the way" and smashes the gun.
And then Cap just lets him walk away? With the baby!? Really?!?!??!
I re-read the last few pages a couple of times just to make sure my eyes weren't lying to me. Like, maybe the scene of Nomad killing everyone was all in his head, but in real life he just realizes what he's thinking about doing is wrong and smashes the gun? But no, this really happened.
Even beyond the massacre, there's the fact that Nomad stole that baby. And even if Cap doesn't know that, he surely knows that Nomad should not be running around with an infant strapped to his back. Captain America is dumbly passive throughout this story. Very weird. And a bizarre ending to a story that spent a lot of time building up the background plot without giving the main character anything interesting to really do.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Nomad has traveled from Minneapolis to Alaska by the start of this issue. For this entire mini-series, we have to watch Valerie Cooper's placement, since she's replaced by Mystique in Uncanny X-Men #266.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (7): showAndrea Sterman, Bucky (Julia Winter), Captain America, General Lewis Haywerth, Henry Peter Gyrich, Nomad, Umberto Safilios, Valerie Cooper
Once you accept that Nick Fury is an willing accomplice of the Punisher and that Cap himself is so passive about USAgent's presence in the West Avengers compound, it is not at all strange that Nomad gets a free pass as well.
The MU was very weird from a political standpoint at this time, in no small measure due to the Commission's continued, unchallenged existence.
Posted by: Luis Dantas | August 12, 2015 5:39 PM
I like Captain America wearing a star themed parka over his costume. Reminds me of that golden age comic where Red Skull disguises himself as Cap but keeps his Skull mask on underneath the cowl.
Posted by: Red Comet | August 12, 2015 9:41 PM
"Nomad, what are you doing bringing a baby into battle? Who do you think you are, Jean Grey?"
Posted by: Michael | August 12, 2015 10:24 PM
At this point, I was beginning to wonder if "Fabian Nicieza" was just some sort of Alan Smithee-type of pseudonym writers would use when Marvel tasked them to flood the market with half-assed product or to take over a book after a popular creator was driven off.
The guy was writing a dozen titles or so around this time, and none of them remotely good.
Posted by: Bob | August 13, 2015 12:08 AM
I haven't read anything by Nicieza from this era, but I quite liked him on Gambit, Thunderbolts and Cable & Deadpool... so maybe he gets better?
Posted by: Berend | August 13, 2015 8:54 AM
Fnord, I think the blonde woman in the scans near Gyrich is supposed to be Valerie Cooper, so she should be listed as a character appearing.
Posted by: Michael | August 13, 2015 11:30 PM
Agree, thanks Michael.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 14, 2015 7:17 AM
I think a D+ is way too generous.
Posted by: Erik Beck | October 23, 2015 11:34 AM
I want to defend that story. I personaly liked it (mostly). Nicieza wrote Nomad as a character walking a slippery path between brutal vigilantism (a la Punisher) and more traditional super-heroing (a la Captain America). While he has the inner rage and mental problems to be a mass killer like Frank Castle, he knows that's wrong.
Posted by: Roger | March 31, 2016 4:31 AM
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