Thursday, September 11, 2008
The Nevermen - From 2001
Different is good, right? Well, sometimes. Unfortunately, that can't be said in the case of The Nevermen, by Phil Amara and Guy Davis.
Primary problems with this book are a confusing plot filled with characters on whom no background nor motivation is given (so why should we care about them?), and which quickly creates the feeling that the reader has been dropped into the middle of a very convoluted storyline.
Let's begin with the main characters, the Nevermen; five crime-fighting individuals in hat, trench coat, and goggles, among whom it is impossible for the human eye to distinguish a difference. From the beginning, the reader is treated to various scenes in which one or two of the Nevermen engage villains in battle, for no obvious reason except that they are villains. In those scenes, it is nearly impossible to tell which of the clone-like Nevermen are even involved in the struggle. And, though the story does come together in the final issue, it is a long, baffling ride to a barely-satisfying conclusion. Now, since The Nevermen is supposed to be a mystery, many might argue the merit of this type of storytelling. But background and character motivation does nothing to spoil a good mystery.
Guy Davis' art is one of the few saving graces of this work. His dark, somewhat-sketchy style lends a very menacing atmosphere to the city and it's villains. High marks also go to the artist's conceptions of many of the characters, Manboulian, a chilling villain, much of who's skeleton is exposed, as well as The Murderist, a former Neverman himself, are both visually entertaining. The Nevermen themselves, with their trench coats and strength-enhancing/gadget-laden exoskeletons are an interesting visual blend of pulp detective and superhero.
The art of a comic is important. It is, however, secondary to the story itself. Those wishing to indulge in the empty calories of eye-candy, help yourself to The Nevermen. Contact www.darkhorse.com or your local comic shop for availability.
The Nevermen, Copyright 2000, Dark Horse Comics, 32 pages, $2.95.
Review by Mark Allen