featuring people getting kicked and then exploding. So says European comic superstar scribe Warren Ellis when he created the team. Nextwave is his bastardized brain child of a series, featuring obscure or third tier Marvel characters like Machine Man and Elsa Bloodstone.
More of an art installation than linear storytelling vehicle, Nextwave issues are crammed full of action sequences, with jaded, self aware heroes playing the role of monster hunters chasing down brightly colored villains that make no rational sense. Pythons in Bi-Planes. Giant monkey Wolverine clones. Dinosaurs in smoking jackets. In other words, check your brain at the door.
Even Ellis confesses that there is little substance to the work:
"I took The Authority and I stripped out all the plots, logic, character and sanity... It’s an absolute distillation of the superhero genre. No plot lines, characters, emotions, nothing whatsoever. It’s people posing in the street for no good reason. It is people getting kicked, and then exploding. It is a pure comic book, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. And afterwards, they will explode".
It's part satire, part social commentary, poking fun at the strange areas of the Marvel Universe (and the real universe) while honoring Marvel's oft times oddball history.
Nextwave also has a diehard fan following among the Gen-X & Y set with a target audience of the texting-tweeting crowd, where attention spans are measured in nanoseconds. This book is geared for an audience craving eyepopping visual candy, mixed with subversive anti-establishment behavior. In short: it's not a long read.
Opening the pages of an issue of Nextwave comes with a clause: you're agreeing to throw continuity, and even reason out the window. Nothing that happens in these pages means anything as characters act inconsistently, and there are no rules of physics (as applied in even the most basic comic books) to the point where every issue is a cartoon episode of Wile E Coyote chasing that Roadrunner. Or in this case a sharp toothed koala bear hunting a robot.
Now where have I seen this before?
Speaking of rabid koala bears, Nextwave brings to mind another, older property. It could be argued that Nextwave is nothing more than a reimagined Tank Girl, with a bigger cast of characters, cleaner artwork, and less nudity.
Jamie Hewlitt may have more recognition now because of his work with the Gorillaz, but the creator of Tank Girl is like Warren Ellis, a crazy Brit who enjoys ridiculous visuals...
Known for explosive chromatic eye candy
Tank Girl featured killer koalas and little in the way of plot
with lead characters posing for no good reason.
As artistic endeavors, both succeed admirably, but as storytelling goes, they fall a little flat - and they're meant to. Neither one aspires to be anything more than what they are - a showcase for crazy characters and artwork stitched together with a very thin narrative.
It's no surprise that Nextwave will transfer well to a HeroClix map. It'll be a lot of fun to have Nextwave show up and
their way across a map. I will fight anyone who says otherwise.
And they will explode.