Marc Guggenheim's Nowhere Man could have felt trite as it launched the story of a 26th Century man named Mason, the only man born free of the virus that's engulfed the entire population and made them subject to the Omnimind thought police. There's no crime, and you get brain-fried if you even think of committing one. But Nowhere Man #1 shows some signs of life beyond its premise by illustrating that Mason is not some generic 'chosen one,' but was instead cultivated for this one purpose by his parents - to be invisible to the Omnimind in order to destroy it.
It's still well within the genre conventions, but there's a sensibility here that lends one to thinking this new series will eventually do some interesting things with them. The main plot twist that gives that impression comes at the end, but we'll get to that.
The interesting dichotomy going on with the Omnimind is that, while it may have eliminated violent crime, it hasn't touched corruption, which is evidenced by there still being crimelords, like Tobin, complete with surly henchman Vog, from whom Mason is trying to buy a bomb for mysterious reasons. Mysterious enough that Tobin doesn't trust them enough to pull the trigger on the deal, leading to a confrontation with Vog that leads to the city's first murder in a generation. To the point where the Omnimind's police replacements - known as the Orions - don't have a forensics team anymore to look into it. While it's not clear how Mason survives a fall from a skyscraper, it does tip the Orions off to the fact that there's somebody off the grid.
Interspersed with this are flashbacks to Mason's childhood, and his quietly dedicated father Gavin, who remains dour at the loss of Mason's mother Tara, who apparently died in childbirth, sacrificed to their attempts to breed a child free of the Omnimind virus - represented by the maroon tattoo lines near their right eyes. Lucky for them, the Omnimind has a blind spot where they could attempt this breeding free of having their intentions read - and there's a small island called Montag where a commune of people valuing the ability to be individuals has formed. This is where that eyebrow-raising turn comes in - after training Mason all his life, Gavin's final test to make sure he's free of the Omnimind is to make his son commit patricide. It's twisted, but it's a weirdly touching bit of murder between a father and son, and it's messed up enough to wonder what else Guggenheim has in store in this series.
Artist Jeevan J. Kang does some pretty slick work as well, which is kind of mandatory when you're working in future worlds. The future is almost always slick-looking, and digital effects are much more acceptable in this setting as well. His characters are well drawn and expressive, and he just has a good and solid comic book look to his work here. It's nothing exceptionally stylized or unique, but just because it's standard doesn't mean it's not a high standard. Perhaps, as this series grows, he'll eventually earn the nickname "Kang The Conqueror," which is so obviously waiting in the wings for him.
Future stories are usually pretty cool, and this concept of privacy being essential to individualism will be an interesting topic to explore. Nowhere Man #1 is certainly worth a look.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 8.1/10