Allow me to paint a word picture of a small part of the last several years of my life.
Whenever I mention how much I like Stuart Immonen’s art, someone will undoubtedly say “Dude, you gotta read Nextwave.”
Whenever I say I’m a big Warren Ellis fan, someone will say “Dude, you gotta read Nextwave.”
When I will occasionally bemoan Marvel putting out more of the same old sh-t, someone will ALWAYS say “Dude, you gotta read Nextwave.”
If I happen to mention that I’m a human who enjoys things that are fundamentally rad, I get slapped with a big old “Dude, you gotta read Nextwave.”
So I finally read Nextwave.
When people talk about hype, they’re talking about the way people have talked to me about Nextwave ever since its untimely demise way back in 2007. I’m very relieved to say that Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. completely lives up to the hype. Having read the entire series over the span of just a few days, it’s easy to see how and why it got the axe. Frankly, Nextwave may have been too good to not be a commercial failure. Or maybe its biggest crime was simply being ahead of its time.
For the uninitiated, Nextwave followed the adventures of the Monica Rambeau, Machine Man, Elsa Bloodstone, the Captain and Boom Boom (formerly known as X-Force’s Boomer) as they travel the world trying to keep one step ahead of the evil Beyond Corporation© and Dirk Anger, director or H.A.T.E. (He’s on the bad guys’ payroll). It’s a perfect comic book. The quick 1-2 issue stories blend together to tell the team’s entire adventure, but every issue serves as an entry point. It’s absolutely hilarious and beautiful to look at. Whether it’s Machine Man’s claims of robotic superiority, The Captain’s absolutely ridiculous backstory or Dirk Anger’s increasingly more elaborate suicide attempts, every issue has something guaranteed to make you chuckle. For example, here’s Dirk Anger playing Russian Roulette with a giant revolver.
If anything, it may have been a little too clever and self-aware. In the current post Hawkeye climate, Nextwave may have lasted a bit longer. But even just a few short years ago, this book was too smart for its own good and Marvel had little patience for low-selling titles, regardless of their critical acclaim. From its fourth wall obliterating recap page to the issue almost exclusively made up of double splash pages (wherein it proudly claims to be the comic book “Wasting Your Money since 2007”), it all may have been too much for the casual fan. It’s easy to see how this wouldn’t be a book for everyone. They printed an entire issue on newsprint in hopes that readers would use crayons to color it themselves. That is amazing. Thanks to the magic of the internet and trade paperbacks, you can get your mitts on the entire run with minimal effort. Where else are you going to go to get laughs, giant monsters, and a Mark Millar slam on the cover?
If you’re in the market for something far beyond the standard super hero faire, yet still firmly planted in that world, get on Nextwave. You’ll never see funnier flashbacks in a comic book. I defy you to prove me wrong. Get it on Comixology or Amazon (soon to be one in the same) and send me five bucks to say thanks. Because dude… you gotta read Nextwave.