ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Nexus of Nightmares,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Nexus of Nightmares #1

Nexus of Nightmares #1 is published by Marvel Comics and written by Ralph Macchio, with art by Ibrahim Moustafa, colours by Neeraj Menon, and letters by Cory Petit. In this one-shot, Doctor Strange finds himself trying to top his old foe, Baron Mordo, from summoning Nightmare into their dimension.

This one-shot has a very rudimentary plot, especially regarding its characters. A cold open alludes to what Mordo and Nightmare have planned before leading straight into the action. The pacing is slow in the build-up as Macchio spends much of the comic providing a detailed origin story for Strange. The recollection is in-depth and a decent account of Strange’s turn to magic, as seen in early comics and the Doctor Strange movie. While necessary for new readers, especially as a new Strange era begins, it’s a very long segment of the issue and zaps the momentum. After that comes two exciting magical battles as the age-old enemies fight for the sake of this dimension. These conflicts are enjoyable as many of the famous spells are conjured, but I don’t think the scale of the situation is ever truly captured. The fight on the mortal plane has an epic feel, but not the notion of Nightmare’s approach.

The dialogue inside Nexus of Nightmares #1 is very unlike anything seen in recent comics. Macchio’s script has a Stan Lee essence in how it is structured and flows. Each word balloon is filled with descriptions of what Strange is feeling or how important his role as the Sorceror Supreme is. On the plus side, it’s very descriptive, and the classic era from which it stems creates a feeling of nostalgia. However, it could be argued that it is outdated and bogs down the dialogue.

Trying to find out when this comic takes place is a quandary. Doctor Strange’s reflective attitude and the emphasis on becoming the Sorceror Supreme and his origin suggest that it is set in the early days, as he is adjusting to the role. But that is not said anywhere. And if the comic isn’t set in the early days, then this Strange is massively out of character from his modern incarnation. Likewise, Wong is supportive and considerate towards his master, but he lacks any genuine wit or strength. Despite being in the title of the comic, Nightmare is used terribly, only existing really to send Baron Mordo out on his quest.

The art is one of the saving graces of the one-shot. Moustafa brings a rough, down-to-Earth style to the magical world of Doctor Strange. The ruggedly handsome Strange is presented well, and the facial expressions depicted builds an emotional attachment towards him. Both Nightmare and Mordo also look fantastic as villains. The creativity in regards to the spells and the mystical battles is great. Both sorcerors go back and forth like elite tennis players, throwing and countering each other’s spells to try and best each other. But every spell is unique and dramatic.

The colours are pivotal to the storytelling in Nexus of Nightmare #1. As mentioned in the last paragraph, every spell is unique. You can deduce if the spells generate heat or intense cold from the colors alone. The fierce tones that Menon blesses them with are exhilarating to experience. The colours aren’t too overpowering, though, and are a nice fit with Moustafa’s art style. The shades utilised for flashback scenes create an aura and lead to vivid imagery. As for the lettering, the font is easy to read, but fitting so much dialogue in such small areas negatively affects the legibility. 

Nexus of Nightmares #1 is out of place. The plot and dialogue are classic in their tone and structure, which can be enjoyable. The magic battles are visually fascinating, and the art team excelled in creating a Doctor Strange book that looks different. But the slow beginning and the lack of context around current comics prevent me from really developing an interest in the book.  It has the air of an early Strange book reimagined with modern art, but the story isn’t good enough to be embraced.

Nexus of Nightmares #1 is available where comics are sold. 


Nexus of Nightmares #1
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TL;DR

Nexus of Nightmares #1 is out of place. The plot and dialogue are classic in their tone and structure, which can be enjoyable. The magic battles are visually fascinating, and the art team excelled in creating a Doctor Strange book that looks different. But the slow beginning and the lack of context around current comics prevent me from really developing an interest in the book.