Heroes Con '09: New Girl in Town - McKeever Talks Nomad

Sean McKeever's back writing for Marvel, and the Captain America universe has a new girl in town.

Nomad: Girl Without A World is a four-issue mini-series by McKeever that starts in September, picking up on the story of Rikki Barnes, the young girl who appeared in Captain America #600.

Her image has been advertised for a while now in teasers for Captain America #600 that ran in most Marvel Comics. While fans speculated about who this "female Bucky" could be, it turns out she's a teen hero from another earth, and her story will play out in her own mini-series this fall.

Remembered by some fans as the female Bucky who lived on an alternate earth created by Franklin Richards during Heroes Reborn, Rikki Barnes was recently transported to this earth during the Onslaught Reborn mini-series. Within the pages of Captain America #600, Rikki was shown befriending Patriot, having contacted him in a desire to meet the new Cap.

While giving the character her own mini-series is unexpected, the announcement that McKeever is writing it adds to the surprise, since many fans assumed he was still a DC exclusive writer. But selecting McKeever to write a story about a teen female hero fits his resume, the writer having established himself on teen characters in series like The Waiting Place, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane and Teen Titans.

Newsarama talked to McKeever to find out more about the Nomad mini-series and why he chose to return to Marvel for this project.

Newsarama: Let's start out by doing a little history lesson for people. Who is this new Nomad?

Sean McKeever: The new female Nomad is the old female Bucky, Rikki Barnes, who people may recall from Heroes Reborn back in the '90s. She's from a different earth altogether. Due to the events of Onslaught Reborn, she's now on the 616 mainstream earth. It's very much like her world, yet different in a great many ways. For example, on this earth, the Captain America she knows is dead. And her family as she knew it is not the same. The place where she used to live doesn't exist. It all makes her feel like she doesn't belong. So she's the girl without a world.

NRAMA:  If a reader isn't familiar with Heroes Reborn, will this mini-series still make sense?

SM:  In the first issue, you will find out everything you need to know in a very non-expositional way. That was important to me. I know a lot of people are going to be coming to this character fresh. So we're putting the back story out there in a way that is understandable but doesn't get into all the minutia of how she got here or where she's from and all those little continuity bits. If people do want to go back and find that stuff, it's out there in trades.

NRAMA:  OK, we know who she was, and we know what she finds when she gets here. Who is she going forward?

SM:  It's a big question mark for her right now. What she's trying to do is make her life on this earth as much like the other earth as she can, in certain sense, so that she feels like she's a little more grounded. She doesn't want to become lost in this world that she understands but doesn't know. She's set up a false identity for herself, and she's going to high school because she's found a school where her brother goes to school. It's this earth's version of her brother. So it's not quite the same guy, and we'll explore that in the mini-series -- what her brother was like in her world and what he's like here.

And she also desperately wants to meet Captain America. In Captain America #600, we saw that she wants to meet Cap, and Patriot tells her, well, you're not going to be his sidekick. And he doesn't exactly want to see a Bucky right now.

So those are the two main things. She is operating as Bucky on this earth and desperately trying to meet Captain America, not knowing that he is Bucky Barnes, and she's spending time getting to know her brother on this earth.

NRAMA:  And obviously, she's aware that Steve Rogers was killed.

SM:  Yeah. At the end of Onslaught Reborn, what made her realize she wasn't in her own world anymore was that she saw the old newspapers about Cap's assassination after Civil War. So she knows that there's another guy running around as Captain America and she'd really like to meet him.

NRAMA:  What's she like as a person?

SM:  She's a high schooler. She's a dancer. She was accepted to Julliard, but wound up not going because of the events that turned her into Bucky. She's resilient and plucky, and very thoughtful. We'll explain in the mini-series what turned her into Bucky, but basically, her brother got in with some neo-Nazis and became a skinhead working for the Red Skull, and her brother nearly had Bucky killed. And it was in her rescue by Captain America that she proved herself as a strong hero with strong convictions and fighting prowess. Obviously, she's very acrobatic because of her dance history. She became trained by SHIELD and became Cap's partner.

NRAMA:  This writing gig for you will come as a surprise to many of your fans, who are probably still under the impression that you're DC exclusive. Was it your decision to end that exclusive?

SM:  Yeah, I was offered an exclusive renewal for DC for a couple of years, but I ultimately turned it down because I just felt, at this point in my career, it would be nice to open up some possibilities. I had a great time at DC, but now it's time to see what else is out there. And obviously, one of the things I wanted to do was head back to the House of Ideas and say, "Hi, how you doing? What's going on?" [laughs] This Nomad mini-series came out of that contact.

NRAMA:  Was the Nomad series something you pitched?

SM:  It was from an idea that Tom Brevoort had, based off the Captain America #600 script. He felt like this was an opportunity, and that Brubaker was setting her up to become the new Nomad. And it was worthy of its own mini-series. And he felt that I was the guy for the job.

NRAMA:  She's a teen female.

SM:  I know where you're going. [laughs]

NRAMA:  Well, Sean, one of the things you left behind at Marvel was a teen female comic. Was this something you wanted to get back to? Or were you pigeonholed unwillingly?

SM:  I'm in a position now where the things I want to write are going to be the things that make me happy to write. And it does make me happy to write this. I'm enjoying it a great deal. I think that because it's a book that's a spin-off of Captain America, off of Brubaker's run on Captain America. There's an opportunity to add a little grit to it. And doing a mini-series with one character. After Teen Titans and Terror Titans and Birds of Prey, which was a lot of team stuff, it's nice to write one character with an internal narrative. So I'm finding it enjoyable in a great number of ways, and it's not to do with the fact that she's a teen girl.

NRAMA:  So is this Nomad mini-series going to be a teen drama, or is that "grit" you talked about from Captain America going to make it more like that comic?

SM:  It's not going to focus largely on her school life. It will have her school in it, but that's because the main plot has to do with something that's happening in her school. But her story will be told by way of Captain America, as written by Brubaker. So she's plucky and there's high school, but she's also tough. There's going to be grit, but there's going to be some relationship stuff and emotions. It's a character-driven story.

NRAMA:  There have been a lot of teaser ads for the Nomad mini-series. Has that surprised you?

SM:  Yeah, it's cool to see all those teaser ads for Cap #600 in the books, because I know they're doing that to push the mini-series. It is a really nice feeling. It sounds like Joe and Tom have a lot of confidence in the potential for this to be, while maybe not an ongoing series, but to be a continuing series of mini-series, at least.

NRAMA:  Do you have anything else coming up at Marvel or anywhere else that you can tell us about?

SM:  I have the Ravager co-feature in Teen Titans that is just starting now. And I've got another little treat at Marvel right now, and then there are a couple of other things I'm talking to various publishers about, including DC. But a lot is in the early stages and can't be announced yet.

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