Rikki Barnes may have once been the "girl without a world," but the character now has a home.
Beginning with this week's Captain America #602, readers will get a bonus Nomad back-up story in each issue of the series. Following up on the mini-series Nomad: Girl Without A World, the Nomad stories will feature the same creative team of writer Sean McKeever and artist David Baldeon.
Remembered by some fans as the female Bucky who lived on an alternate earth created by Franklin Richards during Heroes Reborn, Rikki Barnes was more recently transported to this earth during the Onslaught Reborn mini-series.
Now the character is firmly established as part of the regular Marvel Universe, and according to McKeever, this isn't the end of Rikki's story. "Marvel has plans for her," he said.
Newsarama talked to the writer to find out more.Newsarama: Sean, for Captain America readers who might not be caught up with the events of the Nomad mini-series, what's going on with Rikki as we pick up her story in these back-up stories?
Sean McKeever: She's gone from being the girl without a world to being the girl without a status quo. She had a place of her own, and she had an identity in a school. Now all of that -- everything but this new identity as Nomad -- is gone because of her run-in with the Secret Empire in the Nomad mini-series.
So where we pick up with the four-part "Conjunction" story in the Nomad back-up, she has nothing to do except try to track down the Secret Empire and put a hurting on them for what they did.
Nrama: If someone didn't read the Nomad mini-series, will they understand why she's doing that?
McKeever: Yeah. It's all explained. She's trying to track down the Secret Empire, and the only lead she has is Mad Dog, who escaped at the end of the Nomad mini-series.
So she's in Brooklyn, hunting down Mad Dog, and she comes across another be-goggled superheroine, Arana. So this is a little team-up four-parter with Arana and Nomad taking on the Secret Empire together.
Nrama: Will the tone of this back-up series reflect the McKeever: series?
McKeever: Yes. I feel, in some ways, the Nomad mini-series reflected the tone of McKeever:. And I think there's even more of a tonal connection in the back-up feature. David Baldeon is still on art, with Chris Sotomayor on colors. Same team. So it's going to be just like the mini-series, except in shorter segments. I'll be really interested to see how well people think it fits in, because Brubaker's Cap is probably my favorite comic right now.
Nrama: You said it's a four-parter. Will it continue beyond those four issues?
McKeever: Yeah, I've been approved for more. We're talking now about what those stories will be, likely mixing things up with a couple shorter stories to keep things moving and exciting.
Nrama: You're in a kind of unique position now because you've written these back-up stories or "co-features," as DC calls them, for first DC and now for Marvel. Is this becoming your forte? Or what?
McKeever: Well, I haven't had anyone else approach me for back-up work, but it is neat to do. And my take on it has been evolving ever since the first chapter of the Ravager story. Telling these shorter serials, your readers have different expectations to be met. And so I find myself constantly thinking about, how will this story read eight or 10 pages at a time, over X number of months? And does it sustain people's interest? I always try to make sure there's some sort of exciting cliffhanger that would make you anticipate the next chapter, which is always the goal of these shorter serials. They're like the old movie serials, in a way. They should have something to really grab you, even more so than a 22-page comic would.
Nrama: I think it's safe to say these are becoming a trend now. Do you think it's something positive for comic book readers?
McKeever: I think it's added value. It's another eight-to-10 pages of story. And for the publisher, it enables them to highlight characters that might not be able to support their own book or that they want to give a trial run, who are in some way related to the main story. So if it's McKeever:, you can do something from Captain America's universe. If Nomad were to end, you could do a Falcon back-up in there, and that would make a lot of sense. It's a chance to have something like Solo Avengers or Teen Titans Spotlight from back in the day without having to worry about roller-coaster sales patterns due to character popularity. I think you can go across the board at Marvel and DC and you can find something that ties into that book and enhances it and gives you more of a sense of that shared universe.
Nrama: Can you give us any idea of what's coming down the road for Nomad? You said something about giving her a trial run. Are there any plans for this character beyond a possibly short-lived back-up series?
McKeever: Well, I was telling people when Nomad #1 came out that it was just the beginning. And I can safely say that the Nomad bonus feature is not the end of Nomad. It's not the end of the road. Stay tuned. I've got plans for her. Marvel's got plans for her. We're going to have something really fun happening later in the year, and I've been busy planting seeds here and there -- and not just in Nomad.