By David Paggi
Trapped in a world she never made!
In the wake of ONSLAUGHT REBORN, Rikki Barnes found herself transported from her home dimension to the Marvel Universe as we know it. As seen in the pages of CAPTAIN AMERICA #600, she's here to stay and making the best of it. Starting in September, the character, who first appeared as Captain America's sidekick in Heroes Reborn, will get her own four issue limited series, NOMAD: GIRL WITHOUT A WORLD, chronicling her ongoing acclimation to her new home. Picking up writing duties on the series will be Sean McKeever, returning to Marvel for his first work in over two years.
"Forget about a 'Man Without a Country,'" says McKeever. "As the subtitle clearly states, Rikki Barnes is a girl without a world
. At the end of ONSLAUGHT REBORN, she thought she was sacrificing her life for her world, and in a way she kind of did. She wound up transported to an Earth where her greatest mentor and friend, Steve Rogers, has been assassinated. Her home doesn't even physically exist. It's a sort of purgatory. She has no one to turn to, nowhere to go. She needs to feel tethered to this world somehow or else she's in danger of falling away."
NOMAD picks up with Rikki living smack dab in the heart of the Marvel U, trying to make ends meet in Manhattan. But if comics have taught us anything it's that life's never easy for dimensionally displaced teen girls, and Rikki will have to deal with problems ranging from the mundane, human kind all the way up to the high adventure, conspiracy sort you'd expect.
"Unable to get a proper job, she's pretty much living hand-to-mouth," explains McKeever. "As shown in CAPTAIN AMERICA #600, she's going to high school, which we'll learn in NOMAD is a part of that need to feel tethered. Not only does the act of going to school help her out in that regard, but this Earth's version of her brother is a classmate as well. He used to treat Rikki like dirt, but here he's a nice guy so she's got a second chance at that relationship.
"Outside of that, Rikki's struggling to find a purpose or role in this world, and she believes this new Captain America can help her with that. However, as CAPTAIN AMERICA #600 suggests, the road to her actually getting to meet Cap will likely be loaded with obstacles. And then there's the strange goings on in her school revolving around the student body presidential election that may or may not be orchestrated by the Secret Empire, an organization with long-term Cap ties."
Of course Rikki will not be the only one treading on familiar but altered ground as McKeever settles back into his Marvel roots.
"Coming back has been very comfortable for me," the writer says. "Even though my two-year absence brought a ton of changes to the landscape of the Marvel Universe, it's still the place that I obsessed over growing up."
As for taking on NOMAD, the decision proved a no-brainer for McKeever:
"It was a pretty easy decision for me, partly because I love [Ed] Brubaker's CAPTAIN AMERICA run and was excited to tie into it in some way. They won't be tying in directly, but my mission is to make NOMAD read and feel like it takes place in the same grounded-yet-fantastical milieu as Cap."
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