Or – “Worldmind Is A Fickle Omniscient Computer Program, Isn’t It?”


Reviewing Green Lantern and Nova back to back was an accidental decision, but one that ends up illustrating both the similarities between the characters, and the differences in direction of the respective concepts. Heck, if you really want to overthink it, you can use it as a metaphor for the big two comics companies: Green Lantern is about togetherness, about the gestalt, the Corps coming together against their opposite number much as DC’s characters are being forced to work together building up to Final Crisis. Nova is about the individual, the last survivor struggling alone in the ashes of a great war, muddling along as best he can, much as Marvel’s entire universe continues butting heads and fighting each other as much as any external threats. Neither approach can be said to be wrong, but they lead to very different takes on the same theme: interstellar war.

Nova1.jpgPreviously, on Nova: Richard Ryder is the last of the Nova Corps, empowered with the entire world shattering force of every Centurion that once patrolled the galaxy. Having defeated the hordes of Annihilus with a little help from his friends, (Star-Lord, Gamora, Ronan the Accuser, Super-Skrull, The Silver Surfer, Moondragon, and indeed, most of Marvel’s space-type heroes) Rich found himself overwhelmed by the sheer number of distress calls coming in for Nova Corps help. On the advice of the Xandarian Worldmind (a computer that resides within his head, along with the combined knowledge of the entire planet Xandar) Richard takes a vacation, heading home to Queens. Interaction with old friends, old enemies, the director of SHIELD and his non-comprehending parents leaves him depressed, but a sneak attack by Diamondhead leads to the involvement of the Thunderbolts, and Rich’s depression turns to rage. When T-bolt Penance is revealed to be his old pal “Toothpick” Robbie Baldwin, (the former freewheeling New Warrior called Speedball) it finally convinces young Mr. Rider that Earth holds nothing more for him, and he returns to space to respond to a distress call from the Kree, a blue-skinned alien race best known for spawning Captain Marvel and Young Avenger Hulkling. Encountering (and dismembering) a robot Sentry, Nova is shocked when a second attack follows immediately…


Nova can’t believe that anyone could have swooped in so quickly, and wonders who could have capitalized on the damage from the Annihilation Wave, but another Kree Sentry appears, then a whole squadron of them teleports into his airspace. “We are under attack!” says Worldmind, as Rich plows through the first armada of robots. “Not much gets past you, does it, Worldmind?” Heh. Worldmind corrects him (as it pretty much always does) informing him that the physical pounding of the Sentries doesn’t concern it, but the more subtle attack they’re carrying does.


“Okay… The what?” Worldmind doesn’t sigh, but you can almost hear it wanting to, and muttering something about how Nova’s just going to float around in the ocean saying “Do whut now?” until Master Shake gives his brain back… Or perhaps I’m confusing it with Frylocke. No matter. As Worldmind gives Nova the 411 on the Phalanx, the creepy multi-faced alien techno-jackasses (who my daughter, reading over my shoulder, says are “yucky-monster-spider-hat-boys”) analyze him, and are shocked to find that he’s a Centurion. “They were reported extinct…” This is the Marvel Universe, Phaley, where the reports of anyone’s demise are always premature. Luckily for them, the Phalanx have already borged someone who knows Rich’s capabilities in a professional as well as intimate manner…


Gamora, the most dangerous woman in the galaxy, hesitates for only a moment, watching Richard’s face in a monitor, and the Phalanx inform her that resistance is futile. “Kill it,” they order, “or process it for selection.” Gamora informs them that it ain’t quite that simple, and teleports a hundred Sentries into Nova’s path to buy herself some time. When the monsters question her number, Gamora proves that she’s more than just Jim Kirk’s dream date and reveals her stratagem. “He is QUITE capable of crippling the Phalanx. I do NOT intend to give him the chance.” Back in orbit, Worldmind runs down the pertinent pieces of information on the threat.


“In space, no one can hear you plagiarize Doctor Who…” Sure, the Phalanx remind me of Star Trek’s Borg, but the Borg have always reminded me of the much creepier (when done successfully) Cybermen. Either way, having just saved the Kree empire from one overlord, Nova isn’t thrilled that another one has swept in like a bad smell to take over. Attacking full throttle, he’s surprised by another teleportation wave, and crashed through a Sentry, shattering it with his head. Quickly changing direction, Nova tries to break through their big purple defensive line, but Gamora is watching, and calling the plays. Even so, Nova’s speed forces her to get involved, directly…


No matter where he rockets, Nova finds a Sentry in the way, as the Phalanx wonder why he hasn’t joined their collective. They are able to see on their scanners that Worldmind is protecting him from assimilation, disappointing Gamora. “A shame to destroy him… a being like that should become a select.” Surrounded and taking a Unicron-level pounding, Nova is forced to abuse one of his less utilized powers: the ability to open a stargate.


Gamora knows his capabilities too well, unfortunately, and identifies his teleportation pattern, asking for orders. “Resistance is futile. Exterminate! Exterminate!” and other sci-fi catchphrases are her orders. Pursue the last Centurion, and capture him, whatever the cost. Gamora leaves her overlords chambers to assemble her fighting force, asking for teleport authorization to get to him. Richard runs, disregarding his injuries, looking for backup, when Worldmind indicates a forcefield in their path. Before they can alter, it is discovered that the shield SURROUNDS the entire Kree empire, a seeming impossibility. Worldmind cannot respond quick enough, and Nova impacts the field at full hyper-speed, bouncing off and falling towards a nearby planetoid like a meteor. On the planet’s surface, an crippled starship, commanded by Ko-Rel of the Kree empire has been stuck for over a year, ever since the Annihilation wave struck. Her crew informs her of more space debris entering the atmosphere (Nova’s planetfall, and he leaves a mighty big crater, thankyaverramuch) and Ko-Rel orders that they check it out, in case there’s something that they can use to get home…


At the bottom of the crater, in a flaming heap, she finds the last Nova Centurion burnt to a crisp. Her men are spooked, but Ko-Rel bravely rushes down to find out what the hell he is, and if she can help him. Nova telepathically responds, “I’m… damaged… The Phalanx. There’s no time… left…” Explaining briefly that he’s linked their minds, Nova informs her that she’ll have to fight this battle for him, and a bolt of energy arcs out to strike her. As her people recover from the blast, they check on their Captain, only to find her… somewhat changed.


I’m a little disappointed that it’s not Namorita,but this is at least interesting. One of the last things that Richard ordered the Worldmind to do was to trigger his Heal and Repair subsystems, so I doubt that the big lug is dead. Moreover, she’s wearing the ORIGINAL Nova costume, the uniform of a basic Centurion, rather than Rich’s new Annihilation-era gear. Thus, I hereby supposition that she is currently carrying only a portion of his cosmic power while he heals. Either way, the battle with the Phalanx just got a little bit more uphill…

I liked this return to cosmic themes after the two-issue interlude on Earth gave us a solid home-team basis for Nova’s adventures. With Gamora (as well as Ronan and probably others) on the wrong side of this conflict, and even Peter Quill being forced back into harness, I’m looking forward to Annihilation: Conquest. But I have my worries… First of all, it’s one thing to mimic the “Four Limited Series” layout, but this seems to be a virtual rewrite of the plot of Annihilation with a new antagonist. Still, Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning do cosmic very well, and Sean Chen & Scott Hanna’s art is excellent, so I can’t be too down on this particular issue. It’s a solid 3out of 5 star effort, kicking off the Nova portion of Annihilation and leaving me wondering if he learned as much about Gamora during their affair as she did about him…



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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


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