Or – “It’s Not Namorita, But I’m Not Terribly Disappointed…”

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The first Annihilation miniseries was a huge hit for Marvel, relaunching a number of concepts thought long-since rendered pointless, including Super-Skrull and Richard Rider’s Nova career. Nova’s history is full of ups and downs, in terms of power, story, and setting, so it’s good to see Rich return to his roots as a Centurion, and this is the first attempt to do the character in flat-out space opera (unless you count his series of cameos in ‘Rom’ and ‘Fantastic Four’ in the 80’s.) Not surprisingly, and probably not unexpectedly, there’s more than just a tinge of Green Lantern in this treatment, but with a totally Marvel twist on things. Normally, I might complain about the similarities between the two stories, but when they’re both actually GOOD, I tend to let it slide…

Previously, on Nova: the battle with Annihilus took it’s toll on Richard Rider, the last VA1.jpgremaining Nova centurion, and attempting to take over the duties of the ENTIRE Corps left him exhausted and mentally fried. At the urgings of the Worldmind computer (and after a near-fatal misstep) Rich headed for home, only to find Earth to be an inhospitable police state, run by a fanatical Iron Man and policed by the worst scum and villainy the Masters of Evil had to offer. Returning to space, Nova responded to a distress call from Kree Space, only to find the empire overrun with the Phalanx, a techno-organic race from the pages of X-Men in the 90’s. (But we shouldn’t hold that against them…) He attempted to exit, stage left, via a stargate, but instead crashed into a mysterious forcefield surrounding Kree space. His body seemingly destroyed, the Worldmind was forced to find a new Centurion, one Ko-Rel, a Kree medic whose ship has spent nearly a year on the surface of a mostly dead moon. Now, the Phalanx-infected Spaceknights search for Nova-Prime, hoping to add his uniqueness to their collective…

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Y’know, Rom wouldn’t have been that easily taken out, Lightstorm. Your Phalanxitude is showing… Suddenly, two more of his soldiers are dead, then Lightstorm himself is blasted by a huge energy burst, and taken out. The attacker? None other than Ko-Rel, now designated Nova 0001. “Is THAT what I did?” she asks, surveying the carnage. “It was all a bit too fast for me to follow.” Worldmind explains that, indeed, her powers caused this, telling her the Cliff’s Notes version of the Nova Corps, and advising her of her new mission.

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Worldmind replies that it is just linked to her mind, but it IS actually located in the head of the Nova Prime, and that she was chosen for her responsibility in keeping her people together (even though nearly their entire culture has collapsed.) Returning to her ship, she greets her crew (“This new look, boss. Doesn’t leave much to the imagination, does it?” Heh.) and checks up on her important new patient. Since we saw him last, much has changed for Richie, albeit slowly…

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Toldja he wasn’t dead! That makes the score Matthew 53, Comic Book 48, 283,342.12, so… I’m catchin’ up! Ko-Rel’s crew is a bit dismayed to watch her talking to the voices in her head, but she is still their leader, and they trust her for keeping them alive over the past months. Worldmind has also told her of the state of what used to be the Kree empire, and she is torn by her desire to head home, save her son and fight for her world, and her intense responsibility to her crew. The decision may end up being made for her, as more Phalanx arrive, ready to find the Nova Prime and perfectly willing to destroy anyone or anything in their path…

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She wades into them, blasting the Phalanx and trying to protect her people, while Worldmind orders her to protect her Prime. Ko-Rel takes offense at the lives of her friends and crew being considered secondary considerations, but has a plan of her own. As Rich regains consciousness in her medical bay, Nova 0001 kicks in the afterburners and tries to combine her priorities with those of the Worldmind. “If all these Phalanx scuts want is a Nova… let me give them one!”

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The classic costume looks good. The not-Cybermen teleport after her, leaving her crew to pickup the pieces and care to the wounded. While they gather their injured, the Kree of Ko-Rel’s ship are unaware that one of the Phalanx is still among them… Worse than that, it’s Gamora, the most deadly woman in the universe, former associate and lover of the Nova Prime. She makes her way through the ship like a grass-colored ninja, finding the sickbay and it’s guards, and dealing with them decisively.

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She takes down half a dozen more of the blue men, then calls to her hunter packs, currently fighting Ko-Rel above the planet. Ordering them to fight (or at least keep her Ko-Rel busy for a bit) Gamora finally sneaks into the room where her quarry is waiting.

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Richard is barely alive, but aware of Gamora’s presence. She seems overcome for a moment, telling him “We were good together, weren’t we? Do you remember? It was sweet fun. Too bad it didn’t last.” She reminds him that they broke up because she was aggressive and he considered if a failing of hers. Ignoring Richard’s weak protestations, Gamora gives him a gentle kiss, passing on the technorganic whoziwhatsis on to Rich. Slowly, he rises, and for a moment, I hope that he’s been able to shake off the selection process…

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…but I’m wrong. And as for Gamora’s thigh boots and thong combo, resistance IS indeed futile. (Sorry, had to say it.) If Ko-Rel thought she had problems before, I can only imagine how she’ll respond to THIS. And if the Phalanx process is technological in nature, do you think it might assimilate Worldmind as well? Either way, it’s a horrible, mean, awful cliffhanger, and I’m going to yell at them in my mind for a while.

Abnett and Lanning have created an excellent story here, one that puts the Phalanx in a truly disturbing and fearsome light, and also gives us an excellent new character in Ko-Rel. There are echoes of the new Green Lantern hierarchy going here, but as long as they don’t give me an obvious analogue to anyone on the DC side of the fence, I’m willing to let it go. Sean Chen and Scott Hanna do good work here, especially on the technology, but their Gamora is absolutely a sight to behold. It’s a good issue, even if I thought that the Spaceknights and Nova should have been more able to resist being Borged. Either way, I’m looking forward to next issue, and give this one 4 out of 5 stars.

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The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

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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5 Comments

  1. Sanlear
    August 15, 2007 at 1:51 pm — Reply

    “Burn them. Fry the farkers!” Classic line. I’m enjoying this series quite a bit.

    Ko-rel is an interesting character, but I like the idea of Rich Rider being the last Nova Centurion, so I would’t cry if she had a heroic death.

  2. Brent F.
    August 15, 2007 at 2:11 pm — Reply

    I wonder if Worldmind will continue to deputize random people whenever it feels it is necessary?

    Richard’s becoming the Captain Kirk of the Marvel Universe. He’s got he green and blue skinned women beggin for a piece of Nova.

  3. Kienan
    August 15, 2007 at 2:21 pm — Reply

    I recently finished the Annihilation trades(sadly the only way i get to read comics most of the time), and was absolutely floored by Nova.His character just pulled me in. I know very little about his past other than what I get from here and Wikipedia, but I think its safe to say I am a Nova admirer for life. His solo series has been solid and I am looking forward to it every month.

    Also, what is it about green space chicks? They are awesome.

  4. Brother129
    August 15, 2007 at 3:27 pm — Reply

    A heroic death for Ko-Rel would dissapointment me. I’d like to see a GL-like resuccitation of the Xandarian Corp….

  5. Brent F.
    August 15, 2007 at 3:29 pm — Reply

    There is just something about hot green ladies that makes every man purr like a walrus.

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