Or – “THERE’S The Richie Rider I Remember…”


One of the great dangers of having a favorite character revamped is the nature of the comic industry, where ‘different’ is used as a synonym for ‘better.’ The All-New All-Different X-Men came around in 1975, but the tradition was decades old by that point. Even so, the reliance on ”Everything You Know Is Wrong!” has become a standard storytelling crutch, and with it comes the tendency to jettison everything from the characters’ previous appearances, collateral damage in the race for sales revenue. Luckily for me, Abnett & Lanning remember the same Nova that I do, and now, at his lowest point, they’re ready to remind us all (including Richie himself) of what that means…

Va1.jpgPreviously, on Nova: Having successfully battled back the Annihilation Wave, Nova thought that he deserved some R&R, but upon returning home found nothing but recriminations, bad family experiences, and the ritual beating of the Thunderbolts. Returning to space, Rich found to his horror that the Kree empire he fought so hard to defend had already been conquered by the Phalanx. Trying to effect an escape, he ended up nearly getting killed, and landed on a remote asteroid, where Worldmind empowered a new Nova to defend him. She failed, but only because her enemies included an assimilated Gamora, most dangerous woman in the universe, who inducted Nova into their unholy collective, then killed Ko-Rel, the new Nova. Her final words to Rich were “This isn’t YOU,” which seemed to reach through the circuitry-induced brain fog and affect Rich Rider for a moment, but his indoctrination to the Phalanx quickly reasserted itself. Now a card-carrying member of the select, the only thought in Nova’s mind is how WONDERFUL being a jack-booted mindless-drone thug feels…


Returning from a mission to destroy all hope and independent thought in the universe, Nova exults in the feeling of well-being that comes with being Borged by the Phalanx. But, in the back of his mind, a tiny voice keeps whispering one word… “Screaming.” Returning to base, Nova swaps techno-spit with Gamora, while a tiny portion of his mind keeps flashing back to Ko-Rel’s last words. “This isn’t you.” Checking in for his next task, Gamora tells him that he has a little bit of downtime, and Richard is happy to take a break from rounding up strays…


“At first, I thought it was one voice, as if a hidden personality lurked behind the Phalanx, a central guiding entity,” he said significantly, “But it’s not.” I’m not sure I believe that, Rich, because I suspect that the end of this war is rooted in the nature of the Phalanx mind-link. Either way, as Rich tries to be a good drone, the voice recurs, louder this time. “Why aren’t you screaming?” Again, Ko-Rel’s last words play in his mind, and Rich stumbles forward, seeing a familiar figure in his mind. “I know you… What are you doing here? I know you!” The figure replies that he SHOULD know him, and that they’re taking a moment inside Nova’s be-helmeted melon for a little tete a tete…


Richard Rider? Meet Richard Ryder. Nova tries to tell himself that nothing’s wrong, that the Phalanx infection is a gift, a prize to be coveted, blah blah blah fishcakes. “You don’t understand yet. You WILL, when you have joined with us. I have accepted selection. I have embraced the unity of the Phalanx. There is no REASON to fight it.” The mental echo of himself smirks, “You really should have a moustache to twiddle when you say #@$* like that.” Heh. Richard has news for himself… He’s already fighting it, and fighting it HARD.


Mind-Nova explains that he, too, is just a reflection of the power of Nova, a tiny portion of Rich’s true self that Worldmind squirreled away as part of the Nova Force. “We’ve been fighting the virus, trying to hold it back. It was almost too much for the worldmind. Then, Ko-Rel… She gave her power back to us as she… as she died.” Nova 0001’s juice was just enough to turn the tide, allowing the Nova Force to begin rejecting the transmode virus, but now it’s going to take Richard, the REAL Richard to finally reject his select status in order to free himself.


As the symbolic Nova Corps fights against the virus, Nova musters all his power, all his will, all his force, rejecting his transformation by force of will. Before his hallucination fades, the image of Ko-Rel appears again, entreating him “Save him, please. Save my son…” All of this took place in mere seconds, and Gamora has barely managed to check whether he’s alright when Nova looks up, giving her a pretty massive shock.


Au contraire, emerald-skinned temptress of the cosmos… Nova blasts everything in sight, rocketing away at top speed. “Worldmind! I need a route out of her A.S.A.P!” The Worldmind tells him that he’s running on partial power, with 83% of the entire Nova Force energy to keep the infection in check. Worldmind suggests that they get the #@$% outta Dodge, and sets a course, informing Nova that his meld with the Phalanx has given them access to ALL their knowledge, and that Worldmind now knows how to break through the force bubble around Kree space. For her part, Gamora is ready to bring Nova in again, once she gets a little help…


It’s fascinating to me that Drax is still Drax, even though he’s a big green pod-person. And doesn’t Gamora look nice wearing her little ensemble made of three belts and some yarn? The two greenies (who are not, oddly enough, in any way related) take off to find Nova, tracking him to a nearby neutron star. Why’s he there? Worldmind has computed an exit vector, using the gravimetric warp of the star and Nova’s own powers to blast clear of Kree space, but before they can finish, Gamora and Drax arrive with guns blazing, and Nova tries fighting. Worldmind chides him for his wrath, telling him that “You will DIE… Quickly, and for nothing.”


One wormhole later, Nova finds himself teleported to the far side of the universe, lost from even Worldmind’s extensive stellar maps. “So what the hell are we supposed to do now?” asks Nova, not realizing that two of the most skilled killers in the known universe have teleported along with him. Lost, operating at a fraction of power, outgunned and outpowered, Nova fades to black…

Annihilation: Conquest has a lot in common with the Sinestro Corps War when you think about it, and this issue parallels ‘GL #24’ with one of the key players freeing himself from mental control. Still, this is a nice issue, giving us a clearer picture of what life as a select is like, as well as the inner workings of the mind of the last Nova, showing that no matter what the situation or setting, Richard Rider is still a matter-of-fact kid from Queens who stole Green Lantern’s origin. This issue progresses nicely, setting up the conflict for Annihilation and seemingly dropping hints as to how the Phalanx can eventually be defeated. It’s a solid 4 out of 5 star effort, with clear and beautiful art from Sean Chen and another excellent plot from Abnett and Lanning…


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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  1. October 18, 2007 at 12:41 pm — Reply

    Any Corps that would make Pikachu a member needs the Cyborg Superman to beat them to death. Slowly. With one of his detached legs.

  2. Sanlear
    October 18, 2007 at 2:00 pm — Reply

    As much as I liked Ko-rel, I’m actually glad she died. I like the thought of Richard being the last Nova much more than the idea of a Nova Corps. Ko-Rel died a hero, and it’s not like she won’t be around and kicking in his subconsious. Great review and issue.

  3. BadBad
    October 18, 2007 at 2:58 pm — Reply

    I’m enjoying Nova much more than Sinestro Corps War. Nova and Starlord are the saving grace at Marvel this year.


  4. Brad
    October 18, 2007 at 3:26 pm — Reply

    As a continuity whore; is it just me, or does the color of Gamora and Drax’s skin change from appearance to appearance?

    I recall them both being silverish in the original Annihilation.

  5. Brother129
    October 18, 2007 at 5:16 pm — Reply

    Now I know this will truly make me sound like a comic geek: but aside from an awesome storyline how about the hotties in space? In my perfect world, Nova will free Gamora (who has just taken She-Hulk’s title as Hottest Green Marvel Woman) from the Phalanx and somehow bring Ko-Rel back to life….

  6. October 18, 2007 at 6:30 pm — Reply

    “Why aren’t you screaming?”

    This storyline has kept me entertained. I enjoy the “space opera” genre
    with a bit of apocalypse thrown in.

    The panel with the all the Novas in battle is a little bit Sinestro Wars-esque.
    Writes (bloggers) tend to borrow from one another in a way. Maybe is it a homage.

  7. October 18, 2007 at 9:29 pm — Reply

    Was hoping for more Conquest related developments in this last tie-in issue, but what we got was still highly entertaining. Looking forward to his new status quo and Im glad Drax is finally getting some face time again.

    However, Nova-Pikachu still haunts my dreams.

  8. jman
    October 24, 2007 at 5:12 pm — Reply

    wow, in that one full body panel above, I think I could floss with Gamorra’s outfit ;)

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