Or – “Two Guys With A Lot In Common…”


Richar Rider and Chris Powell.  Two characters designed to be the next Peter Parker.  Each wearing a strangely shaped bucket on their head, empowered by alien forces, using their powers to fight crime.  Both former New Warriors, both summarily cancelled after a couple dozen issues.  The main difference?  Nova’s third shot at series fame seems to have actually stuck, while Darkhawk has been used as not much more than a prop in the inscrutable and unnecessary Loners miniseries… 

No2.jpgPreviously, on Nova:  After the war with Annihilus, Richard Rider has been empowered with the entire knowledge base of the planet Xandar, and is the single most powerful Nova centurion in history.  After being attacked by the Phalanx and nearly converted into a Cyberman Borg Marvel Zombie select, and only the power of the Xandarian Worldmind can contain the infection.  Richie manages to rid himself of the transmode virus, but also costs himself the help of the Worldmind, leaving him essentially without a roadmap.  Nova encounters the Skrulls in space, and is overpowered until his old ally, Kl’rt the Super-Skrull, saves him from certain death.  Combining their powers, Super-Skrull and Nova make their way to Earth, only for Supey to turn on Nova in the midst of battle and pledge his Fantastic Four powers to the cause.  This leaves Richard in a somewhat precarious position, being choked to death in a geosynchronous orbit, surrounded by thousands of killer Skrulls…

Cursing his old pal for his betrayal, Nova is quickly overpowered and burned to death, as Super-Skrull heads off to the Skrull command ship to take his role among the Skrull army’s elite.  Moments later, Nova blinks back into view.  “Invisible forcefield…  Kl’rt, you son of a Schlag.  Next time WARN me when you’re going to pull a trick like that.”  Nova quicky blasts back through the atmosphere, landing at the Rider home in Queens, to visit his parents.  The Riders, like most of the public, are hiding out, worried that the Skrulls that have taken over the Earth are going to destroy everything.  Nova reassures them that he’s familiar with the green-eyed monsters, but he needs a little tactical help to take them out.  Richard heads off to find his younger brother Robbie, who is now working upstate at Project Pegasus…

Sweeping in to find his little bro, Nova is stunned to find Pegasus locked down, seemingly having been recently attacked.  His surprise only deepens when former partner Darkhawk attacks him full-tilt, screaming that no more Skrulls are going to fool him.  “I’ve already been attacked today by Captain America, Thor and Dick Cheney!”  Heh.  The Pegasus security teams sweep in and are ready to kill Nova when Robbie Rider runs in to greet his big bro.  The security squads warn him to stop, but Robbie scoffs, “it’s my brother, numbnuts.”  Double heh.  Robbie quickly quizzes Richie, and confirms that it’s the real Nova before giving him the grand tour.  Darkhawk apologizes for the misunderstanding, but Robbie again snorts, “I thought it was basic etiquette for two super heroes to smack one another around on first meeting before realizing they were on the same side.  Have we learned nothing from team-ups?”  I really like Robbie Rider…

Nova is introduced to the new chief of Pegasus, Director Gruenwald (we miss you, Mark) and a vaguely familiar woman named Necker before revealing that the weapons at the Project have been locked down.  Nova bonds with Robbie for a few seconds, before the Project is again attacked, and Darkhawk and Nova leap into action.  I’ve spent the entire portion of this issue trying to tell is Robbie is drawn missing the fingers he lost while being tortured in the original New Warriors book, I might add, which should tell you what a geek I am.  Rider and Powell engage the Skrulls, managing to (barely) lock them out of the facility, but both men know that it’s a temporary fix.  Robbie realizes that the key to defeating the Skrulls may be locked in Richard’s head, and they try to isolate and reboot the Worldmind to get it’s assistance.  The gambit succeeds, somewhat, as an energy presence is pulled from Richard’s body…  “It’s me, Richard,” says the mysterious blonde man with the Quantum wristbands.  “QUASAR???” cries Nova as we fade to black…

This issue is pretty awesome overall, consisting of equal parts alien-fighting, family bonding, classic superhero stuff and some loving tributes to the late Mark Gruenwald.  The entire Project Pegasus portion of the storyline recalls Mark’s work on Quasar’s own book in the 90’s, and the new head of Pegasus is a dead ringer for him, as well as sharing his name.  It’s also good to see Nova contrasted to Darkhawk, one successful as a leader and a hero again, while the other views himself as a failure, barely able to protect a simple research facility.  Word through the Marvel grapevine is that Darkie may end up being a recurring cast member in this title, and I’m happy to see it.  His run in Loners bugged me (and I’m not even a real fan of the character) as a complete waste of an interesting character, and it’s good to see him getting some play in a positive role.  Overall, the art is extremely well-handled, shared by Wellinton Alves and Geraloo Burges (both of which sound like aliases) and Abnett and Lanning show that they’re just as adept with earthbound stories as they have been with all the space opera.  It’s a well-rounded book, and one that I highly recommend.  Nova #17 ranks a very impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars, dimmed only by the fact that a new kid with his powers (and both of his old code-names currently in play) means that Wendell Vaughn’s return is probably temporary…


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. Sanlear
    October 21, 2008 at 7:38 am — Reply

    Nova is one of the few titles from Marvel that I can’t miss. Great stuff.

  2. Brother129
    October 22, 2008 at 12:07 pm — Reply

    Can they convince these guys to team up and write a New Warriors book that is actually good?

  3. October 23, 2008 at 10:19 am — Reply

    Unfortunately, the New Warriors is a title mired in that “it has to have a hook” thought process that makes Marvel’s new stuff so hit-and-miss.

    Remember, folks, the best way to revive a title is to make sure that nothing of the original concept survives. After all, if the book had been any good, it’s still be published, right? (Does anybody smell sarcasm?)

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