Sam Alexander thought he was the last of the Nova Corps, but now Richard Rider has returned… somehow.
Your Major Spoilers review of Nova #1 awaits!
Previously in Nova: “As a high schooler, Richard Rider was drafted into the intergalactic peacekeeping task force called the Nova Corps. After a devastating attack by Annihilus wiped out all the other members of the Corps, Richard had no choice but to patrol the galaxy alone for years. He valiantly defended it from evil until he met his untimely end at the hands of Thanos in a parallel dimension called the Cancververse. But he mysteriously appeared on his mother’s doorstep alive and well, though he has no idea how or why. 15-year-old Sam Alexander’s father was a nova as well, serving as a member of the elite Black Nova unit. With more powerful helmets than the rest of the Corps, the Black Novas were only sent on the most dangerous assignments. But when his father went missing, it was up to Sam to look after his mother, his sister and his planet by taking up the mantle and becoming the last and only Nova.”
“I’M NOT DYING ON A PLANET WITH A GOATEE!”
This issue opens in Queens, at the Rider home, where Rich and his mother are catching up after his years of absence. The once and future Nova is shocked to find that his father passed away in his absence, and that someone found and returned his helmet to Mrs. Rider. That someone, his successor, is currently in space, doing a favor for Ego the Living Planet. ELP (whose prog-rock albums in the 70s were epic) has an infestation of alien parasites, which Nova is able to take care of with a little… lateral thinking. Returning home, we find Sam having to deal with his family, school and the fact that he put on his helmet without first putting on pants, leaving him without any clothes to wear to school. There’s a lot of really fun high school drama to be had in these pages, from talking to girls to dealing with his friends, lovely bits of mundane life that are interrupted by a piercing alarm from his hidden Nova helmet: Another Nova signal has been located on Earth.
THE HUMAN ROCKET(S)
I’ve had some issues with the character of Sam Alexander (and particularly the way editorial treats him), but this issue makes him very likeable in a Peter Parker teenage geek/loser sort of way. The question of what’s happening with Rich are very disturbing, thanks to his visions of death and the people around him becoming rotting zombies in his eyes, but I hope that it’s something he’ll be able to overcome and return to action. Since there are two Spider-Men, four Spider-Women and at least three Iron Men extant, surely we can get by with a couple of Novas? The art this issue is wonderfully malleable, going highly cartoony when Sam has a sudden flight of fancy, but giving Rich’s horrific visions a terrible reality. In short, this is poised to be an interesting new start for both Novas, and one that I hope leads to a new era for both of ’em…
THE BOTTOM LINE: SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG
Still, it clearly isn’t going to be an easy road, and this issue sets up the expectation of a much greater story to be told, leaving Nova #1 with a very well-deserved 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. I think that this may even be the arc that convinces me that Sam Alexander has the chops to be a long-term, meaningful member of the Marvel Universe, even if he does have to spend a lot of time explaining that he QUIT the Avengers, they didn’t fire him…
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