For the new Nova, see Sam Alexander.
Richard Rider was an average teenager. Not to the class clown, not the wallflower, not the cool kid. He went to high-school, had girl troubles and tried to help out his parents and younger brother when he was at home. All seemed to go their normal way for the young Richard until he came into contact with the Nova Corps. The Nova Corps was a peace-keeping force that was based on the planet Xandar. The planet was destroyed by the space pirate known as Zorr. When Rhomann Dey, the Nova Prime, was dying he fled through the universe and went to earth. There he chose Richard Rider to receive his powers and granted him the Nova Force. He was asked by Rhomann Dey to use his powers for the good of earth and the universe and serve as it's protector. This was a lot for the teenaged Rider but he nonetheless started a superhero career with his new found powers as Nova, the Human Rocket!
Richard Rider was created by Marv Wolfman and John Buscema and first appearance in Nova # in 1976.
Major Story Arcs
The Human Rocket!
For Richard, becoming a superhero was not something that happened overnight. He had great trouble at first. However, he soon got the hang of it better and better. Rider would often team-up with Spider-Man
and the Fantastic Four.
In fact, Rider showed so much potential that Nick Fury
recruited him to help Shield against the Yellow Claw
. During this time in Rider's life he often fought Condor
, and the Sphinx
. At one time Condor and Diamondhead put Rider under a spell and formed The Terrible Trio
to fight the Sphinix. Rider even made an alliance with the villains to form The Champions of Xandar. When the Skrull
Empire threatened Xandar, Rider and the Champions of Xandar
went to give their aid. The Champions would lead forces of the Nova Corps against the Skrulls. The Skrull attack force was eventually defeated with a little help from the Fantastic Four and then from Rom the Spaceknight
. Rider longed to return to Earth, so he agreed to give up his portion of the Nova force powers to be used on Xandar to live a normal life.
The New Warriors
A few months after he regained his powers, Richard was approached by Night Thrasher. Night Thrasher was starting a new superhero team and believed that Rider still contained the power inside him. To prove this, he threw Rider off of a rooftop. Luckily, he was right seeing as Rider's Nova powers reactivated in time to save himself. They formed the New Warriors with other teenage superheroes such as Justice, Speedball, Namorita, and Firestar. Together they went on many missions with the hope of one day becoming like the Avengers. Nova divided his time with the New Warriors, working solo, and occasionally being called into space by the Nova Corps. During Rider's absence from the Corps, Nebula attacked Xandar and destroyed the remaining portion of the planet along with most of it's inhabitants.
After fighting Super-Nova, a Xandarian that had gained almost all of the Nova Force and was driven mad by it, with the help of former Galactus' Heralds, Firelord and Air-Walker, Nova became the Centurion Prime. He was to be the guardian of Earth's sector of space. Nova continued to fight alongside the New Warriors against various threats, including the very powerful Sphinx.
The New Warriors eventually broke up and reformed a few times. The last formation of the team had the New Warriors as stars of a reality show that traveled across the country and fought villains on television. Nova was not a part of the New Warriors during the Stamford Incident that lead to the Civil War.
Shortly before the horrible incident that resulted in the New Warriors' deaths at Stamford, Connecticut, Nova was called back to Xandar to assist the Nova Corps with an unknown threat to the universe. That threat ended up being the Annihilation Wave. Shortly after Rider arrived, the Wave destroyed Xandar and decimated the Nova Corps. Nova was the only survivor of the attack and the last remaining Corps member. Worldmind, the Xandarian living computer that contains the record of Xandar's history, contacted Nova. Worldmind explained that if not protected by Nova, all of Xandarian culture would be lost as well as the Nova Force. Nova reluctantly agreed to take the entire Nova-Force into himself, a feat that could drive him insane, and had Worldmind uploaded into his helmet in order to protect it. Worldmind also helps Rider retain his sanity with the Nova-Force by aiding him in controlling and utilizing it.
Later, Nova discovers Drax The Destroyer and Cammi on the surface of Xandar, the only other two apparent survivors of the onslaught. They rush to escape the planet, which has been knocked out of it's orbit due to the damage it suffered from the attack, since it is quickly becoming unstable. Worldmind tells them where an undamaged ship is docked and together they fight their way through stray Annihilation Wave drones to get to it. Nova feels all of the raw power from the Nova Force and overdoes it despite Worldmind's warnings. Nova asks Drax if he could teach him how to help control his power and focus it.
Nova opens a gate to the planet Nycos Aristides, several light years away. Upon arrival the engines of their vessel cut out and they begin to fall and burn up into the atmosphere, but are saved by Quasar who is aiding the planet's evacuation efforts.
Quasar talks Nova into helping him evacuate the planet from the oncoming Annihilation Wave, despite Nova's fears of losing control of his power. They hold their own against the wave and even attempt to kill Annihilus himself, but Quasar is killed in the process and Annihilus acquires his Quantum Bands. Nova barely escapes with his life. Nova heads up a a resistance movement against the Annihilation Wave called the United Front with Peter Quill ( Starlord) as his second-in-command. After losing a major battle they decide to dissolve the resistance in hopes of minimizing casualties and form a small strike team with one goal, to kill Annihilus.
As the final battle looms and Annihilus' fleet is being destroyed by Galactus, Nova is able to challenge Annihilus to single combat. The fight doesn't go so well for Nova since Annihilus possessed both the Quantum Bands and the Cosmic Rod. Nova looks deafeated at Annihilus' hands when Phyla-Vell manages to steal the Quantum Bands from Annihilus. The tide being turned in Nova's favor and realizing there was no way to penetrate his armor, Nova manages to rip Annihilus' insides out from his mouth, killing him.
Following the events of Annihilation, Nova becomes overwhelmed with work rushing from one crisis to the next finding himself being one of the only people in the universe able to help and the last remaining member of the Nova Corps. World Mind cautions him not to over work himself seeing as containing all of the Nova Force is a stressful job already. Eventually he manages to convince Nova to return to Earth for a break. Upon arrival Nova is confronted by Iron Man and SHIELD, having identified him as a Class 12 threat entering Earth's atmosphere. After telling Nova about the Civil War, the Initiative, and the new Super Hero Registration Act, Nova is given 24 hours to decide whether he wants to register or not.
Whilst walking around his old neighborhood, Nova is attacked by his old foe Diamondhead, seeking revenge after years in prison. Nova easily shatters his hand, but this draws the attention of the Thunderbolts, who attempt to bring him in for being an unregistered hero, unaware that Nova still has time to decide. After the fight is called off by Iron Man, Nova returns home, where he has an argument with his parents about the fight with the Thunderbolts. Shortly after this, Nova meets up with his old friend Robbie Baldwin, now known as Penance. After seeing what's happened to him, Nova decides to leave Earth, since too much has happened since he was last there and space makes more sense to him now.
Nova returns to space right into the middle of Annihilation Conquest and the Phalanx invasion of the Kree. An event that he is ill-prepared for at first. Upon Worldmind informing Nova of hundreds of distress calls coming from the Kree home planet of Hala, Nova heads there, where he is attacked by infected Kree Sentries under the command of Gamora, who has become one of the Phalanx Select. After almost being infected by the sentries, Nova attempts to escape from Kree space, only to find that it's been encased in an energy field to prevent anyone escaping. When he tries to use a stargate to escape, Nova hits the energy field, and crash lands on Drez-Lar, burned nearly down to a skeleton.
A stranded Kree ship finds him and their commander Ko-Rel is given a portion of Nova’s power in order to protect him. Unfortunately, whilst Ko-Rel is fighting the Phalanx that try to invade and capture Nova, Gamora sneaks into the bay where he is healing, and kisses Nova, infecting him with the Transmode Virus and making him a Phalanx Select.
As one of the Select he captures Drax The Destroyer for the Phalanx and helps to kill Ko-Rel. As a result a portion of his power is returned allowing him to hold off the Transmode Virus enough that he is in control of himself once more, although the Transmode Virus isn't destroyed. With the data gathered from when Nova was a Phalanx, Worldmind works out that Nova can escape from the energy field still surrounding Kree space by channeling the powers of a star into a stargate. However, Gamora and Drax manage to follow him, planning to either kill him or turn him into a Phalanx again, and as a result of his hasty stargate, Nova ends up in uncharted territory of the universe, where he finds Knowhere.
In Knowhere, Nova finds out that a space team called the Luminals, (described as the equivalent of the Avengers) have placed their greatest enemy, called Abyss in Knowhere in the hope of containing him forever. However, Abyss is escaping from the container he's in, and turning the residents of Knowhere into zombie-like creatures. Nova manages to seal Abyss back in his container by releasing a tiny amount of the Transmode Virus and using that to seal the container properly. Unfortunately, as a result of this Nova's resistance against the Transmode Virus is weakened, and he slowly begins to be taken over by it. With the help of the residents of Knowhere, Nova is able to find Kvch, the home world of the Technarchy, who are the "parents" of the Phalanx. There, Nova encounters Warlock and his young ward, who both cure Nova of the Transmode Virus, as well as Drax The Destroyer and Gamora upon Nova requesting it. Nova then returns in time to assist in the liberation of Hala and defeat of Ultron and his Phalanx horde.
After Annihilation: Conquest
Following the events of Conquest, Nova continues responding to urgent distress signals, the first being a confrontation with Galactus and the Silver Surfer on the planet Orbucen. While assisting in the evacuation Nova apprehends Harrow, a psychokinetic serial killer. Galactus' machines are causing interference with the Orbucen's technology, preventing them from escaping. Nova directly confronts Galactus to try and buy the people of Orbucen enough time to evacuate the planet. This forces a battle with the Silver Surfer, but the Surfer eventually fixes the problem for Nova once he is far away enough to avoid Galactus' perception. Unfortunately during his battle with Silver Surfer, Harrow escapes forcing Nova to delay his own departure from the planet and becoming trapped as Galactus prepares to devour Orbucen.
Nova escapes to Galactus' ship through the tubes that feed the ship the converted energy. It is during this escape that causes Worldmind to go offline. He soon finds Harrow on the ship as well who has been hiding himself there all along to feed off of the fear of all those Galactus has tormented. Before Nova could stop Harrow, the Silver Surfer arrives and makes Galactus aware of the stowaway, Harrow. Galactus instantly kills Harrow for his deception, but spares Nova's life. Teleported away from the ship, the Surfer tells Nova that he has been spared by Galactus and that Galactus rarely spares someone twice and to not cross their paths again.
Secret Invasion and the Nova Corps
While responding a distress call, Nova was ambushed by a team of Skrulls. He managed to defeat them but was not prepared to face his old ally, KI'rt . Thanks to him, Nova learned of the Skrull Invasion on his home planet. He traveled to Earth and arrived to witness the Skrull siege of the P.E.G.A.S.U.S. facilities. Aware that his brother was in the P.E.G.A.S.U.S. Project, Nova launched himself against the hordes of Skrulls, managing to stop them for a few moments with the help of Darkhawk. But things got complicated with the invaders retaliation leaving the heroes between the sword and the wall. Miraculously, the scientists at P.E.G.A.S.U.S. were able to bring not only World Mind back online, but Quasar as well. With no chance to win, the Skrulls decided to obliterate the facility with everyone inside. But it was Nova's lucky day because in that exact moment, the Skrull ships were completely destroyed. Finally, the Nova Corps arrived to defend Earth and their Nova Prime.
After the Invasion was over, Nova found out that while he was sleeping, World Mind decided to gather again the Corps to help him in his mission. These new members were Fraktur, Rael, Malik Tarcel, Morrow and Qubit who proved to be a wise choice by World Mind. Although Nova was pleased with these Corps, he was still reluctant to gather the whole Nova Corps again and made a deal with World Mind to wait a little bit more before accepting more Centurions. But World Mind decided that the time to wait was over, and he recruited everyone inside PEGASUS, including Nova's brother, Robbie Rider. World Mind used the rest of the corps to search for a new host for him, they found it in Ego the living Planet. When Ego appeared in orbit of Earth, Nova approached the planet to investigate, only to find World Mind had taken over Ego the Living Planet and turned him into the New Xandar.
World Mind wanted Nova to return the main reserves of the Nova Force. Nova went back to Earth but before he returned he was stopped by the Fantastic Four. He went back to return the rest of the Nova Force, but decided it wasn't right. World Mind sent the rest of the corps to restrain him but he was too strong. Then World Mind stripped Nova of his powers and sent him back to Earth.
Dying from overexposure to the full Nova-force, Richard asks Doctor Eve Necker from P.E.G.A.S.U.S. for help. With H.A.M.M.E.R. shutting down P.E.G.A.S.U.S., Dr. Necker tries to persuade Richard to accept help from A.I.M.. Richard refuses and walks away from her. Remorseful, Eve gives him the Quantum flask inhabited by Quasar's consciousness so it wouldn't fall into the wrong hands. Richard breaks the flask, and suddenly Quasar appears and offers Richard the Q uantum bands, potentially saving his life until he can regain the Nova Force. With the power of the Quantum Bands at his disposal Richard traveled to confront Ego and get back his Nova Prime powers.
War Of Kings and Realm of Kings
While Worldmind was being corrupted by Ego, a war broke out between the Kree, under the new leadership of the Inhumans, and the Shi'ar, under Emperor Vulcan. Worldmind sent the newly recruited and poorly trained Nova Corps into battle against the Shi'ar and their Imperial Guard. The result was a total rout of the Nova Corps with many casualties and the capture of the newly selected Nova Prime, Malik Tarcel.
Richard Rider, as the new Quasar, left Earth in search of Ego, the corrupted Worldmind, and the Nova Corps in hopes of regaining the Nova Force and stopping Worldmind before he causes the deaths of countless innocent recruits under the control of Worldmind. Worldmind had gained a very good understanding of the human body being with Richard so long. He was releasing chemical combinations to make the new recruits not fully comprehend the decisions they were making. Rider found Ego and penetrated his defenses using the Quantum Bands with the guidance of Wendell. Once there he saw that World Mind had been corrupted by Ego and attacked him. To save World Mind he was forced to lobotomize Ego, but the backlash caused severe damage to World Mind and he was shut down and reboot with the mind of the deceased Nova Corps member, Ko-Rel. Richard returned the Quantum Bands to Quasar and took back his role as Nova Prime.
At the end of the Kree-Shi'ar War, a massive bomb was set off, further damaging an already unstable universe and creating a massive fissure in space-time known as the Fault. Richard gathered the small Nova Corps on Nu-Xandar and parked at the edge of the Fault to assess the threat that it posed.When Nova learned that Darkhawk was accused of murdering Lilandra, he set out to find him.
His search led him to the planet Shard. Upon confronting Darkhawk the planet broke into pieces. The two were pulled into a mysterious place controlled by the Sphinx. Mr. Fantastic, Blackbolt, and Namorita were also taken from a earlier time. The Sphinx took each of the heroes from their time because he wished to defeat a younger version of himself who desired to steal his Ka Stone. After defeating both Sphinxes, Nova, Darkhawk and the other heroes are returned to their own time except for Namorita, who Nova keeps with him since he does not want to lose her again.
Heroic Age: Secret Avengers
Steve Rogers asks Nova to join the Secret Avengers and he accepts. Nova's first job was to go to Mars and investigate recent mining activity by Roxxon. While there he runs into trouble and is attacked. He flees and tries to find safety but ends going through a cavern.
In the cavern lies the Serpent crown. Worldmind warns Nova to stay back because of the energy signature given off by the crown. Richard ignores the warning, being drawn to it by the Crown's power, and removes his Nova helmet. He puts on the Serpent Crown and becomes possessed by it. Steve Rogers decides to put on the Nova helmet to use the Nova Force and stop the possessed Richard Rider and his followers. Steve succeeds and Richard is freed from the control of the crown. After Worldmind gives Richard his powers back, Nova receives a distress call from the Guardians of the Galaxy and must leave the Secret Avengers for the time being.
The Thanos Imperative
While at Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S Nova meets up with Quasar. He realizes that it's not the Quasar he knew, but the one from the Cancerverse. Nova attacks the evil Quasar, who flees. Nova pursues him and warns as many as he can that this evil Quasar is heading towards the fault. The evil Quasar reaches the Fault and waiting for him is a massive fleet of temple ships for the Universal Church of Truth. Quasar meets Magus in time for the arrival of dozens of converted planets. The trillions of believers on all the planets are all chanting "Ignition" and they simultaneously explode, opening up the fault and catching Nova in the blast. Magus and Quasar are met by their leader, Lord Mar-Vell, an evil twisted Cancerverse version of the Kree Captain Mar-Vell of the mainstream Marvel Universe. The denizens of the Cancerverse were set to invade this universe, all that needed to be done first was to hunt down and destroy this universe's Avatar of Death so that Life would be the only thing in this universe as well.
Richard and Quasar fought together when the undying creatures of the Cancerverse began to invade. Lord Mar-Vell's Revengers began seeking out anomalies in the universe. They captured Namorita and Major Victory of the Guardians of the Galaxy amongst others to determine who the Avatar of Death was. Silver Surfer along with Galactus and other cosmic abstracts arrived to aid the universe in battle. They soon realized how great a threat this was becoming when the cosmic abstracts formed a perimeter around the Fault in an attempt to hold it back. But things got even worse when the Cancerverse brought out their own version of the Galactus Engine. In an attempt to rescue Namorita and get straight to the source of the problem, Nova gathered a strike team of the biggest heavy hitters in the universe. Together they stormed Lord Mar-Vell's Sanctuary and rescued the prisoners. Mar-Vell escaped, however, returning back to the Cancerverse to kill Thanos, the Avatar of Death. Before leaving, he blew up his ship with Nova and his team on it.
The battle seemed impossible to win and most of the universe's forces were either destroyed or retreating. Nova found out about Peter Quill, aka Star Lord's, plan to travel into the Cancerverse and destroy it. He leaves the front line to travel into the fault and aid his friend. He arrives and defeats the Revengers. Thanos is killed by Mar-Vell, but that was Thanos' plan all along. Death entered the Cancerverse when Thanos died and destroyed Mar-Vell and the Cancerverse. Death still rejected Thanos and this droove him mad with anger. Star Lord tricked the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy into leaving while he and Nova remained. They decided to try and keep Thanos busy while the universe collapsed so he would be trapped there forever. They sacrificed themselves to rid the universe of Thanos once and for all. A memorial was built on Hala in honor of Nova and Star Lord declaring them Guardians of the Galaxy. It is revealed that when Nova died in the collapsing universe all of the Nova Force went with him since it did not return. Worldmind has not rebooted since Nova's death.
Recently a "new" younger Nova named Sam Alexander has recently appeared warning races of the coming Phoenix Force, which is burning them all across universes, trying to rebirth them. Nova tried to warn Terrax the Tamer of the Phoenix but instead was driven off just before the Phoenix Force burned both Terrax and his planet away for it's rebirthing process.
He later crash-landed on Earth where he was found by The Avengers, whom he gave a cryptic warning about The Phoenix to and then passed into a coma.
Powers and Abilities
Nova derives his powers from a source known as the Nova Force, which is wielded by all members of the Nova Corps. Nova's small share of the Nova Force gives him abilities that include flight, super strength, speed, and durability, as well as the power to absorb energies directed at him and release it as gravimetric beams and pulses, either from single parts of his body or from his entire body surface.
After the events of Annihilation, all members of the Nova Corps were killed except for Nova himself. Nova had to absorb all of the Nova Force, thus increasing his power levels by a drastic scale. He can now lift over a 100 tons (roughly matching the strength of Hyperion), his energy manipulating and absorbing abilities have been significantly increased putting him nearly on par with the Silver Surfer, and he can now create and channel cosmic radiation and energy. He is capable of Beyond light-speed Flight, crossing star clusters in minutes, and is able to open star-gates through the fabric of space-time to collapse distances.
However, under normal circumstances Nova utilizes the Worldmind in order to regulate the full power of the Nova Force, thereby limiting his potential. When infected by the Phalanx this was not the case and Nova was in complete control of the entire Nova Force and was able to defeat Drax the Destroyer with ease. If Nova is able to regain this level of control when not under the control of the Phalanx, he will be one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe.
Ultimate Nova is Rick Jones, granted power by the Watchers.
In this reality Nova was a member of the Avengers.
Nova is dead and is in the realm of the dead. He and two other superheroes attempted to attack Mephisto who plans to kill all living beings. They were easily defeated but other remaining heroes also attempted to attack.
When Spider-Girl was fighting Darkdevil, Nova thought that Spider-Girl was a villain but later realized his mistake. Nova has attempted to tutor and lecture Spider-Girl on the importance of being a super-hero. However, his arrogance and lack of patience with younger heroes causes his lessons to be largely ignored. . Although he became an inspiration to Spider-Girl to form the MC2 version of the New Warriors. He also appears in the Last Hero Standing and within the Avengers Next limited series. Nova also assisted in the battle against Galactus in Last Planet Standing. The Nova in the MC2/Spider-Girl future is eventually confirmed to be Richard Rider in Avengers Next #2. His attitude toward Spider-Girl is often arrogant and dismissive, bordering on the contemptuous; but later he becomes impressed toward her, after her surviving a battle against the Avengers' enemy Seth. The MC2 Nova uniform closely resembles the original Centurion Nova Prime uniform worn by Rhomann Dey (the Xandarian who gave Rich Rider his powers) and worn by Rider during Nova's first and third series. The only difference is the original three starburst configuration has been changed into a single large starburst. The single starburst is similar to the starburst on the back of the original Nova uniform. The MC2 Nova has his headquarters located onboard the Nova Prime Starship. The starship resembles the ship used by Rhomann Dey to pursue Xandar's destroyer, Zorr, to Earth and later used by Nova to fight the Skrulls during the Skrull/Xandar War. Whether this is the same starship as Dey's or a new one based on the original design is unknown. The MC2 Rich Rider uses the Nova Prime Starship to monitor Earthbound threats from space.
Nova is one of the uninfected by the zombie plague. He was about to be bitten by Spider-Man, but was protected by Daredevil, who managed to get bitten because Nova was too shocked to assist. He was rescued by Thor and the Fantastic Four and they all go to the Helicarrier. There, Nick Fury brief the surviving heroes that they take a final defensive stand. Nova helped them but got bitten by Ms. Marvel.
He was later seen along with other zombie super-beings attacking Doctor Doom's castle. He is seen being cut to pieces by Magneto's barrage of metal shards. He is still mobile though and joined the other zombie super-beings in an attempt to eat the Silver Surfer. He was later killed by the cosmic-powered zombies.
In Nova Annual #1, the Transmode Virus which Nova is currently infected with gives him visions of both his past and his possible future in an attempt to weaken his resolve. In this future, Nova is the Nova Prime, and has restored the Nova Corps in an attempt to destroy the Phalanx for good. Several of his allies have become Nova Centurions, such as Gamora and Phyla-Vell. However, Earth has become overtaken by the Phalanx, and many of its heroes are Phalanx Select.
In Other Media
Silver Surfer - Nova appears as a background cameo in the episode "learning curve part 1"
Super Hero Squad Show - Nova appears in the episode "So Pretty When They Explode", where he has been capture by Thanos who defeated the entire Nova Corps
Ultimate Spider-Man - Nova(The Sam Alexander version) appears on the promo poster as well as rough footage from the demo reel.
Marvel Super Heroes - On Thanos' stage which is a shrine to Death, Nova can be seen in the background as one of the frozen statues
Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet - Nova appears as a playable character
Marvel Super Hero Squad Online - Nova appears as a playable character
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 - Nova appears as one of 12 new playable characters in the update to the previous game. His play style seems to be a mix of rushing tactics and various energy blasts to keep the opponent on the defensive. His rival in game seems to be Phoenix Wright since both represent some form of law with Nova being closer to the police officer and Wright being a lawyer. In his ending after defeating Galactus, Nova recruits several Capcom characters into the Nova Corps. Namely Mega Man. Roll, Proto Man, and Zero.