I found this on a CBR forum this guy really sums up my feelings on this whole NOVA thing.
Long time reader, first time poster. Go easy on me, CBR...
... Anyway, I grew up with Richard Rider as Nova. I was reading comics around the late 80s, early 90s, and my first exposure to him was in New Warriors... where Nova QUICKLY became my favorite character in the group and stories with him my favorite stories. I still very lovingly have my shiny cover of New Warriors where Nova got a new costume. I always knew he was bound for bigger, better things, and I feared it would never happen given his status as a C-lister on a C-list book.
But then "Annihilation" happened and everything Nova could've been suddenly BECAME. Nova tapped into all that potential I spent years reading about and telling my friends about. Richard Rider finally shed his "C-lister" shell and emerged as a bonafide A-list hero. This was during the era of Civil War, where the earth heroes were too busy having a hissy fit over law books and acting very UNheroic towards one another; and while they were fighting each other, Richard Rider was out there in the dark expanse of space saving the entire galaxy like a true hero, doing what truly matter.
Not only was Nova my favorite comic book character of all time, he renewed my love for comics. I hadn't seriously bought comics in ages, but Richard Rider's story and adventures sucked me back in and offered me a breath of fresh air from the dark, "edgy", vapid, eye-rolling, political, convoluted mess that Marvel had become. Where Spider-man was selling out his marriage to the devil, there was Richard Rider having amazing adventures in space with a psychic Cosmonaut dog. Where Captain America was being gunned down, there was Richard Rider inspiring hope and fighting evil in the universe and giving the Marvel universe a champion to admire. His stories were fun, funny, but also didn't talk down to you. Richard Rider was younger than Peter Parker, yet he grew up much faster, acted more mature, and stepped up to his role as a hero in a way that even Marvel's own iconic heroes were failing to do at the time. The team writing Nova just found that sweet spot of fun and depth and, most importantly, originality.
All this is a way of saying... I am NOT liking Sam Alexander as Nova. I've NEVER liked the idea of "legacy" heroes, even as Marvel has been chasing after that idea for some time now. I forget who said it, but there was once someone at Marvel claiming that the difference between them and DC was that they have CHARACTERS, not COSTUMES. I would like to remind Marvel of that now. It upsets me to see my favorite character, Richard Rider, replaced with a largely derivative, largely regressive, largely annoying child, backpedaling on all the deep, wonderful character growth that took nearly 3 decades to fully capitalize upon. It literally feels that RIGHT when Richard Rider was finally A-list and awesome, he had to be kicked out and some hip, new "Spider-man number 6,812" pops up.
I've read a few issues, and I've certainly seen this Sam kid on the Spider-man cartoon. I am not a fan. At all. I gave him a fair shake, and I know they say first impressions aren't the whole story, but they are important. There is literally NOTHING special about Sam. I can't stand the kid. Even if I did, I'd be upset that the grand, epic, cosmic stories, which I loved precisely BECAUSE they avoided the muck of earth-based Marvel politics and in-fighting, have been utterly gutted and the comic brought crashing down to earth with a thud. I'm sure the kid will grow. I'm sure his stories will be nice and clean Disney-like fluff for little Timmy to enjoy...
... But that's the mindset I always hated. It's the George Lucas mindset of "we have a kid hero for kids to relate to". I never subscribed to that. Ever. I grew up with Spider-man already a man, married to a wonderful wife, and I was JUST as interested in Peter's role as an adult and husband. I adored Wolverine in the 80s and 90s, despite the fact I was just a kid reading about a guy who certainly wouldn't pass for a man in his 20s, let alone a teen. There's a reason Batman costumes outsell Robin costumes at Halloween. Kids don't need KIDS to be heroes to relate to a hero. I grew up reading Nova, and I adored him because, young or not, he embodied the type of person I aspired to be, both in the flaws and strengths of his morality. He was hotheaded. He was arrogant. He was rude and self-centered at times. And yet, reading his stories, you were sure in every single issue that he absolutely, 100% was committed to the idea of being a hero, in words and deeds. As such, he endeared himself to the reader, which made his eventual rise into the champion and leader of entire armies of galactic soldiers in a war for survival not only pay off in dividends, it proved every fan of him RIGHT.
"Nova" is not a costume. It's not a mantle. It's not a legacy. "Nova" is Richard Rider. Just as Superman is Clark Kent, Wolverine is Logan, and Batman is Bruce Wayne. Ultimately, I did not read years of Nova, New Warriors, Guardians of the Galaxy, Secret Avengers, or other books because "Nova" was in the stories; I read them because RICHARD RIDER was in the book.
I have deep issues with Loeb's statements that they "respect" the work of DnA on Nova, and thus they left him "dead", yet apparently they don't "respect" the work of DnA to keep Thanos or StarLord dead too. I find that both odd and troubling. I'm upset that they felt the need to create a "new" hero piggy-backing on the name of a much more beloved character rather than having the creativity or gumption to just make a brand new hero. I'm bothered by the change of tone, the change of location, and the change of directive. You could claim it's because I'm against things that are "different', but I ADORE something different... but I reject the idea that "different" has to come at the expense of a quality character, a quality universe, and years of strong continuity.
And I utterly reject the idea that someone "respects" the work of someone else so much they wish to not even bother following up or continuing on from it. I would have loved to see that years ago; "We respect the work of Stan Lee on Spider-man so much, we'll never use Peter Parker as Spider-man ever again! Also, because Stan Lee did such a good job on X-men, we won't ever use any of them in our stories because we love and respect him so much." What kind of thinking is that?
We LOVE Richard Rider. We LOVED his adventures as Nova. We certainly did NOT want him to vanish, his book given to an insufferably annoying hipster kid, and his galaxy-spanning adventures to be brought down to street thug bashing on earth. This is not development; this is regression. I can only assume it's some sort of misguided appeal to the "kiddies" to have a relatable hero, but I've already discussed how no kids wants to be a superhero kid; they want to be the adult hero who's cool and powerful and awesome and confident. Marvel does that, and I don't know why. They worry that Spider-man being married or having a kid will make him "too old" to be interesting to children? They worry that Nova, already younger that Peter, isn't young enough so they put in a 16 year old teen to do the same old tired "kid gets power and learns to become a hero" stereotype that is as old as the medium itself? Batman has children and you don't see DC shaking in their boots that their most popular character, arguably the most popular hero of all time, is now too old since he's a dad whose very son is currently Robin.
This has turned into a rant, but here's the long and short of it: I want to read a story with Richard Rider. I want to read awesome cosmic stories of him in space fighting imaginative aliens and saving planets. I want the comic that used to thrill me and excite me, like it took the best elements of Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, John Carter, and Star Wars and gave me some of the most amazing, mature, yet fun and imaginative stories I've read from Marvel in DECADES.
I'm not getting that from Sam Alexander, nor do have I warmed up to him. Both the character AND the stories have utterly disappointed me to a degree of sadness and frustration that I don't think I can properly convey. I don't plan on buying any more issues of Nova, I have no interest in Loeb's "new" Nova, I have no interest in Marvel's direction for the character or series, and the only silver lining I can think of is that I'm happy Richard Rider wasn't retconned to be as annoying and insufferable as Sam Alexander is in the comic and cartoon he's in. I don't like him, no sir. Not one bit.
It sucks. It really does. If you're a Richard Rider fan, it really sucks having editors and writers dismiss your love for the character, dismiss the legacy of the character, dismiss the passion that former creators poured into him, and all the hard work it took to take a C-lister and turn him into the guy people loved. I still vividly recall my friend popping in a copy of Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom and going "who is THIS guy? He's AWESOME" and I could then pull out my copy of "Annihilation" and show him just how awesome he was. THAT'S the character I grew up loving. THAT'S the character I continue to love. And THAT'S the character I wish I could still be reading about.
Nova is Richard Rider. He's not a costume and not a mantle. And he's the only Nova I care to read about.