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Nova #1 - Chapter One Review

4

Who is this new Nova? Why should we care about him? This issue will tell us.

The Good

I really really like Nova. Maybe I should clarify, I really like Richard Rider. When Nova died in THANOS IMPERATIVE, I wasn't thrilled. I figured it'd be a matter of time until he came back. Then in AVENGERS VS X-MEN, we got a glimpse at a new Nova, Sam Alexander. As a character on the animated Ultimate Spider-Man, his annoying personality put me at odds over the debut of this series.

Thankfully, Sam isn't quite the same character here that he is in the animated show.

A big question has been where did Sam come from? How could he be a Nova when the Nova Corps was no more? At the end of AVX, we found out he had been on other missions.

This series backs up a little. We get to find out who he is as a character before becoming Nova. We find out about his past and family and how it all fits together. Jeph Loeb does a good job in introducing us to the teenage character. Introducing a new Nova is more than just throwing a helmet on another person. He gives us the back story and gets us invested in the character. Even the numerous preview pages released for the first three issues don't tell the complete story. I may have had my doubts over this character but I do want to see what's to become of him now.

Seeing Ed McGuinness' art is a blast. There's a lot of variation in the environments from the far reaches of space to a small town in the middle of nowhere. His design on the other characters and their uniforms is enhanced by Marte Gracia's colors. The space scenes have a spectacular feel and those on Earth have a definite desolate one.

The Bad

There are a couple cliché moments. Nothing that causes huge discomfort when reading. There are some nice differences in Sam's 'origin' to set him apart from other teenage heroes. You can't help but feel this is all part of a bigger picture with the upcoming GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY series. That's not necessarily a bad thing either.

As this is the first issue and has to serve to set up who the character is, where he came from and how he came upon the role, it's not entirely clear on the direction of the series. That will be interesting to see but whether we get a space/sci-fi comic or adventures on Earth remain to be seen.

The Verdict

As a Richard Rider fan, I wasn't thrilled over the idea of a series starring a different Nova. Jeph Loeb does a good job in introducing who the character is and where he comes from. The version of Sam Alexander here is thankfully different than what is seen on the animated Ultimate Spider-Man series. As a first issue, we get the basics, we are introduced to Sam and get an idea how he becomes Nova. What we dont know is if the series will be based in space, on Earth or both. Ed McGuinness' art is great as he always manages to capture and depict big action scenes. We're off to a great start. I was hesitant about actually liking a Nova series with a different Nova but I have to admit I'm hooked so far.

43 Comments
Posted by Trevel8182

Posted this before but for those who haven't seen sorry for the length

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.

Posted by k4tzm4n

The tag team of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness unfortunately reminds me of Rulk's earlier stories. While they looked great and delivered some solid popcorn entertainment, I thought the story was really lackluster. I'll of course do what I can to wipe those impressions from my mind when giving this issue a shot, though.

Staff
Posted by markslurpee

The preview for this looked pretty good, to be fair, so I'll definitely give this and Guardian a shot. Also, can I say that those variants are beautiful.

Posted by Lvenger

@Trevel8182: That article=so much win!

Posted by TMEInk

Still not completely sold on the comic. I do love McGuinness's art and seeing all these positive reviews is a plus, but I haven't really been sold on a lot of Loeb's recent work and I really do wish it was Rider under the mantle. That and there are a ton of great releases this week already, so money is tight as it is. But if I get some extra cash I might give the first issue a try, especially if it's one of the variants.

@Trevel8182 That article was awesome the first time I read it, less so after multiple postings...especially within a 24 hour period. We get it. I really loved Rider too and seeing Sam as the new Nova is a slap in the face to longtime fans. But if I had a nickel for every time a comic company slapped me in the face with their creative choices, I'd probably be rich by now.

Posted by DJ1107

@Trevel8182:

Yes we get it Legacy hero suck. Stop posting this rabid fanboy tripe all over Nova related thing. People who want to read about Sam don't care.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@Trevel8182: THIS. All day, every day. Till the very end.

Does Loeb actually explain how this Alexander kid actually has powers when the Nova Force was destroyed?

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@DJ1107 said:

@Trevel8182:

Yes we get it Legacy hero suck. Stop posting this rabid fanboy tripe all over Nova related thing. People who want to read about Sam don't care.

deal with it.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

I'm pretty much with you, G-Man. Its just not Richard Rider. But this does give me inclination to at least try the first issue...

Posted by neiliusprime

I'm gonna give this series a chance, the preview really grabbed my interest. However, since Starlord and Thanos survived the Cancerverse, a part of me believes that Richard Rider is alive somewhere.

Posted by Trevel8182

@TMEInk:

Apologizes for posting this again this just seemed like a better spot to put this sense my first time a stating a forums post didn't go so well.

Posted by spinningbirdcake

So...what I got from this is that Jeph Loeb doesn't come off as his recently loony self. I'm still not sure. I've got a spot left on my list for either this or JLA.

Posted by Kallarkz

Is he Nova as in the one who holds all the power of the Nova Corps? Or just another member?

Edited by Twentyfive

Let's GO!!!! Do the Nova Force baby!!

Anyway, cue the mandatory close-minded Loeb/Sam Alexander hate!

Posted by Weave16

@Twentyfive said:

Let's GO!!!! Do the Nova Force baby!!

Anyway, cue the mandatory close-minded Loeb/Sam Alexander hate!

Not helped by and almost instigated by

Posted by Novemberx2

Looks like another jeph loeb turd...

Posted by jsphsmth

Pretty alarmed by "You can't help but feel this is all part of a bigger picture with the upcoming GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY series." I have no desire to read a Peter Parker-ized Nova, but the news about Guardians was starting to interest me. If the two series are tied too closely together, I may have to skip it.

Posted by weenman1

Sam Alexander first appearance is the rare Pint One Sketch Variant 1:100!

Posted by Danial79

Has it ever been explained why Peter Quill returned from dead and Richard Rider didn't?

Posted by wisesonAC

change is good. ill give it a shot

Posted by frozenedge

@wisesonAC: what kind of comic fan are you? Everybody knows comic fans hate change yet complain when things are still the same after events

Posted by wisesonAC

@frozenedge: im the kind that welcomes change.im in the deep minority. lol i dont see it as a bad thing. i usually give it a chance. i feel like comics should evolve not stay stagnant. so i cant wait to read sam's stories just the same as i couldn't wait to read miles stories.and see the growth of comic characters in general.

Posted by TheHeat

Bring back Dick Rider!

Posted by jloneblackheart

@Danial79 said:

Has it ever been explained why Peter Quill returned from dead and Richard Rider didn't?

Because he's going to be in a movie. Or did you mean an actual explanation?

Moderator
Posted by Tolliver_Trask

Sam looks like a stand-up guy, I will be happy to give him a chance! I haven't been impressed with a lot of the art coming out of Marvel this year, but anything with Mr. McGuinness involved is worth checking out.

Posted by chocobojam

i havent read the previous richard rider Nova and im not saying that long time richard rider fans should just forget about him. But for a new Nova reader like me, hearing richard rider fans complain about Nova not being richard rider and how they hate this new sam alexander has so much negativity and already giving this series a bad reputation to new readers.

Yes i already get it whenever a die hard fan of Nova would say how they love richard rider blah blah blah blah...but its also sad to see that they also dont have an open mind to this.

Posted by Grey56

@Jonny_Anonymous said:

@DJ1107 said:

@Trevel8182:

Yes we get it Legacy hero suck. Stop posting this rabid fanboy tripe all over Nova related thing. People who want to read about Sam don't care.

deal with it.

John, have I told you I love you today?

Posted by Fenderxx

I have never Read Nova and after the Review, I was going to give it a chance and see what it is about, however reading the comments it appears that everyone is upset that the original Nova is not returning, and makes we want to pick up so old Nova trades ... any suggestions ?

Posted by DeathstrokeMerc

This change reminds me of Blue Beetle all over again. Still miss you Ted Kord.

Posted by DJ1107

@chocobojam:

You have nothing but my respect dear sir. Thank you for being one of the few who are open minded about this series.

Posted by G_Money_Christmas

Hmmm, I'll give it a shot but the 2.3/5 with 10 votes doesn't bode well... Unless we have those a-hole trolls giving everything a 0.5/5 again.

Posted by Baberaham_Lincoln

@Trevel8182: hot damn... good read =D

Posted by Nova`Prime`

@DJ1107: The problem many long time Nova/Rider fans have a problem with this new Nova isn't the fact he's Nova. Its the fact that they have pretty much left Rider behind without so much as a mention. I don't care so much about there being a new Nova, hell there should be, its the Nova Corps after all, you can have both.

The problem many of the long time Nova fans have is the treatment of Rich by the higher ups at Marvel, they say they want to honor what the previous writers did by leaving Rich dead, yet they bring back Starlord and Thanos. Why? They don't explain where this kid got his powers, or what happened to the rest of Nova Corps. Not to mention they are moving Nova from the cosmic side of things to being Earth bound.

These are the biggest reasons, there should be other Novas... there should be a lot of them. But no we get this little turd and no sign or mention of the best of them.

To make it even simpler on you, imagine having Green Lantern without Hal Jordan or Alan Scott.

Posted by ShadowSwordmaster

I liked this issue alot.

Online
Posted by chocobojam

@Nova`Prime` said:

@DJ1107: The problem many long time Nova/Rider fans have a problem with this new Nova isn't the fact he's Nova. Its the fact that they have pretty much left Rider behind without so much as a mention. I don't care so much about there being a new Nova, hell there should be, its the Nova Corps after all, you can have both.

The problem many of the long time Nova fans have is the treatment of Rich by the higher ups at Marvel, they say they want to honor what the previous writers did by leaving Rich dead, yet they bring back Starlord and Thanos. Why? They don't explain where this kid got his powers, or what happened to the rest of Nova Corps. Not to mention they are moving Nova from the cosmic side of things to being Earth bound.

These are the biggest reasons, there should be other Novas... there should be a lot of them. But no we get this little turd and no sign or mention of the best of them.

To make it even simpler on you, imagine having Green Lantern without Hal Jordan or Alan Scott.

Has it ever crossed your mind that maybe the answer to what you're seeking for about what happen to Richard Rider would be explained sooner or later in this new Nova series?

I dont think that marvel has forgotten about Richard Rider, It just maybe they are only waiting for the right moment to tell the fans what really happen to him. Who knows maybe someday we'll see Richard Rider and Sam Alexander team up in this series.

Posted by Nova`Prime`

@chocobojam said:

@Nova`Prime` said:

@DJ1107: The problem many long time Nova/Rider fans have a problem with this new Nova isn't the fact he's Nova. Its the fact that they have pretty much left Rider behind without so much as a mention. I don't care so much about there being a new Nova, hell there should be, its the Nova Corps after all, you can have both.

The problem many of the long time Nova fans have is the treatment of Rich by the higher ups at Marvel, they say they want to honor what the previous writers did by leaving Rich dead, yet they bring back Starlord and Thanos. Why? They don't explain where this kid got his powers, or what happened to the rest of Nova Corps. Not to mention they are moving Nova from the cosmic side of things to being Earth bound.

These are the biggest reasons, there should be other Novas... there should be a lot of them. But no we get this little turd and no sign or mention of the best of them.

To make it even simpler on you, imagine having Green Lantern without Hal Jordan or Alan Scott.

Has it ever crossed your mind that maybe the answer to what you're seeking for about what happen to Richard Rider would be explained sooner or later in this new Nova series?

I dont think that marvel has forgotten about Richard Rider, It just maybe they are only waiting for the right moment to tell the fans what really happen to him. Who knows maybe someday we'll see Richard Rider and Sam Alexander team up in this series.

Oh it has but I don't trust Marvel not to screw it up.

Posted by scuzz2.0

The 17 years ago thing bothered me. It poses too many problems including aging all the characters involved. Why were Rocket and Gamora called the Guardians 17 years ago? How had they even met? I do not like it. Apart from that the comic was actually okay.

Posted by Gritterr

This was a solid first issue

Posted by KnightofSteel

A lotta fun. Mcguiness seems like a great fit for this book. Looking forward to next issue.

Posted by Cap10nate

As a huge Richard Rider fan, I wasn't too psyched when I heard that a new Nova series was being released and it wasn't Rider at the helm. I was less happy when I heard that it would be a teenager taking over the role. I am not a fan of teenage heroes because much of the story usually involves them being immature and rebelling, and it gets old to me. Reading about Richard Rider was like reading about the seasoned field general who did what it took to win without being caught up in drama.

I just re-read most of the cosmic run from Annihilation through Thanos Imperative including GOTG and Nova's series. The overarching story is an amazing epic and is such a defining character exploration for Rider that ends in a heroic conclusion. A conclusion is the one thing that few characters enjoy in this medium. No matter what happens, there is always something the prohibits a definite conclusion as the story must go on. The Joke slips out of Batman's grasp, The Red Skull is awakened in one of Zola's robotic bodies, etc. This just seemed like a perfect conclusion to a wonderful story as it would happen in any medium other than a monthly ongoing comic.

I am sure that everything in the upcoming Nova and GOTG series about the Cancerverse and why Star-Lord and Thanos are still alive as well as touch upon the current whereabouts of Rider. However, I don't think that I am going to pick up this series. It's not because I am upset it is the role held by one of my favorite characters, but it is because I don't find the new teenage character interesting. I'm definitely not writing him off though. I have always been fond of Cosmic Marvel, so I will keep tabs on these two series to they are worth picking up or if I should just pretend that everything cosmic ended perfectly with the Thanos Imperative.

@Fenderxx said:

I have never Read Nova and after the Review, I was going to give it a chance and see what it is about, however reading the comments it appears that everyone is upset that the original Nova is not returning, and makes we want to pick up so old Nova trades ... any suggestions ?

If you have not read them, my personal favorite stories that involve Nova are:

Annihilation: Nova

Annihilation

Thanos Imperative.

His most recent series (vol. 4) ran 36 issues. It was really good but not as good as the cosmic events.

Posted by Sinfulplayerx

@Trevel8182:

Dude, I understand how you feel. I would feel that same way if they replaced BruceBanner or even.... PeterParker...... But come on... It's been only 1 issue! In the end you may be right as rain, but in the infinites of all posibilities.... this may be a better parralel world then you're giving a chance too. Just saying....give it a chance 1st before you toss in the towel.

Edited by Fenderxx

@Cap10nate: Thanks man, ya I hear you on the Teenage hero thing, I picked up the new Nova just beccause I wanted to get into more of the Cosmic stuff, and I know it will tie into GOTG, but Ya im going to check out those Trades, Thanks again !

Posted by Danial79

Finally got around to reading this and I REALLY enjoyed it. I'd probably give it 4/5 too, except that Gamora and Rocket's cameos knock it up to a 5 for me :)