Having been semi-introduced in Avengers vs. X-Men last April, kid Nova finally gets an origin story a full 9 months later. Aside from a bit part in that event he’s been nonexistent, but Marvel NOW! is ready to unveil this new hero. Origin stories can be dicey so we’ll use our ultra self important detective hats to answer the question, is it good?
Nova Vol. 5 #1 (Marvel Comics)
Nova is a character that most folks wouldn’t even consider top brass until a few years ago. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning took Richard Rider’s character to a whole new place from the doldrums of the New Warriors all the way to galactic wars.
Sure the character is unnervingly similar to Green Lantern in that they’re both kind of space police, but the character brings a fresh take to space comics. Similar to what a nova is in outerspace, a quick nuclear explosion in a white dwarf star, the Nova superhero can quickly change hands after doing their duty. After Richard Rider sacrificed himself to stop Thanos there’s a new Nova in town and for better or worse he’s a teenager with daddy issues.
Note the storytelling aspect in the boxes.
Sam Alexander’s father was an elite Black Nova a full 17 years ago. Sadly he gave up his post to be a father to Sam and his sister, but now works as a lowly janitor at Sam’s high school. That fact that he appears to be a drunk may have something to do with not being a kickass superhero anymore, but Sam views him as a liar who makes up the space stuff to cope with his boring pitiful life. It’s a situation that actually makes sense from Sam’s perspective, although living in the Marvel Universe you’d think he’d be a little more open to the possibility of his dad being a superhero.
What ah loozah.
Part of the fun of this issue is Sam’s dad recounting a few of his space tales. Of course they’re hard to believe, but that’s why Nova is so damn awesome. It’s easy to relate to Sam when the stories are so alien and he never comes off as unrealistic or annoying when it comes to his frustration with his father.
Writer Jeph Loeb does a good job fleshing out the character as well. So often we see these young heroes who were nothing before given powers and then find their courage as they go along. Here Sam is clearly a hero before he ever dons the helmet. He takes it on himself to take care of his father and the heart of a hero can be seen under that skin. It just needs a little push (in this case a little Nova), to get him there.
Love the mini Nova.
Unfortunately Sam doesn’t get to don the suit in this issue. The issue spends all of its time setting up his father as Nova 17 years prior and his relationship to the Guardians of the Galaxy. Considering we the reader know his father isn’t lying there isn’t much of a surprise when Sam encounters some aliens at the end so much of this issue reads like a waiting game.
You’re less than nothing!
Okay sure we know Sam will figure it out eventually let’s get to the threat already! Part of the problem though is the page count. At 22 pages, four of which are double page spreads, there isn’t a lot of room to tell the story. Yet another comic book that’s going to be told over 6 issues to fit into a collected format. That’s all well and good, but when you have other comics telling fulfilling stories in a single issue on top of the overarching story that’ll read great in a collection, it’s a bit annoying.
Artist Ed McGuinness is a great choice for a book like this. His style lends itself to the space scenes and his depiction of Sam is spot on. So often children can look awkward or too young, but McGuiness’ Sam has an edge. He looks young, but still heroic.
Colonoscopy Nova style.
- Great art that dazzles
- Interesting father son dynamic at work
- Not enough story!
Loeb has delivered a good first issue that could amount to another great chapter in the Nova storyline. The character has a big enough chip on his shoulder to set him apart from the other kid heroes out there (I’m looking at you Miles Morales) and due to his issues with his father has an originality that should be interesting to watch. Of course this is yet another fish out of water story, but the epic nature of space police should make this a fun ride.
Is It Good?
Yes. Kid Nova finally gets an origin story and it’s not too shabby.