For years I’ve always imagined the Nova Corps were a very similar version of the Green Lanterns, only their costume design was cooler and their powers were a little less inventive. Marvel recently gave the helmet to a kid, which changed the character in more ways than one. This week’s issue proposes that maybe it’s time for him to hang up the tights, but is it good?
Nova #11 (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? The Marvel summary reads:
Sam Alexander has led a busy life as NOVA, but after all of his intergalactic gallivanting, is it time to hang up the helmet?
Why does this book matter?
The new Nova, Sam Alexander, has had a lot of growing up to do in the last 10 issues so it seems fitting he’d be questioning the very powers that allow him to save others at this juncture. Sean Ryan and Cory Smith have delivered one of the most harrowing journeys for Sam, from losing his father and dealing with a clone who took his place, to the growing pains of being an Avenger all while attempting to keep a normal life as a high school student. This issue aims to give him new purpose, but also shed some light on the Nova Corps in general.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Worldmind knows how to make an entrance.
Last issue Nova was granted access to the Worldmind, the thing powering every Nova Helmet. He’s been worried about his dad from the start, but maybe the Worldmind can offer him some answers. Ryan opens this issue with the Worldmind in direct contact with Sam in what appears to be some kind of Nova church, and through introspection and well timed questioning we learn quite a bit about how the Nova Corps work and why they are so important. In many ways this issue serves as an opening salvo to explain how the Nova force works and why they are necessary. If you ever wanted an insight into what makes the Nova powers work and why this is your issue.
This issue also serves as a means to give the Nova series a new direction for Sam and for the Nova Corps in general. Not only is Sam given good reason to throw out the whole secret identity thing (which will assuredly bring with it more story elements), but an epilogue shakes things up quite a bit too.
Smith does a spectacular job with the Worldmind sequence, with plenty of incredible double page layouts that show us the Worldmind has an ability to show anything and everything. Using the church theme, Smith conveys past events and current points via a stained glass look which gives the Worldmind an almost spiritual look and feel. There are quite a few big ideas being conveyed in conversation and Smith does well to visualize them, using the space of the page quite efficiently. Take for instance a portion of a double page spread showing the graves of the now dead Nova Corps being uploaded into a portal which conveys the Worldmind itself.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This issue lacks stakes or a threat of any sort, which makes the overall experience feel too safe. In a way, it’s like a encyclopedia type issue as it explains things, and focuses on Sam, but there isn’t anything pressing the issue forward. That makes the overall experience a somewhat limp one.
Sweet stairs dude!
Is It Good?
You’ll be left wanting to learn more about the Nova force and how it works. Clearly Marvel is laying the groundwork for a deeper, almost spiritual explanation for the Nova Corps, and this issue explains the almost cosmic force of the Worldmind in an interesting way.