Ever since he came back from the dead, Richard Rider has been keeping a secret from the younger Nova, Sam Alexander. The truth finally comes out in Nova #5, but is it good?
Nova #5 (Marvel Comics)
This series’ dual focus on both Rich and Sam continues to be enjoyable and well-thought-out. Sam is often at his best when he’s playing off of another hero, and his relationship with Rich is an interesting one. He recognizes Rich’s skill and experience, but he doesn’t fawn over him in any sort of fanboy obsession. It’s especially cool to see the clash between the two near the issue’s end. In the midst of fighting a mysterious tentacled creature, Rich reveals that the monster escaped the Cancerverse when he did and has been attacking him ever since. Given that the two of them just had to save Sam’s family from the creature, Sam doesn’t respond well to learning that Rich had been withholding information from him.
Writers Jeff Loveness and Ramon Perez’s plotting and dialogue vary between being serviceable and good throughout the issue, but the artwork continues to be the book’s main strength. Perez’s pencils are solid, and he does a great job with panel composition and layout. Sometimes double-page spreads in comics can feel like they’ve been inserted arbitrarily, like the content could have all fit onto a single page but the artist had to do some padding for time constraints’ sake. That doesn’t feel like the case here. Perez knows how to create compositions that make sense and allow the reader’s eye to shift logically and naturally from panel to panel. This strong flow to the issue’s visual storytelling helps to make up for the fact that there could be more actually going on plot-wise.
Ian Herring’s colors help the issue’s visuals live up to their full potential. The gradient shifts between shades do a great job of highlighting the distinctions between foregrounds and backgrounds. Much of the issue’s coloration is defined by bright reds, blues, and violets, none of which ever get tiresome to look at. Overall, the art direction in this issue is just plain fun. This is especially the case for Perez and Herring’s renderings of the Lovecraftian abomination that Sam and Rich face off against. This is Nova after all, it’s important that outer space and its associated monsters are well-rendered. The monster design is well-done even in its simplicity, although it would be nice to see Sam and Rich get off of Earth more in future issues.
Overall, this is a good issue. The characters are likeable, the plot is decent, and the artwork is stellar. The series’ main problem seems to be its pacing combined with the price. Events continue to move along very slowly, and if you need a fairly long read to justify spending $4, then this issue may not be for you. If you’re able to stomach the price however, then this issue is worth picking up.