Sadly, Marvel has decided to cancel the current Nova series after next month’s issue. Is the penultimate Nova #6 good?
Without a shadow of a doubt, the most notable thing about this issue is the art. Scott Hepburn delivers work that conveys action and movement very well. Each panel moves the story forward in one way or another; no moment feels unneeded or awkwardly static. The page layouts throughout this issue are next level. Almost all of the compositional choices feel perfect for the scenes at hand, and several of them feel very creative and fresh. The visual details throughout this issue bring the script to life in what feels like the best way possible. There is very little in this issue that feels artistically questionable.
Writer: Jeff Loveness, Ramon Perez
Artist: Scott Hepburn
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The book’s aesthetic “wow” factor owes a lot to the work of colorist Ian Herring, as well. His work in this issue is gorgeous. This whole issue takes place in the Cancerverse, and Herring’s work really sells the ideas behind that corrupted, dangerous universe. Most of the environment is depicted using shades of red, blue, and violet, and the results are visually pleasing. The middle tones between the reds and blues reinforce where foreground begins to shift into background, creating an effective sense of unity between the line and color-work.
It wouldn’t be enough for the Cancerverse to consist of generic, desolate alien terrain. Instead, we get we get visuals that combine landscape and monster design, as Lovecraftian horrors seem to grow right out of the ground itself. The creature designs in this issue are reminiscent of the Angels from Neon Genesis Evangelion and the D-Reaper agents from Digimon Tamers. Like those characters, the monstrosities in this issue are larger than life, imposing, twisted, and…fun. Even as the plot follows Richard Rider across the horrors of the Cancerverse, this issue is a lot of fun to read. It’s a unique sci-fi joyride, thanks in part to the fact that the art doesn’t overly rely on shades of black to convey horror. There’s plenty of white throughout the issue, which helps to keep the overall package from becoming boringly, unwaveringly dark. As a result, when the art does use black heavily in small sections, it contrasts effectively. The black space becomes a creature in and of itself.
With all that said, how is the writing? Jeff Loveness and Ramon Perez penned the issue, and their work is solid. Most of the issue consists of Richard Rider speaking with the Worldmind about what happened following Rich’s escape from the Cancerverse. We see evidence of the Worldmind’s evolution and it feels threatening, if also a bit too aesthetically similar to Starro the Conqueror. Sam Alexander makes an awesome entrance at the end of the issue, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next. On the negative side, one could argue that not enough happens here narratively. The forward momentum of the artwork carried the issue so successfully that I never felt disappointed, but some more expositional content still could have been beneficial.
Ultimately, my main con with this issue is simply that there could have been more. The artwork was incredibly well-stylized and executed, but the narrative thrust of the issue didn’t quite match up. With that said, the writing was still good enough that I felt entertained and more content than not with how far we came from the beginning to the end. I’m worried that the plot may end up getting unsatisfactorily rushed in the next (and final) issue, but Nova #6 is one hell of a good time.