Open Mike Night - Nova (2016) #1

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Nova #1

Written by: Jeff Loveness & Ramon Perez
Art by: Ramon Perez
Colored by: Ian Herring
Lettered by: Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne

Published by: Marvel
Cover Price:  $3.99

Mike Maillaro: At the end of the last Nova series, Richard Rider had showed up at his mother’s doorstep, returned to life.  In this issue, we find out that Richard’s return seems to have come at a price.  He’s seeing death everywhere, and is concerned that he’s losing his mind.
Meanwhile, the current Nova Sam Alexander is helping Ego The Living Planet fight off an invasion of the Sidri.  He solves this by creating an extinction level asteroid strike on Ego to chase off the aliens.  He is also trying to deal with typical teenage drama and with Miles, Kamala, and himself leaving the Avengers to form the Champions.  His helmet alerts him that there is a new “Nova” on Earth, which he assumes is his father finally returning home.
Sam goes looking for this Nova.  Richard Rider is enjoying using his powers again, but ends up plunging from the sky seemingly infected with something from the Cancerverse.
There was a lot of setup in this issue, but it ends real abruptly.  It really could have used a little more payoff.  At the very least, the two Novas could have encountered each other.  I just didn’t feel like I got enough here, especially on the Richard Rider end of things.  It makes me real uncertain what this series is going to be...
Weaver: I was happy to see the Sidri, because it let me say, “There’s something in this comic I was previously familiar with!”  Anyway, I felt the same...too little payoff on the Rider end.  I felt like the teenage drama parts of Sam’s story, while amusing, didn’t do too much to build the story between him and Rider. Ultimately, either the Ego bit or the teenage bit needed to go in order to give the story room to have some level of progress, and if we’re telling a story about Novas, well, it needs to be the teenage part.  As much as Sam having no pants and trying to deal with the new girl was great, it feels like something that would best be dealt with after we have the series set up done. 
Maillaro: Yeah, I was actually a little surprised when you told me that you hadn’t really read much with Richard Rider.  I kind of thought that would have been right in your wheelhouse.  But I just realized that the character had basically been on hiatus from his debut in the mid 70’s until he finally came back in New Warriors.
Weaver: I typically hate space heroes.  I thought this was known.
Maillaro: Oddly enough the “Nova Force” stuff came a while after his debut.  You can tell they were desperately trying to find a way to make this character work, so they took him from new Earth hero to Green Lantern knock off.  And then dumped him entirely for twenty years.  Just for him to come back when I started reading comics.  The first comic I ever bought featured Nova (Amazing Spider-Man 351).  
Weaver: Nova was one of those characters that was introduced mainly to have a solo title and hope it sold in the 70’s, along with Ms. Marvel and a few others. None of those solo titles tended to be in the buy of the drug store I used to buy comics at.  I’m sure I saw them at Waldenbooks or whatever, but I tended to buy the comics I could regularly expect to find.  I’m not sure I ever read anything with him in it...I feel like I must have, but I don’t recall anything.
Anyway, back to the issue.  One thing I think the writing did well was bounce tone between the Sam and Richard parts.  Sam’s stuff was light hearted and fun, Richie...not so much.
Maillaro: Yeah, the life of the adult superhero in the Marvel universe tends to be a pretty dark one.  It was actually a bit jarring how dark they went.
“Mom!  I’m home!”  
“Richard!  Your dad is dead.  It just happened too, so if you had come back a few months ago, you might have been able to see him.”
And then Richard seeing a vision of his mom’s rotting corpse, and in the end, it being heavily suggested that he brought the Cancerverse back home with him.   
Meanwhile, Sam’s biggest stress is “does the new girl think I am a freak?”   Like you said, they did a really nice job bouncing between the two extremes. Though I did think Nova’s cartoony dream went on a little too long.  That seems to be a common problem in comics these days, drawing out daydream sequences that have no impact on the main story. Jughead did the same thing which caused me to drop the book until the creative team swap.  Though I did like the art in the dream sequence here, and it seems like it was done by the same artist, so that is pretty impressive range.
Weaver: With the amount that comics cost these days, long unimportant sequences seem particularly wasteful.  It reminds me of when TV shows go full out product placement.  “I’m driving my Prius, which has incredible gas mileage, and all these built in features in the base package.”  I get why they do it, and it’s great and all, but condensing it down to a quick mention is just as effective, I think.
I wanted to like this comic, and I kind of did.  But it spent too much time spinning its wheels.  Early Spider-Man could have done that teenage moment in a page and a half just as effectively.  I’m going to give the writing a 3.5 as being slightly above average.  The art I’m giving a 4, because while there’s some impressive range and moments, it sometimes dipped below my standards.
Maillaro: I think Marvel needs to stop trying to please everyone. I know Sam Alexander has gotten a lot of backlash just for the simple fact he’s not Richard Rider...but other than some quick life at the end, it’s not like Richard Rider was all that beloved a character anyway.  I have really enjoyed Nova’s last two series (though there has been a lot of creative team churn), and I can’t help but wonder if I wouldn’t have liked this book more if they didn’t bring Richard Rider back this way.  
I think your scores are fair, though I am dropping the writing to a 3. The art was solid, but never particularly memorable.  I actually told you this just before we started writing this.  I had read this comic first thing this morning...and I had to reread it just before we started writing because I could not remember how the comic ended. Everything just felt rushed and abrupt at times.
Weaver:  It especially was weird for me because Marvel Now usually is an attempt at entry level comics, and this didn’t feel like that either.  I felt like I missed something every time Rider showed up.
Maillaro: Yeah, they also didn’t explain Sam’s dad all that much.  I know Marvel does the Previously In page, but I don’t think that’s an excuse to not help catch the reader up during the body of the comic.  Especially in a first issue.

Summary: Not a bad comic, but this is mostly just setup.  I just doesn't quite feel like you get a full comic here, which is crazy since you have two seperate characters getting the focus here.  Hoping this series picks up quickly.  It is great to see Richard Rider back though.

Final Scores


Maillaro – Story (out of 5)

Weaver – Story (out of 5)

Maillaro – Art (out of 5)

Weaver – Art (out of 5)

Nova #1





Maillaro: Next week, it’s looking like a lot of Holiday cheer in the comic shop.  Marvel, DC, and Disney all have holiday specials.  I am leaning towards the Marvel one since I am dying to expose you to Gwenpool.
Weaver: Ho ho ho, I’m all for that.
Maillaro: And yes, I said Holiday over and over again.  Come at me, Alt-Right!  I may celebrate Christmas, but my extended family is Jewish, and I happen to be pretty close friends to some guy who celebrates Yule.  
Weaver: I bet that guy’s pretty awesome.
Maillaro: Indeed!  See you next time!
3.5 / 5.0