Nova #9 (Marvel)

nova #9 cover

Rating:  4/5 – Never go against a slave of Proxima Midnight when death is on the line!

Nova was relaunched earlier this year but without the familiar Richard Rider under the helmet.  Instead a young boy, Sam Alexander, was thrust into the role as the heir apparent to the Nova Corps when he finds a Nova Corps helmet that his missing father once wore.  This new iteration of Nova was launched with the writer/artist team of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness and switched over to Zeb Wells and Paco Medina handling the respective chores starting with issue 6.  At that time Juan Vlasco came on board to handle the inking and David Curiel the coloring.  Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne is the only holdover, providing the lettering on the book since the first issue.

I was hesitant when I first heard a new Nova was being introduced but my concerns were quickly assuaged when Loeb and McGuinness put together a solid introduction to the character and new series.  The change in creative teams was really smooth as we moved into the next story arc and with issue 8 Sam was brought into the Infinity storyline with Thanos finding out there is a Nova on Earth.  Thanos sends Kaldera, the slave of Promixa Midnight, to take care of him.

Issue 9 begins with Sam finding his family being held captive by Kaldera.  One of the positives to come out of Nova and the broader Infinity event is the influx of new characters to the Marvel Universe.  Thanos’ Black Order that appeared in the pages of New Avengers and now Kaldera are all interesting characters that I look forward to finding out more about.  Kaldera is a very creepy character and Zeb Wells does a great job writing dialogue for her that makes your skin crawl.  She refers to Sam’s sister as “little meat” and when I read the word balloon “Do not make me protect her flavor. Sam Alexander” I almost jumped out of my chair.

The issue focuses on the battle between Sam and Kaldera and it is fun watching Sam grow into his abilities and powers.  Each issue you see him becoming more comfortable as Nova but there is a naivety that underscores the growth he is experiencing which adds a humorous slant to the book.  The underlying “reunion” with his New Warriors pals is an interesting secondary storyline I am intrigued to see play out.  As much as I am enjoying Wells’ writing, the team of Medina, Vlasco and Curiel on art is coming together nicely and what makes the book for me.  I feel that the Nova character lends itself to an art style that can display the kinetic nature of the character and the team does a great job showing his dynamic movements, especially flight.  Curiel’s colors fit Medina’s and Vlasco’s art and the book well and leap off the page in some panels.

If I have one complaint about the issue, it is with the cover.  Anyone who recently read Mighty Avengers then saw the cover to Nova #9 would think that Sam Alexander was joining the battle in New York and would be involved in some way with the Mighty Avengers (which may happen at some point down the road but certainly not in this issue).  For those regularly reading Nova, this is a little confusing knowing how issue 8 left off and I am not sure why the bait and switch was needed.  Marvel introduces a great new villain in Kaldera and the creative team puts together a solid issue fleshing out her character a little more and giving readers a glimpse into her world.  It would have been more appropriate to have provided non-readers of Nova a glimpse of Kaldera on the cover or the impending battle found on the pages within the issue to potentially attract new readers.  Comic book covers not corresponding to issues is nothing new but I really feel like Marvel missed the boat on providing access to a new character to more comic readers.

Overall, Nova has been an enjoyable book since it relaunched and I am glad I put my initial concerns aside and gave the book a chance.  With each issue the creative team is rounding into form much like Sam and his newfound powers.  It is good to see some Marvel Cosmic books back on the shelf and fans of that corner of the Marvel Universe should check out Nova if they were skeptical about the new series.

Reviewed by: Jeff Bouchard – Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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