Nova #3 – Arthur’s Pick of the Week

Another shining star in the Marvel NOW lineup… SPOILERS WILL SURELY FOLLOW

After reviewing Guardians of the Galaxy last time it might seem a bit much to highlight another book starring a space-faring hero. In fact, two of the Guardians also appear very prominently within this issue, but if you’re going to be reading that you’ll probably find Nova to be a worthwhile companion.

The Nova in this series is not the original “Human Rocket” Richard Rider (who we learn has apparently perished), but a 15 year old boy called Sam Alexander. The son of a Nova Centurion who has inherited his father’s helmet and position, Sam was introduced in Marvel Point One and played a key role in the AvX event. This book starts before those stories as we learn how Sam took on the mantle and learn about the Nova Corps alongside him.

This issue starts with Sam on the Moon, meeting the Watcher (or the “pointer on the Moon” as Sam calls him) who alerts him to the approach of an armada of spaceships. Nova realises this is a warning and heads back to Earth to attempt to warn the Avengers (“which I’ve got no idea how to do”). Although this is halted by a confrontation with his mother (who may or may not know about Sam’s secret) and then another run-in with Rocket Raccoon and Gamora. They announce that there are billions of lives depending on him, and so they will provide training to make sure he’s up to the task.

During his training Gamora reveals why they came to Earth – they required help from Sam’s father to stop the Chitauri from attacking Earth. Sam works out that this was the armada he saw earlier, and Rocket explains that only Nova can see them (“it’s gotta be the helmet. Novas could see things in space nobody else could”). Sam’s role in the plan has now changed – they need him to scout the fleet and provide details in order for an attack to be co-ordinated. The inclusion of the Chitauri is a clever move on Marvel’s part, providing a direct link to the Avengers movie and a fun jumping on point for any readers drawn to comics because of it. We get another look at the armada, and sure enough there they are, presented exactly as they appeared on the big screen. Hundreds of ships. And they’re right in front of Sam…

Despite a slow pace the book is building momentum and Ed McGuinness’ art is as beautiful as ever, each page deserves to be savoured. Considering his links to the Guardians of the Galaxy and the invitation to join the Avengers offered by Thor in AvX, this new Nova is sure to become a major player in the Marvel Universe.

A brief mention has to also go to my second pick this week – Supergirl #19

Supergirl has consistently been one of the most visually appealing books in DC’s New 52 thanks to Mahmud Asrar’s outstanding art, and he draws both Karas beautifully. But as a fan of Power Girl from way back, it was especially good to see Earth 2’s Kara being provided with an updated version of her “classic” costume in this issue. Here’s hoping that weird upside-down teardrop “P” emblem has gone forever…

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