Comic Book Review: Nova #1

The Revolution wasn’t all that impressed with the Nova mini-series that we got as a part of the Annihilation Event. However, I have always liked Nova so I decided I’d give his new monthly title a try. Nova is a pretty cool character who should be able to successfully sustain an ongoing monthly title.

I’ve never been a big fan of Abnett and Lanning. I certainly wasn’t impressed with their run on the Legion of Super Heroes. On the other hand, I dig Sean Chen’s artwork. So, I’m willing to keep an open mind to Abnett and Lanning and hope for the best with Nova #1. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Penciler: Sean Chen
Inker: Scott Hanna

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: We begin with Nova responding to a call for help from the planet Turakis. The planet unleashed their global defense system called Planetfall in order to combat the Annihilation forces. Unfortunately, the Planetfall weapon is now rampaging out of control. Nova comes face to face with a giant tech organic monster.

The Worldmind urges Nova to be careful in fighting Planetfall. That Nova is endangering the Worldmind and that Worldmind is all that is left of the sum total of Xandarian culture and science.

Nova orders Worldmind to analyze Planetfall’s structure and locate a weak point. Worldmind locates a weak point in the arm of the monster. Nova focuses all his energy into a blast at the arm. Planetfall blows up in a massive explosion.

Nova meets with the locals and they thank him for his help. Nova tells the locals to have their government contact the Space Knight Restitution Initiative. That they are good guys working hard to help people rebuild.

Nova blasts off and Worldmind asks Nova if he is homesick for his home world of Earth. Nova says he is homesick, but he doesn’t have time for that now. That he is the last of the Nova Corp. and there are so many people in the wake of the Annihilation forces that need help.

Nova asks Worldmind for the next distress call. Worldmind tells Nova that a Kree colony is currently under attack. Nova streaks for the location Worldmind gives him. On route, Worldmind tells Nova that he is pushing himself too hard. That he hasn’t had food or water in a long time. That Worldmind fears for Nova’s long term health and sanity. That if Nova continues at this rate he will burn out. And if Nova dies then the Worldmind dies.

Nova then arrives at the Kree colony that is under attack by Annihilation Wave Troop Drones from a pod that drifted off course out of the core systems for three months before landing at this colony. Once the pod landed, the Annihilation Drones were hatched.

Nova immediately rips into the Annihilation Drones. Nova lets his anger and hate for the Annihilation forces just pour out of him as he slaughters the Drones. Worldmind advises that Nova destroy the pod first in order to prevent more Drones being created. Nova destroys the pod and then turns to the Drones and says they are all going to die.

We cut to Nova blasting off from the Kree colony after wiping out all of the Drones. Nova asks Worldmind for the next distress call. Nova arrives at a satellite research station that was sending the distress call. The signal has been on auto-repeat for the past six months. That everyone on the satellite has been dead for at least three months.

Nova is upset that he was too late to save everyone. Worldmind tells Nova that there is a considerable back log of distress calls. That they are working through them, but that Nova is just one man. Nova then asks for the next distress call. Worldmind says that Nova needs to take a break. Nova screams for the next distress call. Worldmind tells him there is a distress call from Hindsun Eight.

Nova takes off on the course the Worldmind charts for him. Worldmind tells Nova it will take fifty-nine minutes to get there. Nova says there has to be a faster way to get there. Nova decides to take a more direct route to shave forty minutes off the journey.

Unfortunately, that takes Nova to close to the Parshad Collapsar which is a super gravitational event that Worldmind had plotted a course to avoid it. Nova’s powers start to go crazy and Worldmind yells for Nova to abort his course.

We see Nova black out. Nova then wakes up in the middle of a huge crater that he made when landing on a planet. Nova asks if Worldmind is all right. Worldmind says it is fine. Nova asks Worldmind where they crash landed. Worldmind says they are on Earth.

We cut to the SHIELD Helicarrier. Iron Man is informed that their detectors just picked up the presence of a metahuman that is a Power Class 12 at the minimum. Iron Man orders SHIELD to go to threat-con one. That they don’t play games with something like this. End of issue.

The Good: Nova #1 was a fun read! Abnett and Lanning delivered a great debut issue to this new series. Abnett and Lanning are smart enough to move this issue along at a fast pace. There are no slow spots in this debut issue. And that is so critical for a first issue of a new series. A writer need to quickly hook a reader’s interest and entertain them enough to get them to give the new title a try. When writers take too long to set up the initial story arc and the debut issue moves to slowly then the new series is going to struggle attracting readers.

Abnett and Lanning provide the reader with tons of action in Nova #1. We get plenty of scenes of Nova kicking ass. But, that doesn’t mean this is a shallow brawl filled issue. Abnett and Lanning do a nice job of using the scenes with Nova going from one fight to another to give the reader an excellent feeling for Nova’s character and Worldmind’s personality.

Abnett and Lanning wisely give plenty of back story in order to get brand new readers up to speed on the events of the Annihilation story as well as introducing enough background on Nova and Worldmind. This is absolutely crucial in order to make this title new reader friendly.

If a new reader feels like he has to go back and by several years worth of back issues just to understand what is going on in a debut issue then the series will probably fail. Attracting new readers to Nova is vital and Abnett and Lanning do a great job making Nova #1 as new reader friendly as possible.

Abnett and Lanning craft some solid dialogue. Nova and Worldmind have their own easily identifiable external voices. The excellent running banter that Nova and Worldmind have through out this issue helps create some wonderful chemistry between these two characters.

I dig how Abnett and Lanning handle Nova’s personality. They quickly establish him as a true hero with tons of heart and fight inside of him. I like how Nova is dealing with the heavy weight that has been placed on his shoulders with his role as the last remaining Centurion from the Nova Corps. Nova’s feelings of guilt and his sense of duty drive him to acts that are beyond that of a normal human.

I also like that Nova is brash and impatient. It is important that heroes that have huge power levels like Nova have some emotional or character flaw. That way the character will get themselves into plenty of sticky situations just like Nova did in the end of this issue. I also liked that Abnett and Lanning showed Nova’s anger that he still has inside for the Annihilation forces. It was sweet to see Nova get a chance to squash some bugs.

And how about that little throw away comment about the Space Knights!? I have always been a huge fan of Rom and the Space Knights. I hope that Abnett and Lanning have the Space Knights make an appearance in this title at some point. The Space Knights are a cool concept and have plenty of potential.

Sean Chen’s art rocks. Chen’s style is perfect for a galaxy spanning Sci-Fi style comic book like Nova. I dig Chen’s slick looking style and his attention to detail. Chen’s Nova looks absolutely fantastic. Especially when Nova is fired up and has exhaust flames pouring out of him. Chen’s art is a massive improvement over the art in Nova’s Annihilation mini-series and certainly increases my enjoyment of this title.

The Bad: Just how far reaching is the Registration Act? One huge weakness of the entire Civil War storyline and the ensuing Initiative storyline is that they never actually sat down and wrote the Registration Act so they would have a concrete law that is properly defined in order to work with. It seems the Registration Act is amorphous and constantly shifts and bends depending on what each writer wants for his story.

Now, the Registration Act is an American law and should only apply to American super heroes operating within the United States. I know that Nova is an American, but he is a member of an alien police keeping force. Plus, his base of operations is the galaxy, not the United States. So, wouldn’t that take Nova out of the jurisdiction of the Registration Act and therefore rendering his impending showdown with Iron Man as completely moot?

I hope that Nova’s stay on Earth is extremely short. I dig Nova much more as a cosmic spanning hero rather than just another metahuman living in New York. Nova adventuring across the galaxy coming into contact with Marvel’s cosmic heroes and villains has far more potential than Nova being just one more metahuman in New York.

Overall: Nova #1 was a great start to this new series. Abnett and Lanning did a nice job with providing a quality story and Chen compliments it with some nice artwork. Nova #1 should appeal to readers who like action as well as readers who enjoy a little bit more substance to their comic books. I would definitely recommend that readers give Nova a try.