Fall is upon us but while Secret Wars and it’s many tie in’s sit in delay purgatory for the time being, Marvel is once again relaunching it’s superhero line with a whole bunch of #1 issues for their comics. With that said, the publisher is moving from a different position than they were in with Marvel Now & All New Marvel Now. With the former, Marvel had a lot of young creative talent that they were able to re-position during the relaunch to give their line a fresh make over and give creators they had brought up on their lower tier titles a higher profile like Jonathan Hickman, Jerome Opena, Esad Ribic, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Jason Aaron or Rick Remender. After Marvel Now was a success, they added several new talents into their fold by building off the success of the original relaunch, giving creators like Ales Kot, Tradd Moore, Michael Walsh, Felipe Smith or Michel Fiffe their first shot at a major comics launch with the publisher. Now, much of the talent from both those initiatives has moved on from the publisher. In their place, Marvel has new creators coming on from all sorts of different mediums in addition to some of their old standby’s like Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Waid or Greg Land, and they are publishing a lot of comics. Probably too many. Below is a list of all the announced new series categorized into grouping of Yay, Mayhaps or Nah like we did with Secret Wars. Keep in mind that I won’t be including series that are basically the same creative talent and that Marvel will surely have more books to announce in the months ahead.
The latest chapter in the Nova legacy opens with a clever gag. For the first page, readers believes they are witnessing the most recent cosmic adventure of young Nova Sam Alexander, only to find out that it is simply a sci-fi movie being watched by Sam and his friends. Based on their wisecracks it doesn’t even sound like it was that good of a film (“How did she not know that guy was evil [He] had at least two X’s in his name”). This good-natured jesting is fun to read but it also underscores what has always been one of Sam’s most appealing elements: his relatability.
Continue reading Review of Nova #1
This past week, Marvel celebrated 100 issues of Nova. Now, while I am not old enough to have caught Richard Rider (aka Nova)’s exploits from their beginnings, he is a character I have a sentimental attachment to. See, like any true child of the 90s, I first became aware of him through the pages of The New Warriors. Marvel launched the series in the summer of 1990 as part of a batch of new titles, including the Danny Ketch Ghost Rider, John Byrne’s Namor, a Robocop book and Jim Valentino’s Guardians of the Galaxy. I bought all of those first issues, but The New Warriors instantly became one of my favorite series (along with Guardians, though that’s a reminiscing for another day). The series was also my first introduction to the art of Mark Bagley, who I immediately became a fan of as well; somewhere I have the first few issues signed by Bagley. I also had his signature on some 90s issues of Amazing Spider-Man; however, the last time I searched for them, they seemed to have vanished. (You’d be surprised how many big- name comic creators passed through Central Ohio during the early 90s).
This issue brings to a close the current arc. The storyline started with Nova seemingly doing the right thing in answering a deep space distress call. Turns out that not only did he save the skin of known salve-trader Skaarn (oops) but one of his current illicit activates is holding captive Korbonites. Needless to say, Beta Ray Bill is not amused when his search for his people leads him to an earthling teenager in possession of a Nova helm.
A series of twists and turns in the plot have brought Beta Ray Bill and Nova to The Keep where they hope to defeat Skaarn before he can get away with some super-weapons, including one which formerly belonged to a Herald of Galactus. Throughout, Sam continues to be an engaging character. In many ways, he is a standard variation on Marvel’s classic young hero archetype (see Parker, Peter), but there is a reason this template has had such a durable life. Sam is not a perfect kid, who is clearly still learning the ropes. Yet, he is also someone whose intentions are in the right place. When necessary he is the hero which the moment requires. Also, he has a winning personality; he and Beta Ray quickly develop an easy-going camaraderie.
Towards the end of this issue, Sam meanders through space while reflecting on some advice given to him Beta Ray. It is a nice sequence reminding both the hero and the reader of how not to take things for granted in life. This message gains a bit of irony with a surprise waiting for Sam once he finally reaches his home once again.
A good issue, and I look forward to seeing where Sam’s story goes next. I have a hunch that the plot-thread of his father’s disappearance may be about to overlap with Marvel’s upcoming Original Sin event. Just a guess though.
Nova #13.1 by Gerry Duggan & Paco Medina
This issue starts out with our young hero, Sam in a pretty good mood. His most recent Nova adventure, as seen last month, was a great success. He heeded a distress call, and rescued a spaceship, saving the lives of everyone on board. And so, for the whole first page of this week’s issue, everything seems to be coming up Milho—er, everything appears to be going great. Naturally, though, it doesn’t last.
First, he has a run in with school bully, Moffet. The fight between them is just escalating when Beta Ray Bill shows up proclaiming that someone must pay for their crimes. Moffet panics and flees as quickly as possible, right into a sign post. Human tormentor unconscious, Sam turns to Beta Ray. Having never met Beta Ray before, Sam does not know who this alien creature is. Sam does rush to Moffet’s side to make sure the boy is all right. See, Sam’s kind-hearted, always wanting to assist those in need, only, well, it turns out he helped the wrong person. Skaarn, the commander of the ship he rescued in the previous issue, is actually wanted by Beta Ray for grave crimes. It would seem that the learning curve for cosmic heroics is longer than Sam assumed. However, he volunteers to do the right thing, and help make his wrongs right. His determination to do the right thing, to live up to this legacy from his father, makes him a compelling character.
Sam and Beta Ray have a good dynamic together. (Also, Sam holds up pretty well against Beta Ray in a fight). Duggan also gives some time to Sam’s relationships with his family and classmate, Carrie, who I’m hoping to see more of as the series progresses. There are also some good uses of humor, which keeps the mood balanced. Overall, this is a promising start to the new arc.