Big sci-fi feel from the start of Nova #1. You’ve gotta appreciate that.
The first issue starts off as a bedtime story or maybe drunken ramblings, if you want a cynical spin on things. Sam, the new Nova, and his father talk about his dad’s time in the Corps. See, his dad wasn’t a gold helmet just like Richard Rider, the old “supernova” that grew nicely into his own from a New Warrior to a Marvel A-lister through Abnett and Lannings' spacefaring hands. Sam’s father? A black helmet, one of the black ops corps of the Novas, a novel concept from the naturally continuity loose Jeph Loeb (he’s never let preconceived concepts good or bad get in the way of SUPERHERO stories of the past, namely his controversial Hulk run that produced all matter of multi-colored gamma folks).
One of the loose continuity bits? The fact that the Guardians of the Galaxy existed as they do now, with Starlord’s slap dash team of weirdos, some seventeen years ago. I’ll let it slide, as it’s Jeph Loeb, and Ed McGuinness on art goes a long way in terms of simply having fun on a title (as much as they stretch the Guardians back further, I’m okay with that as long as they keep the old uniforms… I’m a fan of those more then I am Steve McNiven’s future jump suits in the upcoming Bendis series).
Other then that though, Loeb and McGuinness are on point, actually. Painting the kind of bleak small town picture that is fully realized and almost a modernistic take on the Peter Parker myth without trying too hard at all. You’ve got Sam Alexander, the skateboarding kid with a burn-out father who drinks too much because he doesn’t have the epic heroic life of daring-do that he once had. Sam has an adorable sister and a loving, patient-to-a-point mother. He’s got an antagonist bully. A friend/slash cool, cute love interest. Hell, he’s almost a modern day Marty McFly more then he is a Peter Parker, thanks to the sly visual casting of Mr. Strickland as Mr. Philbin. Very nice.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by these two pros and frequent collaborators, probably more surprised then I should have been. Nova #1 was an excellent read, and it inserts a new hero into the Marvel space mythos without even under-cutting the Nova we all know and love. Well played.
You know, as I finished reading this book I thought to myself "So begins the road to the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, not with a bang, but with a whimper." This book didn't really do it for me. It wasn't a terrible read, but it wasn't good enough that I'd keep picking it up on a regular basis.
The intro was confusing, maybe because as I'm not that familiar with the cast of characters readers meet as we stumble straight into the middle of an epic space battle. The hero who narrates the battle turns out to be a drunk who can't even finish up his day job. Not exactly a great example of a hero so far, and though I'm sure life was rough being stuck on Earth with a loving wife and family instead of being out in space, it doesn't make for a very empathetic character. His kid seems a little better, though Sam is a very cliched teenager, flitting between angsty and super good kid who does his dad's job for him most nights. Sam is even a total dick to the cute girl who offers to help him out, and she somehow still eats it up as a compliment. Oh, teenagers.
Overall, the art is decent; punchy and bright with lots of action packed pages. I'd definitely recommend giving this book a read if you're a fan of Loeb's work, but I'll likely be sitting out the rest of this series.