Issue(s): Nova #1
I still maintain that none of the New Warriors needed solo books, and it's not like the New Warriors book was setting the sales charts on fire. We're also reaching the end of Marvel's expansionary phase. So the series comes at an odd time. But it does manage to almost last as long as Nova's original series (18 issues).
This series is written (to start) by Fabian Nicieza, who was also the New Warriors writer. Nicieza set up a new status quo for Nova in New Warriors #40-42 by restoring planet Xandar and Queen Adora. But this series begins with Nova back in New York, complaining of being "overpowered and unemployed". He's attacked by some armored goons.
Nova's powers were upgraded along with the restoration of Xandar, and Nova is able to absorb the energy blasts from the troops. He winds up having absorbed so much power that he's forced to expel it all in a blinding flash, and after he does so the troops have disappeared. Nova is worried that he's killed them, but he's fairly certain that he didn't.
After he leaves, we see the troops, who are really just testing his new abilities. They turn out to be Shi'ar.
Since this is a first issue, a few pages are devoted to recapping Nova's history, in the guise of a Shi'ar data file on him. The file ends with information that the Nova Corps has been rebuilt with beings from various worlds.
Checking back in with Nova, we see that his increased powers also include the ability to summon and dismiss his costume. We also see that he seems to have smoothed things over with his girlfriend Laura Dunham despite leaving her with quite a few unanswered questions when we last saw them together in New Warriors.
But while Laura Dunham sticks around to be a member of this book's cast, we also see the return of supporting characters from Nova's original series. Rich has a reunion with his old high school friends, at Uncle Fudge's.
Nova's old girlfriend Ginger is now engaged. As a joke gift, Rich gives her a can of dog repellent, saying she can use it to keep "the beasts at bay". She's studying to be a vet, but Rich also suggests it could be used against her fiance. Ginger's reaction makes it seem like maybe she does have a reason to worry about her future husband, but we don't get into it.
Rich's friends are aware of his secret ID, which is a good thing because the Shi'ar armored troops attack again during the reunion. Rich transforms into Nova and attacks, and learns that the troops are Shi'ar.
The troops are the easy part. They are backed-up by Gladiator.
With Nova's new energy absorption powers, he's able to withstand Gladiator's attacks and eventually deal the energy back to him in a big blast. It's not enough to stop Gladiator, but the fight is ended when they are both teleported to a spaceship by Queen Adora. It turns out this was all a test required by Empress Lilandra to validate the decision to bestow Rich Rider with the Nova Force.
The guy standing next to Adora, by the way, is Garthan Saal, formerly Super-Nova.
Nova is upset to have been tested like this, but also feeling more confident about having passed the test.
The end of issue #1 is a birthday party for Nova, with him having turned 21. His family is there, and Laura, his high school friends, and the New Warriors are all invited as well.
Before Laura gets there (since she is the only one of Rich's friends and family that doesn't know he isn't Nova), Rich's brother Robbie gives him a gift suggesting that Rich should use his powers to set up a delivery service.
I'm not sure exactly what the gift itself is. It can be used as an ad, i guess?
Being able to go toe-to-toe with Gladiator on his own seems to overpower Nova if he's going to remain in the New Warriors. In general, though, i guess if you like the New Warriors and want more New Warriors, you'll be happy that this book and Night Thrasher exist and that they're both written by the New Warriors writer (for now). To me it feels like everything is getting overextended.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: The arrival of the Shi'ar is referenced in Starblast #1; they will detect anomalies related to the Starblast story that will cause them to decide to remain in Earth's orbit. So this gets pushed back in publication time to take place before Starblast (which is also pushed back in publication time) and Starblast should begin relatively soon after this ends.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showAdora, Andrew Chord, Bernie Dillon, Caps Cooper, Charles Rider, Firestar, Ginger Jaye-Firestone, Gladiator (Shiar), Gloria Rider, Laura Dunham, Night Thrasher, Nova (Rich Rider), Robbie Rider, Silhouette, Speedball, Super-Nova
Superman #80, the destruction of Hal Jordan's hometown of Coast City by the Cyborg Superman, was published in June with an August cover date. I wonder if it's a coincidence that Marvel has an ersatz Green Lantern fighting an ersatz Superman a few months later. The Emerald Twilight story arc also started this same publication month, with the first issue appearing two weeks later according to Mike's Amazing World; was enough known about that story far enough ahead of time that the restoration of the Nova Corps could have been a response to the impending destruction of the Green Lantern Corps?
Posted by: Morgan Wick | March 15, 2017 5:59 PM
Nova appears to be wearing a Butthole Surfers shirt in the fourth scan. This was a couple of years before they (briefly) broke into the mainstream with "Pepper." I wouldn't have guessed Rich was so hip.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | March 15, 2017 8:28 PM
Not that this has significance for this series getting approved in 93' fnord but I distinctly recall Erik Larsen being a huge Nova supporter in interviews, mentioning pitches for series and ideas he had as well as always drawing in Nova cameos. He used to really boost the use of Nova, I presume he was a big fan of the original series as a kid.
Posted by: Wis | March 17, 2017 1:08 AM
I still maintain that none of the New Warriors needed solo books
Fnord, You mean because they are in a team book, or just in general? Because Nova DOES get a couple of (well-recieved) series after this one (especially once Marvel revamps its "cosmic" line.)
Posted by: Jon Dubya | March 21, 2017 7:40 PM
Jon, yeah i mean because what's working about the characters at this point is the team dynamic. I think it was very clever of Marvel to bring together a group of teen characters, some from cancelled books and some from minor supporting roles (and some new), and put them together on a team, where they are working better than they worked on their own. I can agree that any character with the right creative team and scenario can work as a solo character but doing so at this time feels to me like a dilution of what was making the New Warriors work.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 22, 2017 2:22 PM
Ginger DOES have reason to worry about her future husband, but we'll get to that when the Erik Larsen/Joe Bennett series launches in 1999.
Posted by: Kman00001 | March 23, 2017 7:00 PM
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