Something’s happening to the Marvel cosmic canon. It’s getting pretty freaking great again. Last year’s All-New All-Different Nova was a nice introduction to Sam Alexander; indeed, it earned high marks in our focus group ranking based on accessibility and, in the words of one Idler, “its existence in its own special comic book universe.” Over the course of the year, and into this season’s Marvel NOW!, young Nova has become ever more integrated into the capes n’ tights collective, from a turn with the Avengers through his current role as part of the Champions. This week’s Nova #1, by Jeff Loveness, Ramón Pérez, and Ian Herring, is a gorgeous relaunch of Alexander’s solo adventures, and sets up a promising return of some of those great space yarns that have been sorely missing from the House of Ideas in recent years.
The book opens with Nova helping everyone’s favorite giant talking head, Ego, The Living Planet, deal with an infestation of Sidri. And the book concludes with the mysterious resurrection of Richard Rider, dripping with some sinister ramifications from his time in the Cancerverse. But between the nods to Lee & Kirby, Claremont & Cockrum, and recent cosmic champions Abnett & Lanning, Sam Alexander is faced with his most difficult challenge to date: talking to a girl.
Some of the best characterization of this new Nova in the last year has taken place, not in his own book, but in the pages of Mark Waid’s Avengers and Champions. Waid perfectly captures the awkward arrogance of young Sam, particularly in his interactions with Kamala Khan. Imagine being a teenager with the power of the Nova Corps at your disposal. Naturally, that should be enough to impress the ladies, right? Loveness and Pérez follow suit magnificently in this book, taking the reader back to the bungling should’ve-said missteps in our own lives, and reminding us that all the cosmic power in the universe can’t stem the tide of pubescent angst.
The driving force behind this Marvel NOW! Nova‘s great potential is the art and storytelling of Ramon Pérez. The award-winning Canadian artist may be best known for his adaptation of Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, but his recent work on the Hawkeye arcs with Jeff Lemire have really served to showcase his talents. I’m not sure if the creative process on this book is following a similar collaborative effort as seen on Waid and Samnee’s Black Widow, but one can hope. The series looks and feels like another winner for Marvel’s latest publishing initiative.