Overall, I liked the first issue. I give it a 7/10.
What its not: For fans of the Giffin/ DnA era, what we don’t have here in issue #1 is a dense/heavy book with interlaced science babble and congealing plot lines inset with maps, appendices and guides. Despite a solid show for Rider, this is not something that would just be plugged into the DnA/Giffen era. This book is something apart, and has its own feel.
What we do have: This is a simple, skippy tale, highly stylized that relies heavily on the mojo between Loveness choice words and Perez’s pencils and is thus a bit more “style before substance”. The whole book took me only a few minutes to read, dialogue was mostly light, but well executed.
Thus, this I’d wager the format won’t be for everyone, and is almost certainly bound to upset a few of the ( some often inconsolable) fans who routinely bring out the pitchforks and torches out if anything RR wasn’t perfect and exactly what they wanted or perceive it should be.
In general, the writing was solid, dialogue good, and some decent funny lines for Sam emerged. Plot and direction seems well-thought out and crafted with care. In many ways, this seemed like the most polished Nova comic in years.
I will say, yes, to add to the inconsolable (s) fears, (and my own) there is more Sam here than Rich. Though counting panels seems a bit childish, for so many fans on edge about who will dominate the book, Marvel and Loveness could have given a bit more to Rider to assuage those long slaked fan’s well-nurtured fears. Repair bridges right? Still, clearly Rider’s plight is the main focus here in terms of the story, and it’s tough to argue some slight has occurred just yet. To be fair, this comic was certainly a step in the right direction, and we really appreciate them bringing our boy back.
My negatives are that the comic bogged down a bit for me during the Sam Alexander High School “girl scene”. While it’s no surprise I’m not a fan of Sam most of the time, we’ve just seen too much of this same kind of shtick before. The goofiness of Sam’s antics got a bit long winded here after earning some laughs from me with his Ego scene. To some extent , this should have been balanced by another cut to Rider, or something else. It was almost like “Too much Sam” and I thought the art just turned way too cartoony and silly by the time Sam starts imagining or hallucinating Thanos and a bunch of baddies in his school.
I thought these couple pages could have been juiced up with something else and should have been cut/abridged. While this scene does show some of the mindset he is battling right now with his secret identity conflict (also it juxtaposes each Nova’s psychosis) the pages and faux battle scene were largely unneeded and a bit over the top with camp. A couple panels could have accomplished a bit more with less. (as they did with Rider’s own hallucination)
Still, a promising start. Loveness weaves good action, and the dialogue with Sam helping Ego was pretty well done and funny. The “global warming” line had me chuckle pretty loud.
The art is mostly filed under, “Art I normally wouldn’t go for, but still appreciate,” much the same place Skot Kollins work on DnA Nova was for me. (Which needs to be taken into account) Still, in the end I mostly liked the art. Perez lines are very cartoony which I mostly grew on. As I said, the High School portions got a bit too deep in this motif for me. Perez art is also highly stylized, a nice cross between Declan Shelvey and Skottie Young. I’m still not totally won over by it and not sure how much of it I would care to see in a Nova book for a long run. Keep in mind, its guys like Jack Kirby, Neil Adams, Mark Bagely, John Byrne, Ron Lim, George Perez, and Art Adams who brought me in to comics. Though I love all forms of differing styles, certain stuff is a better fit for certain topics. The colors are stylized as well, and come of very pastel.(which mostly works)
With all things considered, however, I’m still on the fence if this kind of direction is what I “want”. There is a marked difference between taking in a few issues of something like this as a mini-series or exposition, rather than accept that this is the future direction of a Nova ongoing.
Frankly, I prefer dense/ content heavy stuff; star maps, encroaching fleets, and climactic space-battles, at least in my Nova book, that is. Certainly, the story seems, for now at least, something low key and personal, which is honestly, no matter how well-done, not exactly what I hoped for. I wanted Rich’s return to the Marvel U to be lauded and ushered in with a mega sonic boom and gravimetric sweep, something closer to the wedding of Reed and Sue than just another arthouse pull on Marvel’s struggling palette.
Still I do really like the angle they are pursuing with Rich and his potential psychosis/PTSD and struggle to adjust. So too, the sense of mystery is nice. DnA touched on this “inability to adjust” when Rich briefly returned to Earth, and I always wanted them to explore this further. This could be some great stuff, especially if we could get a functional take (for once) on old New Warriors supporting characters.
I stated before, its very possible something low key and intimate may be needed that can galvanize the relationship between Sam and Rich. Maybe I am wrong, and “low key” is just what the doctor ordered. Truthfully, I would argue Sam needs this even more than Rich, as I personally see him as under performing in sales.
Now briefly, a few observations, Heavy spoilers ahead so be warned:
Ego is almost a good guy/sympathetic figure and evidently asks Sam for help. The quality of the writing between Ego and Sam almost makes me wish he would be a reoccurring character in this book or develop a relationship with the Novas once more. Clearly, they have a history.
Rich hallucinates a bit when he’s at his house and sees his mother as dead. At first it could seem like some form of PTSD, but the last panel shows Rich clearly effected, injured and attacked by something within him, multi eyed and black, very likely a cancerverse type entity.
Clearly, he’s still under the sway of that realm and some form of the many angled ones.
This is AWESOME! It’s a great story idea and has real potential.
What if this is the Cancerverse Rich Rider? What if this is a Rich Rider generated from his severed arm or something wild like that? Did Star-Lord lie?
Remember we knew that at least one Cancerverse victim (Scarlett Witch) was capable of some form of free will/ breaking free from the evil collective.
It almost seemed like Rich is trapped on Earth as well. Maybe this will mean a Star-Lord meeting?
So too, for the first time, I had very few issues with continuity.
-No mention of Robbie Rider yet, in the home scenes.
-Promise of Knowhere in next issue? Makes sense, with Cosmo coming out.
-Sam’s mom didn’t speak much Spanglish before and Sam supposedly does not speak Spanish. Thus, the breakfast part with Sam was off then, in that his mom laid that Spanglish on so thick.
Looking forward to the next issue and talking Nova lore once more!