The penultimate issue of this short run, Nova # 6 is solid comic, filled with wonderful organic pencils and sprawling splash pages of scenes from the horrors of the Cancerverse and the struggles of Richard Rider. The book is emotional, tragic and gut-wrenching, and both the art, pacing and writing help to tie this story together. Again, this comic seems to be filled with a passion for creating something worthwhile.
That being said, there are numerous plot issues and continuity weak points that longtime fans will find overly distracting. Simply put; this matter can no longer be overlooked. While I have vowed to be flexible with this kind of stuff, Nova # 6 dives back into the past history and gets too many things wrong to be ignored. In this case, it unfortunately reaches the level of detracting from the other material which is incredibly well-done.
Let me briefly mention what I saw as problematic:
- A version of Thanos in the Cancerverse. It was expressly stated in TI that Thanos was not around or never existed in that reality. This was an important notation in Thanos Imperative.
- Worldmind wasn’t left behind- A central point to this issue and to Thanos Imperative was that Worldmind was clearly left to stay in the 616 reality while Richard took the raw Nova Force into the Cancerverse. Frankly, the story could have been altered to work just fine. Loveness could have made Worldmind come in after looking for him.
- Artificial Intelligence was immune- now I’ve heard a decent explanation that Worldmind was organic enough to perhaps get corrupted…yet it was pretty clear from TI that all artificial intelligence was incompatible with the many-angled taint.
- It makes for the fact that the GOTG traveled back to the Cancerverse in that horrid initial Avengers Assembled arc seem even more awkward.
- If Rich had the whole Nova Force and left it in the Cancerverse, how did he have any powers when he returned? How is Sam really powered then? Because they said that the Black Helms Syphon off the Nova force (steal it).
Most, if not all of these subjects would have been cleared up if the creators had read and knew Thanos Imperative and Bendis GOTG arc. It’s not a heavy lift, nor is it asking the world for Loveness to know those two trades fairly well before attempting this kind of story.
A few people have made a big deal about Worldmind being left behind by Rich Rider. This was a sad revelation and added to the emotion, yet Rich was going through hell and his mind was very likely insane or near-insane. Plus, he’s probably been gone for only a few minutes as it stands. (albeit time seems to pass differently there)
All told, this is still a very good comic, and a very good issue on top of it. The story here honors the character of Richard Rider in unprecedented ways. Truthfully, if the implications of these “seasons in the cancerverse” (an ode to Slayer) are true, Rich has been through a kind of hell that perhaps no other Marvel hero has ever had to burden. In many ways it makes him more interesting than ever and a character I hope gets plenty of page time in years to come. (I’m really curious how getting gutted by the Revengers so often will make him view the Avengers)
Despite a few faults, there is gripping, evocative work being done in these pages, namely with the metaphor of PTSD and friendship and trust, not to forget the notion of being ‘left behind’. It’s profound stuff that both Loveness and Perez and all the others involved with this book should be proud of.
I really think this story deserved to be told in at least 4 issues, perhaps even worthy of being something as long as Zola-verse etc… as it stands we must give latitude for these guys trying to wrap things up nicely on an abbreviated timeline. As it is, I wish it were not the case.
An imperfect, yet enjoyable issue, now more than ever it will be truly a shame to see this book go.