Future Nova Story Ideas: Rich Rider and the Avengers: The 800 pound Gorilla in the Room

To put it simply, Rich Rider has Avengers issues. Passed over for membership for years, the subject was an awkward topic in the Nova lore.

In the early days Rich never got that big “team” like the Avengers shot like many young heroes did when booted up. When “Nova” finally did show up in Avengers, it was the deranged villain Garthaan-Saal, aka Super-Nova, and Rich Rider was not in the arc.

Rich had to see his two teammates Justice and Firestar get membership in the Avengers before him:

Flash forward years and years, to the Giffin/ DnA take on Nova and Annihilation conflict, and the vaunted Avengers left the United Front high and dry, save for a few players like Quasar and Moondragon (who were themselves somewhat estranged Avengers).

The big group sat that one out, and calls for help from Earth to assist with the threat of the wave were ignored.

Though there is a great What if? One-shot written by David Hine that touches on a United Front / Avengers Team-Up. (highly recommended) In that issue, Rich confronts Tony Stark in glorious fashion, providing a classic Rich Rider moment.

 

Rich eventually had this same moment in actual continuity in the DnA series, though it wasn’t as epic or frantic as that one-shot. Overall, Rich was the bigger man, and instead of really fighting Tony (who acted his typical ass self) Rich was mature and chose the higher road to put him in his place.

Great moment!

That’s no “Aw shucks” exchange or the smitten words of a man who was “pining away” for an invitation to join up with your little “alt rock band”.

The flarkin’ Avengers were largely absent during Conquest (despite fighting Ultron) and War of Kings as well, and though once more, a few players like Moondragon and Quasar, absent from thwarting the critical threat from the Cancerverse during Thanos Imperative. Let’s be honest, Rich has been repeatedly let down by the team.

Around this time, Rich was clearly a bit above the Avengers. I mean, he was leader of the United Front…so likely in charge of “millions” of troops and pan-galactic armies.

A few moments of clunky writing added to the mess. Though DnA was involved with the issue, Rich got his shot at Avengers membership (though “not really” according to Tom Brevoort) in the “Secret Avengers” issue “I am an Avenger” # 4” (Great pencils by Todd Nauck). Rich was still shown smitten with Captain America and the notion

Again, in the only arc of his Secret Avengers debut, Rich was mind-controlled and essentially served as the villain for the arc. And only by giving up his powers to Steve Rogers could the day be saved. It really sucked.

Then we go to Brian Bendis terrible death scene…. let’s forget this arc, but it is relevant to just touch on the fact that he had Rich, among many other out of character confessions , pine for his unfulfilled want of Avengers membership in his death throes.

“Nonsense”

Cancerverse trauma must have added to the issues; not only did Rich have to fight an evil , corrupted version of the Avengers, but, as we found out later, he was locked in the dimension, likely to be ripped apart and killed by them every day for “god knows” how long. That can’t be good.

Bottom line is Rich shouldn’t be too happy with the Avengers. Some sort of reckoning, on the scale of that What If ? issue would be in order.

BTW Let’s not kiss off some of the behind-the scenes drama with this topic outside of in-continuity issues;

Sam Alexander was given the Avengers status without batting an eye, which aggravated many old Nova fans. In some ways, I don’t blame Marvel or harbor much more ill will any more on this matter; they wanted to make the character work and they propped him up and supported him. That is the way you should do it, and should have been done with Rich in the first place back in the 70s. The subject, however, is one of those sore spots that really put the damper on whether Rich Rider had a fair shot as a character.

In short; this topic has loads of potential for all Novas and there is unfinished business between Rich Rider and the Avengers.

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GOTG# 5 Review and Some Thoughts

I haven’t written anything for this blog in a while, and so I thought I’d chime in- about the aftermath of the Nova run, the future and my recent thoughts on the new GOTG (including a review of # 5) series, which relates to Nova in that many folks thought Duggan’s new GOTG could be some silver lining outlet for Nova concepts to reappear and Richard Rider or Sam Alexander to pop in.

On a whim, I picked up Duggan’s GOTG # 5 to check on the progress, it should be said I’ve only read the other # 0 issue prior, and I made the call to pass on buying the book based on my disappointment.

With Richard Rider reestablished in the Marvel U, you’d think he’d pop up quick enough- especially in a book that keeps using the Nova Corps, a book where his best friend was involved (who shared an epic faux-death), former lover and loyal buddies….nope. Issue # 5 (6 with the zero FCBD issue) and still no sign of Rider. No Quill Rider reunion…nada.

What we do get is some generic and bland Nova Corps. I have no problem with showing a new take on the Corps, even a “down and out” corps who use tech and weapons in lieu of Nova force…but this is just silly, goofy stuff.

Once more, Gerry Duggan’s status as a “white knight” to cosmic has been a huge let down again. I had some promise after his solid AMA on Reddit that he actually was an old-school Marvel fan who got the issues about some of the old characters and fan bases, but apparently that has been lip service.

It’s bad.

Duggan’s a decent goof writer. He does kitschy banter and witty millennial-friendly narrated action scenes, he’s not as good of a fit on quasi-serious books, or even books where characters aren’t Deadpool. As of now, he’s not that popular, and despite helming the Deadpool name and Avengers, he’s struggled to stay on books or uplift sales on many of the properties he’s been tasked to helm.

Problem is, goofy comics don’t sell that well. GOTG # 5 represents all the same mistakes; rehashed movie themes. A few of the jokes (such as the line about Rocket “messing with him” to fetch an item he wasn’t sure about) are lifted right from the movie. The humor is stale, and the radio-themed plot of the story only serves to make Quill silly and a joke. This is not even the first tale in modern takes where the team or a character has gone all out for a trite goal. The device has been done like three times already.

Even worse, Duggan’s not good with continuity, nor world building in a serial universe. As usual, he (seemingly) dismisses concepts he’s already created and forgets what he’s already done. (see his Nova run) He seems in desperate need of an editor. His prose is so-so. Example; issue 5 starts right off with a bad sentence:

“I think back to that time back on Earth….”

*Groan*

How does a professionally edited Marvel comic get a bad sentence with its first line?

Comics are a horrid entertainment value. The question remains “why should I buy this?”

The big crime here is Duggan is continuing to portray Peter Quill as this vapid, superficial and trite character more concerned with goofing around and making mix tapes than any substrative characterization. Giffen and DnA introduced this incarnation of Quill, and he was a complex man of mysterious origins and motivations, a dark haunted noir hero not averse to well-timed humor-he was sculpted and shaped with poignant characterization- not this generic wax-mold we have now. I’ve spoken about this before here and nothing’s changed. Duggan continues to make the same mistakes writers like Bendis, Humphries, and Zdarsky have.

This isn’t even a great representation of the MCU Pratt-driven model. Instead, it feels like a generic “space scoundrel” devoid of Pratt’s charisma or the swarthy mystery and pulpy homage of the Star Lord of old. Again, the sources for inspiration are pastiches of Han Solo and other clichés-the same character direction that has already failed for years now.

We get another Nova nod here…as Rich and a generic old (the blue, bug-eyed look) costumed Star-Lord are shown fighting in some flashback panel ascribed to a specific mix tape. What? That never happened and just shows how Duggan, the artist or editor Jordan White had stuff wrong or never even read the old material.

Let’s talk about the call to do “one off” solo stories when the GOTG comic is already dropping in sales, not to mention nearly all the characters have solo books that can’t stay afloat. We needed an epic and poignant yarn right off the back- the book needed to establish importance right out of the gate, not arrogantly flop off “one and dones”. Perhaps this kind of tale would have been more palatable as a back-up tale in an annual or something-but even that’s pushing it.

This is recycling movie stuff. We’re getting a bad effort to reproduce the goofy Pratt Stat-Lord, we’re getting a goofy bumbling take on the Nova Corps, also ready-made to fit the movie motif. Even this new “Adsit” character is clearly an attempt to bring a John Reily-type figure to the fold.

I’ll mention the art briefly, because it reminds me of the lines you’d find in an old Archie book. It’s good stuff, solid and all, but not a fit for cosmic. I generally disliked it as a model for GOTG.

The future looks bleak for Marvel and the “house of ideas”. Mark these words; this take on GOTG is not going to work, the book will bleed readers and someone like Jeff Lemire can’t take over this book fast enough. I’m convinced more than ever this administration, and creators are incapable of turning around this ship and a total changeover needs to take place.

I’m tired of all this folks. Honestly – there’s an issue of steam here. (for me) Marvel is stubborn. Epic Omega level stubborn. I’ve never seen a company run like this, hell-bent on forcing the square peg of their failed ideas down the circular craw of the collective fandom. I’ve only got so much in me to follow the stuff and give my opinion. I do like checking in now and then and seeing if the tides of bad comics at Marvel have turned around- but GOTG # 5 is proof it hasn’t, and the solicits for well-nigh the end of the year show that Richard Rider and Nova have little place in the Marvel Universe.

I doubt a new Nova book is on the way with them being clearly extracted from the event. Silly too, as Sales of Nova issue # 1 were awesome and they alone show there is interest in a Nova comic done right. Legacy looks like a disaster. It speaks more to me that Marvel is just unequivocally sticking with these bad “legacy” characters and plot directions rather than shifting back to older styles, listening to fans who’ve left, or going with witty new and fresh directions. Looks like Rich Rider and even mostly Sam were written out of this one. But really we don’t need the “old”.

Instead, we are accused of living in the past, of demanding something that will never return. Frankly, I’m flexible – but what I want is Richard Rider and good comics. I want a cool Star Lord, not an annoying one. If Marvel does those things we don’t have to rehash Englehart, Wolfman, Giffen, DnA or Starlin. But like Jack Kirby himself, I think we should always…always feel echoes of those creators in the pages of Marvel books.

Whatever GOTG # 5 and this new run is supposed to be- I don’t feel any of those influences within.

 

Nova # 6 Review

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. It makes for the fact that the GOTG traveled back to the Cancerverse in that horrid initial Avengers Assembled arc seem even more awkward.
  5. 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.

7.5/10

 

Marvel Unveils Legacy at C2E2…yawn.

Legacy

Warning: for all the “small but vocals” out there who are fans of my profanity-laced, scathing indictments of Marvel, this is your huckleberry…for those who are not- best turn your eyes for this one.

So this past weekend at C2 E2 in Chicago, Marvel unveiled this drastic new direction post-Secret Invasion called “Legacy”. Sounds great right? We’ll its not. My thoughts on what I’ve seen are pretty concrete; I’m not at all a fan, and I see little reason for optimism, both as a Rider fan and an old school Marvel fan.

I can only assume from the language this kinda thing is aimed at readers like me, those driven off by Marvel and the lost readers who’ve bailed over the last few years. From the promo stuff I saw at C2E2, I can say that it is most certainly not enough to rope me back in, and instead clearly, yet another clown-act in the mismanagement of this company’s paper comic division.

How is it this whole “Legacy” of mismanagement and incompetence paired up with superficial meaninglessness?

First, it totally deflates Secret Empire. Here we see, Cap is back to normal status quo, many characters are alive and well, and that life will go on for the whole Marvel U after this so-called “must read” event just fine. It kills the whole importance of Spencer’s project. Seeing as how Spencer has been the most irreverent and destructive Marvel writer since Jeph Loeb, this doesn’t necessarily anger me, it is, however a shoddy and bumbling business model.

In short; Secret Empire’s already been written off.

Let’s start with the name “Legacy”, hey cool word and all, it has the double meaning of representing the fact they are going to still, mind numbingly going to be sticking with the slew of bad legacy characters they’ve spammed us with like Falcap, Jane Foster, Miles, Gwenpool, Riri while also using the word to indicate some phony honor for the past….let me say, from what I see, it’s a crock of shit folks.

While I fully adhere to the rule that something shouldn’t be knocked till we see what it is, for me, at least, I’ve seen enough to write this off for the garbage it is. The result is clearly the good ole’ flipped bird by Marvel, as they say “Fuck you fans, we’re gonna keep on keepin’ on with the same shit that doesn’t work.”

This seems like a complete trick; Cap’s got his Gruenwald-era uniform back! Wow! We’ll bring back FOOM (really as if half a dozen readers out there were alive when FOOM was around) and tweak the numbering again to “original” numbers. BTW Marvel already has FOOM….it’s called REDDIT, where any negative voice gets down voted en masse by the zombies.

Yet, with everything they displayed, these look like the same characters folks who’ve ditched Marvel have rejected. They are going to be written by the same writers we’ve rejected. Lord knows, it will be the same high prices we’ve rejected as well. At its root, this “Legacy” garbage seems like nothing more than a gimmick- no different than holograms, variant covers, renumbering, or rebooting.

The new era promises no events for over a year. Again, this is such a foolhardy analysis of what is wrong with their company; most folks never had a problem with events or even the notion frequent events. Look how many events were spammed in the 2006-2008 period. Civil War. Annihilation. Pak’s Planet Hulk. Ultimates 2. Silent War. Then right on the heels of these events we had more and more stuff like Conquest, and if you were a DC guy, you had to keep pace with the onerous “52”. We didn’t mind all the events because the books were well written!

I’m also going to be honest, this has nothing to do with diversity or even the occasional replacement character. That stuff’s worked in the past. Marvel was always diverse and did a good job with diversity, and yep, every now and then you need a fun era like Genis-Vell, John Walker Saga, or Wally West. That’s not exactly what tainted with this company….it’s that they went crazy and wild with it. In short; they lost their fucking minds! Worse we got lectured on politics and bullshit at every junction. Alonso began running Marvel like he was Zack De La Rocha preening in front of a group of stoned kids at lollapalooza ; suddenly, the company felt the need to give into zealots and turn their company in to an ultra left-wing-pro BLM entity.

Marvel keeps beating down heroes. This is all just the same cycle of tired Alan-Moore-esque degenerative hero-shit that’s been tired for fifteen years. Heroes being petty, heroes being closet assholes, heroes fighting each other. Government = evil. Tired. Tired. Tired.

Now for some Nova-specific gripes:

Well it appears we’ve once again entered dark territory for our hero. (and for Sam as well)

Nova gets inexplicably removed from Generations, so naturally there is the whisperings of a conspiracy against us. A promo was displayed featuring neither Richard Rider nor Sam Alexander. No Nova folks.

The art promises to “Make Mine Marvel” ha! Fuck no! Guess not for Nova fans.

Sorry folks, this is the same old cycle of junk post-Quesada poor decisions repackaged and rehashed. I am now more certain than ever; Marvel Paper comics need a complete overhaul that includes the uppermost rungs. They need sweeping reform of creative talent and new outlooks on how they develop talent and keep it.

Quick notes on C2E2:

Cave-Man Avengers? Who wants that?

You give Chip Zdarsky a “Spider Man” book after he can’t sell a book supported by a multi-million dollar movie character in the summer of its release? Seems legit.

“I am Groot” series with Baby Groot. I have zero interest in Baby Groot myself…rock on though. “Rocket Raccoon” series with some new Otter chick sidekick. Dumb….

Duggan’s GOTG book said to be based off the movie, with ample parts of the DnA/ Giffin legacy that fans want…hmmm, yet again, bullshit detector fires on all cylinders; how are we supposed to take that seriously when the guy trashed DnA fans for 30 issues of his Nova volume? BTW I read somewhere he also claims to have 2-3 years scripted…..so much for weathering any storms….oh but hey, Darkhawk’s back…yay. Call me jaded.

Nova Cancelled

I just wanted to jot down a few thoughts on the news that Nova is cancelled.

As I said before when reflecting on the sales data, I’m disappointed. Bummed. Pissed. I’m glad we have a community of fans who can chat with each other and gripe together…now it seems its back to the old game, albeit with a couple more months of stories.

I don’t think there’s a lot of benefit in railing excuses, I will, however, reiterate that most comic books series don’t work without hyping them up, promoting them heavy, and making them important and relevant within the Marvel Universe. That being said, Marvel is evidently letting several other books sell at a lower point than Nova, not sure the logic there either.

I forgot where I said it, but at one point in the months prior to release of this series I mentioned my concerns with the hype and creative team and apparent priority of the book @ Marvel and said, hopefully, at a minimum, we get a good “bridge book” that works to mend wounds, fix broken crap, and link the two differing factions with more tact. I think we go that and more.

This book was solid…Loveness and Perez put a bunch of their heart into it…listened to both sets of fans and crafted a very nice comic series. This book did a lot to mend the wounds of old with Rich Rider fans, if there are many even left out there. These guys should be proud of this work, writing, the art and all the hard hours with a solid little run. So I say thank you guys…and I really hope you all keep doing great things…. I think this series will be remembered very well.

Frankly, I don’t know what to say about comic sales right now. I look at the top 300 and just shake my head at the solid properties that struggle to sell these days, the market trends, and the rankings. I have no other explanation than that Marvel is a wreck, but the comics market is very unusual- macro problems I’ve talked about in the past in detail.

This is sad to say, but the comic book medium, is, unfortunately, of waning in interest for me. I read more prose now, and find the ($) cost of collection, the space needed, and the difficulty of schlepping it to one specific LCS, very far from my house a ponderous undertaking. Long gone are the days of me as puke 13 year old walking the mile to my LCS and coming back with a stack of New Warriors, West Coast Avengers, Namor, and Captain America (And a half dozen other books). Comics were so fun back then. These days, Nova and Thanos were the only Marvel books I was buying.

Not to re-hash, but one of the biggest things that has killed me with Marvel is continuity and editing. If something doesn’t jive with itself, its own history, or what others are doing around the writer in a shared universe and serial fiction, then it not only devalues the importance, it makes the material still seem juvenile, sloppy, and immature. Worse, it makes the material seem vapid and passable. This wasn’t a big problem for Loveness/Perez book, but I’ve found it creeping up more and more and permeates the material of many of the writers like Spencer, Duggan or Bendis. (Coincidentally, the guys who they seem apt to give the keys to the company these days)

I’m going to do some soul searching again…not sure if I’m up for beating the drum for a medium and art that seems so superfluous and marginal. Truthfully, the politics and messages in the books these days are something I find difficult to identify with, outside what Loveness/Perez were doing there’s not much out there, and I get aggravated more than entertained and invigorated.

This year I turn 40…at last that “40 year old Nova fan” that Stephen Whacker used to berate…maybe its time to finally follow that guys advice and move on.

LLRR.

New Warriors on TV: My thoughts

 

I think it stinks mostly.

The comedy directions in the New Warriors have been largely horrid. Vol. 3 was a crime; Skottie Young purists (who are out there) dig it for his art, but the book was a mockery that self-destructed the whole concept. As a huge New Warriors fan, I rue the name Zeb Wells and that blasted mini-series.

On the inclusion of Squirrel Girl; I’m not at all a SG fan. Whatever she is, she isn’t a New Warrior. Jeph Loeb has consistently demonstrated he is interested in deflating , toning down, or making fun of comic books in the traditional sense, and I have little faith in his oversight. Rest assured, this will be something that mocks the property, not uplifts it.

Let’s be honest, in my opinion New Warriors have only truly worked during two (classic) moments; most of Vol. 1 worked when the book was a serious teen drama in the vein of Teen Titans. They had a steady progression under mostly one writer, and a long run with only a few artists. As such, readers saw a specific core team grow, a nurtured concept, and the evolution of the players into something else. (growth)

Let’s forget Vol. 2 in its entirety. (Though I confess, I thought Aegis had some potential)  I’ve already discussed how bad Vol. 3 was, and how detractive it was for the property.

The second moment NW truly clicked was during the Dan Slott  (and Christos Gage) post-civil war years when he was basically writing them as “Counter Force” within the Avengers Initiative book. I know this is tough to grasp, but that was the classic team reassembled, serious, with good characters and a writer who cared about them, more or less picking up where they left off and having limitless potential.

DnA seemed to flirt with the notion of an old core take on them, but it never took off from a fleeting reunion in a few issues. (Edit: I also want to mention the brief Robert Kirkman League of Losers arc in Marvel-Team Up, which was an extremely solid tale of former New Warriors and related characters)

I’ll add for the record I personally enjoyed volume 4 as a comic on its own and though many disagree with me, I thought Kevin Grevioux had a solid plan for a nice teen book, albeit the execution was a bit decompressed. It was just more or less a Night Thrasher 2 story, not a New Warriors book. His best stuff came later, when Counter Force crossed over and Griev’s stepped up his pacing trying to wrap up the last time-travel arc with Iron-Man. By all reports KG wanted to use the real team but was denied. At least he had them fighting big threats and made them a team who wanted to be taken seriously.

The last volume (5) was competently written, yet middling and unimportant. That being said, it could have worked if it wasn’t so strongly (yet unimportant within that event) tied to an event everyone had cast aside. Further, this volume seemed to blow off older readers and de-age all the development that Justice and Robbie Baldwin had gone through (including physical development, they looked 17 again). Couple that with no Night Thrasher, the controversial use of Sam Alexander Nova, the ignoring of DnA’s revival of Namorita, not enough Rage, Darkhawk or others and many of the core fans skipped it. Even still, it had a few decent moments.

Let me add that, as any reader of my blog knows, I’m also a huge Night Thrasher fan. To me he defines the NW, and any attempt at the property without a good grasp of him is hollow, empty and doomed to failure. The character was very popular for a stretch, having a couple spin-off mini-series and an ongoing in the 90s. He had a rich supporting cast and was fleshed out by FabNic with a host of neat directions (Welllspring, Folding Circle, Bengal, Midnight’s Fire, Silhouette) Let’s not forget the character had a TV show in preplanning for UPN which got lost in the shuffle. It’s very likely that fact convolutes the rights and eliminates him from usage, that and the grim and gritty crew like Loeb and Joe Q hated the character and made fun of him.

Most importantly, as always, let’s talk Nova; its highly doubtful Jeph Loeb would green-light the use of Richard Rider over his creation, Sam Alexander, and lord knows we don’t want Rider anywhere near this. Therefore, I think it’s logical to assume its Sam or nothing for this series….which I think is also unlikely seeing how the MCU and TV folks are so split these days. I’m just doubting using the Nova corps is something they would allow, but maybe not. Also, using Sam would implicate some higher budget demands, which I’m doubting they want to do.

Namorita may be tied up in the Namor rights.

Image result for namorita

(help me, I’m in creative limbo!)

Justice is not as clear, but if Gunn is interested in cornering off guys like Yondu and Stakar for GOTG, I’m doubting he would give Vance Astro up so easy and want viewers so confused with potential alternate versions. That being said, I would guess the series will feature some form of straight-laced “Cap wannabee” for the antics of SG to play off. Loeb is that predictable.

I’d have to think Speedball will likely be on the show, though once more it was a character the Joe Q and Marvel Knights crew hated.

Whatever this turns out to be, my stance is that it can do whatever it wants; I’ve zero confidence it will catch on and be a hit, especially as AoS winds down and ratings drop, Netflix stuff is floundering (until Punisher that is, which looks good). Runaways and Cloak and Dagger are coming out, which will water down interest. It’s on a 3rd rate cable channel, Freeform? I mean Teen Titans fans don’t fret Go! As some sort of killer to their characters and concepts back in the books, maybe we shouldn’t fear this.

I don’t have a lot of other suggestions on the roster, no telling who Loeb will pull out of his butt….expect to be underwhelmed. Aegis, White Tiger, Ultra-Girl, Rage, Turbo, Darkhawk. Prodigy and any of those lesser warriors like Debrii or Microbe could be possible, though obviously disappointing to see them hijacked. I’d say Slapstick has a shot due to his recent series, though I can’t imagine SG, Robbie and Slappy on the same squad….that’s comedy overload. Loeb tends to pluck his own creations or want to set-up his own properties stemming from the films, so expect a few new characters. Tarene is one that’s possible, as he likes using Asgardians. I’d add Phobos to the mix. Whoever it is, expect blue jeans and converses with glowing eyes, not spandex, gravimetric blasts and space-age adventures. Toned down and on a budget.

I personally feel like the Warriors are at that point where they need to get back to their roots. The old core team. Serious book, big threats. Fun. I’ve said this for years now, and the tune is the same. If Marvel ever wants New Warriors to work, they need to elevate them back into something cool, something even badass, and do it on a big stage, the same stage they deconstructed them on for no real reason. Frankly, what we don’t need is to make fun of them and the fans of the older material yet again, ad nauseaum….and god knows, we don’t need Jeph Loeb anywhere near this process.

Heroes for the 90’s baby.

Image result for New Warriors # 1

Nova # 2 sales

Sales Data

The good news; sales of Nova # 1 still echo through the stratosphere, the solar system, galaxy, universe, and on to the multiverse now. Upon a cruel darkforce throne, the shattered portions of Genis-Vell  in the Dark Dimension have observed, read and approve of the new book. So too, the cowled visage of Ike Perlmutter thumbed the issue and noted the sales data as he affixed his iron mask and set out for world domination.

Whatever the case; the sales of Nova #1 sent a solid message to Marvel brass; folks dig Richard Rider, a Man called NOVA, and we want him around.

Before I get to the dull blow of Nova # 2’s sales, more facts on the first issue; Nova # 1 (last month) outsold the new Captain Marvel # 1. (this month) (By nearly 10k units) While I dig both characters and want both to succeed, that’s a huge message to Marvel in support of Rider and his potential fit. Carol is everywhere and coming off one of her biggest events. She’s got a movie on the way and has no lack of set-up. Again, that’s good for Rich and Sam.

The bad news; this month’s data shows Nova # 2 dropped markedly to 118 on the top 300 and 23k sales.

IMO this is not as bad as it looks. First, digital sales aren’t factored and neither are some international sales. This is pretty big nowadays.

Second, don’t get down, keep buying and let’s enjoy the ride. This is a good comic and nothing takes away from that. Whatever the case, I think it can last a long time. Marvel didn’t promo it worth much, and we showed up for that issue # 1 in solid numbers.

Thirdly, seems like the “word of mouth” really hit the net after issue # 2 to me as well, so although it is rare, maybe we can see a spike of readers next month.

Nevertheless, I’m disappointed and surprised with the sudden drop. I’ve got to say comic issues bounce in this weird never before seen flux that is frankly chaotic and scary. Take the ballyhooed “Mosaic” for example; which from issue 3 to 4 went from 30k sales and top 100  and meteored down to 180 and 11 k sales…I mean… what the fuck?!

Very very weird. I’m hoping digital sales paint a much better and bountiful picture for our human rockets….frankly, I think they do.

Within this oddball sales vibe, Nova is outselling the following more lauded titles; Star Lord and Rocket Raccoon, two characters also at their series own issue # 2, and also both of them are aided by the infernal hype overdrive of not only movies and cartoons, but toys, party napkins, transmorgrifiers, acne medicine and ice cream flavors as well. Star Lord and the GOTG appear everywhere these days and, at least get some page time in every event.

Despite this, Nova is clipping them. That’s good.

While I think it stinks all around these characters are selling low, I also think its just some wonky new era as well.

Further notables;

Only 1k units less sold than “Everybody’s darling” Ms. Marvel. That’s pretty good.

Nova also outsold the following books;

Superwoman # 6 low issue # and this book has a TV show to support it (a good show too)

Captain America: Sam Wilson- obviously a very supported and promo’d book that has been given a long leash and set up in bigger storylines.

Ghost Rider- Has a TV show to help promo him.

Black Widow- Movies and appears in many cartoons, games and gear.

Gwenpool- obviously heavy hype and promo

Cage- low issue and Netflix/ TV promo

Occupy Avengers- hyped book with much more promo and Avengers name.

Brief shout out to the new Sleep song; which is freaking awesome. If you haven’t been aware by now, I love Stoner/Doom/Sludge and Sabbathy-type rock.

Here is a sample if anyone digs:

Rock out Nova! See you all later.

Nova #3 Review

Another month, and another solid issue of Nova.

Nova # 3 continues the same strengths of what has gone on since December; despite a few minor gripes, the book has strong dialogue, pacing and excellent art that lights up the paper with an organic flare. Page after page of Perez’s lines routinely add to the storytelling and flow. Overall, even as a resident curmudgeon extraordinaire, (I hate nearly everything 🙂 ) I truly look forward to this volume every month.

As stated, this issue once again excels in the dialogue department. Loveness and Perez nail affable and whimsical banter between Sam and Rich with the added dry humor of the bounty hunters. Death’s Head and Titus need to be reoccurring characters. I laughed out loud a couple times and it was great to see someone nail the characters.

The plotting is well done. The book sets up numerous mysteries and reasons to keep reading. This issue in particular, contains an especially interesting reveal that (spoiler) Rich Rider has some control of this Cancerverse possession and can actually use the powers. In other words, Rich appears to be some sort of Cancerverse creature. It’s kinda of an awesome moment, and frankly, I would have done it with a splash page.

There’s a point in issue #3 where you realize that we’ve got more than one storyline out there, including Sam’s dad, the current Cancerverse possession, the girlfriend(s), and, with this issue the burning question of “who is hiring bounty hunters” to track down Nova helmets. (Guess: we know Thanos was collecting the helms circa Infinity in a seemingly forgotten plot point from vol.5)

# 3 was mostly an action issue with a smooth flow. There were, however, a few parts that were clunky and some (possible) continuity matters that were unclear.

I had a few notations/issues, some positive, some negative;

-Did I mention Death’s Head was (tic) awesome, yes?

-I actually really like Titus as well.

-I dig the Cancerverse possession of Rich. There’s not enough Lovecraft out there IMO, and it’s a complex evolution that adds a layer to RR.  The notion alone implies a couple of arcs worth of material. Never thought anybody could make Rich an even better character. ( I’ve got a few theories about Rich that I will save for a later blog post.)

-Cosmo went down a bit of a bitch. Knowhere is a pretty uber facility, it seemed a bit silly the security was woefully bad.

-I know they’re still implying the power to all Novas comes from the helmets, something that contrasts with the old continuity for yellow Novas and Rich.

The reality is; it’s not a minor quibble.

The fact Rich’s Nova powers were within his body have been huge plot points at the start of two great eras of Nova, that being Night Thrasher throwing him off a roof at the start of Volume 1, and Annihilation, where he needed to absorb the Worldmind and take in the full Nova Force. DnA also had an integral Arc in vol. 4 whereupon Rich’s absorption of the Nova Force essentially would kill him if he didn’t have the powers within his body. (The arc where he became Quasar briefly)

That being said, I will say it is not exactly clear from the issue if it really is the case. Rich may have been simply fooling or using a ruse tactic. Either way, it’s not a deal breaker…but I think it’s something that can be easily fixed to make sense. Whatever the case, I actually trust these guys for some reason.  🙂

-Rich Rider appears to be depowered significantly. He used to have greatly enhanced strength in the “class 100 range “ and go toe to toe with Gladiator or Silver Surfer. Its fine if he’s been depowered, but it would be nice to have him reference this within the book. It was annoying to see that nameless chitauri get the bead on him. I know there was a reference to the crowd and not being able to let loose, but Rich has fought in such tight conditions before.

-Still want to know the deal with worldmind. Due to the end of the last volume, this cannot just be brushed off as an older supporting character unused. Some aspect of this needs to be explained or else it just feels awkward.

-While Perez has stated the rank reduction to centurion has an explanation, Rich is also depicted in a flashback photo with Gamora as Centurion in rank, which is not possible.  I assume this to be an error.

-Was cool to see old New Warriors ladies. Excited to see Gamora next issue. Cool to see Loveness and Perez acknowledge the past. I love this, the future is great….but the past matters. That is an integral part of good serial fiction IMO.

8/10

Thanos # 3 short review (spoilers)

I am wholeheartedly enjoying this book each week. Art and writing are very solid, and its one of the best pure cosmic books Marvel has done in a long while. Deodato’s pencils are “on fire” and Lemire’s  dialogue and plotting has been tight and cohesive.

Some fun character assembling in to what is shaping out to be a very intriguing story. Star Lord’s old “Ship” even…

I will say if you are looking into a exploration of Thanos, this is a bit different, and involves a large cast of lesser known or forgotten Marvel characters….much like DnA. I am a big fan of Hickman’s Smasher…and she shows up here. (At least I think that is her)

Issue# 3 is an action romp, but its one well executed. Nothing has reminded me of Keith Giffen and DnA more than this book. Again, this kinda stuff should be supported. I hope down the line old Rich can be involved in this tale somehow.

9.5/10

Duggan takes over GOTG; the same old crew set to ride DnA’s and movie Coattails.

Things have been great lately, albeit not perfect. Marvel with Thanos and Nova appears to be, at the least… improving. In fact, the last issues of both those books were outstanding. I know some of us have drifted back together into a united Nova front, so, for me at least, this new blurb comes as all the more disappointing.

Once more Marvel proves they are the same old schulbs .

Today, Gerry Duggan was announced as the new writer of Guardians of the Galaxy. A new “Era” or so they say.

Anyone who follows this blog knows I am no fan of Mr. Duggan, his so-called cosmic, or his uninspired take on Nova. Based on his tweets, I don’t even think I like the guy as a person either.  I don’t believe he respected Marvel lore or continuity, I don’t think his arcs were plotted well or had much pay off.

His Nova Vol. 5 was a disaster; Duggan bled readers down to something like 17k by the time he was done. If he wasn’t bringing back Xandar or Korbinites without any explanation, or calling  Galador “Galadoria”, ditching arcs with no pay offs and hoping readers would just forget plot points, he was mostly taking pot shots at old Rich Rider and DnA era fans both online and within the pages of his books.

This killed me, because if there was no DnA or Rider fans, there never would have been a Sam Alexander or an opportunity for him there. Likewise now, he’s set to ride the coattails of a franchise DnA help put on the map after an age old hiatus. Thus, the guy who helped bury DnA and Giffen’s finest character Nova is once more licking his chops at cashing in on their account.

His inability to make sense of stuff like Jesse Alexander, the Nova/ Loeb timeline, or things like Black Novas placement within the mythos was well established. What was notable was how Duggan created a revolving door of one-off rogues and supporting characters that struggled to find any voice.

Even worse, once more he’s not even set to provide his own take, with the tag that this will bring the concept more in line with the movie. Yeah, like Bendis didn’t try to do this already. The dynamic of the movie largely relies on the on-screen charisma of Chris Pratt and eye-popping effects….the paper comics have already tried (and failed) to replicate that.

Humphries’ Star-Lord solo title was this even more…and the book was terrible.

While I know Bendis’ dreadful run “predated” the GOTG film release (only technically), as the book settled in Bendis was woefully ham-fisted into depicting the GOTG as either pastiche versions of their movie counter parts or as generic renditions of his own familiar tropes.

It didn’t work.

As per the announcement, there’s evidently some work with the Nova Corps planned, which will no doubt mean bad continuity formation or an elevation of the Duggan co-created characters like Eve Bakian and the Nova wonder family. This was another tremendously disappointing dive into Nova Lore. (another series he just HAD to flash Rider’s dead corpse in)

I just feel this is really bad news for Richard Rider and Marvel cosmic.