Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Comic Book Review: Nova #20

The Revolution continues to be blown away by DnA’s fantastic work with Marvel’s cosmic characters. This has become the most exciting aspect of the Marvel Universe. With War of Kings on the horizon, I am sure that DnA have big things in store for Nova. I am confident that Nova #20 will be another solid read. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.

Creative Team
Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Pencils: Wellinton Alves & Geraldo Burges
Inks: Scott Hanna, Nelson Pereira & Anderson Silva

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: We begin with a flashback scene when the New Warriors had just been formed and were battling some Terminus robots. We see Kid Nova, Marvel Boy, Speedball, Firestar and Night Thrasher in action. At first the New Warriors feel like they are in over their heads and that they should call the Avengers for help.

Speedball then asks if his teammates want to become the new Avengers or if they just want to be the new kids on the block that people call when things are mildly dangerous. The New Warriors all agree that they want to be the new Avengers and they keep fighting with a renewed spirit.

We cut to the present with Nova watching the video of that fight with the Terminus robots on a widescreen TV. Suddenly, Firestar and Justice enter the room carrying pizzas and beer. Nova is happy to see is old teammates and says that he is glad that they could meet him here at the Warriors’ old crash pad.

Nova states that they are all that is left. That nobody knows where Speedball is and that Namorita and Night Thrasher are gone. The three old friends then toast each other and the memory of their teammates.

Angelica and Vance then congratulate Nova on becoming a big-time cosmic super hero. Richard brushes off the compliments and says that he wants to ask them a question. Richard asks if he was a team player back when they were in the New Warriors together.

We zip forward about six slices of pizza later with Richard finishing telling his friends how he became Nova-Prime and the sole possessor of the Nova Force and the Worldmind. Richard says that now Worldmind is no longer in his head and that Worldmind has gone about rebuilding the Nova Corps without Richard’s input. And that on top of it, one of the new Nova Corps Centurions is Richard’s kid brother Robbie.

We cut back to where Nova #19 ended with Robbie in a Nova suit and proudly telling Richard that he is now a Nova Corps Centurion. Richard is less than happy and says that he does not want Robbie getting hurt. Robbie snaps that he always worried about Richard’s safety whenever Richard went into space on a mission. But, despite that worry, Robbie was still proud of Richard.

Robbie yells that Richard cannot be proud for him. Robbie tells Richard to go screw himself. Richard then counters that he is trying to look out for Robbie. Robbie snaps that Richard is jealous that he is not longer the extra special son. Robbie says that Worldmind told him that Robbie has real potential. That Worldmind said that Robbie has many of the qualities that Richard has except that, unlike Richard, Robbie is not a total horse’s ass.

Robbie storms off ranting that he is an adult and that he has always wanted to be a Nova Corps Centurion and that it is an honor. And that on top of it all that it is none of Richard’s business.

We shift back to Richard finishing telling the story of what happened between him and Robbie to Vance and Angelica. Richard says that he always knew that Robbie resented him. After all, that is what older brothers are for. They are bigger, taller and older.

Richard says that he does not like Robbie being a Nova Corps Centurion because he does not want Robbie getting hurt or killed. However, maybe Richard is kidding himself and maybe he is just jealous of Robbie after all. Richard says that he does not think that Robbie is ready or capable to handle being a Nova Corps Centurion. Of course, Richard admits that he was not ready to handle being a Nova Corps Centurion when he was first granted his powers.

Angelica states that Richard is the older brother and that older brothers worry about their younger brothers. That is what they do. Angelica and Vance point out how mind bogglingly smart Worldmind is and that he would not have selected a candidate for the Nova Corps who was not worthy.

Angelica states that maybe Richard’s feelings about Robbie are just a distraction for what is really bothering him. That maybe Richard does not like that Worldmind is rebuilding the Nova Corps without consulting with Richard. Vance adds that Richard was always a team player back with the New Warriors. And that the Nova Corps is a force for good that is desperately needed. That the Nova Corps sure would have been helpful during the Skrull invasion.

Richard admits that he is scared of change. Richard says that he had the Worldmind in his head for so long that Richard does not want to give up Worldmind or share him with anyone else. Vance smiles and then asks Richard to tell them about these new Nova Centurions.

We cut to Qubit, Fraktur, Irani, Tarcel and Morrow taking on Dragon Man. They struggle to stop Dragon Man until Irani decides that they cannot knock out Dragon Man and that they must instead subdue and capture him with a four point gravimetric net.

It is a good theory, but Irani’s calculations are not perfect so the attempt fails to capture Dragon Man. However, Robbie then streaks onto the scene and says that Irani’s plan was good, but that they needed to interlock the gravimetric net more precisely.

Robbie sends revised calculations to the Nova Centurions’ helmets. Irani exclaims how Robbie’s field generation computations are elegant and precise. The Nova Centurions then capture Dragon Man in a gravimetric net. The Centurions congratulate Robbie for his work and add that he acts like a seasoned veteran. Robbie smiles and says that it is no secret who got the smarts in the Ryder family. The Nova Centurions fly off to take Dragon Man into detention.

We slide back to Richard telling Angelica and Vance that maybe he is being dumb. That all of the new Centurions are good people. Richard says that if he was rebuilding the Corps then these are the exact people that he would be looking for. Vance says that Richard worries too much. Vance agrees that this is a big change but that it will be good for Richard.

Suddenly, our three heroes are surrounded by gun wielding security guards. The guards state that this is private property owned by the Taylor Foundation. Vance asks Richard “Should we?” Richard replies “Oh, I think so…” Our three heroes smile and then power up. We then see the security guards quickly turning tail and running away from the warehouse.

Richard, Vance and Angelica leave the warehouse. Richard comments that they were a good team. Vance corrects Richard and says “We’re still a great team.” Angelica says that she has to leave since she has class in the morning. Vance says he has to head out too. Richard tells them how great it was to see them and for them not to wait so long before getting together again.

Richard walks back into the Warriors’ crash pad and plays the video of the New Warriors battling the Terminus robots. On the video one of the members comments that they make a really good team. Richard smiles and says “Yeah…we really did.”

Suddenly, a massive thunderstorm hits the area. Richard attempts to contact Worldmind however; there is no response from Worldmind. Richard suits up in his Nova uniform and flies off. Nova against tries to contact Worldmind, but again gets no response.

Nova then looks up into the stormy sky and sees Ego the Living Planet peering down on the city. End of issue.

The Good: Nova #20 was another good read. DnA continue to make Nova a dependable comic book that always delivers a well crafted and entertaining story. DnA ease off the gas pedal with this issue and give the reader a moment to catch their breath. And this was a smart move.

The past several issues of Nova have delivered some fairly large plot developments that culminated with the re-birth of the Nova Corps. Nova #20 was the perfect moment to slow things down and let the reader digest all of the recent development with the numerous new recruits to the Nova Corps and to let the readers get their bearings before we race full throttle into the War of Kings event which is going to dominate the pages of Nova in the upcoming months.

DnA also take this opportunity to make Nova #20 extremely new reader friendly. This issue is the perfect jumping on point for new readers. And this was a brilliant move by DnA. With the War of Kings event headed our way, DnA took this opportunity to deliver an issue that brings new readers up to speed and prepares them for the War of Kings event.

I am sure that some new readers are picking up Nova with the buzz about War of Kings. DnA nicely re-cap the past nineteen issues of Nova for those readers. And DnA do it in a fashion that does not bore readers who have been aboard this train since the first issue. Marvel continues to display a savvy marketing sense and knowing how to make their big events new reader friendly and easy to consume.

DnA crank out plenty of nicely crafted dialogue. Each character has their own unique voice and the dialogue is natural and has a good flow. DnA also deliver quality character work. Particularly impressive is the character work with Richard and Robbie. DnA allow the reader to crawl inside of Richard’s head in order to get an interesting view of the complex relationship between these two brothers. DnA also whip up some great chemistry between the three old friends as well as between Richard and Robbie.

I loved seeing the reunion of the surviving members of the original New Warriors. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the original New Warriors. I remember picking up that title when it first came out. I thought they were a pretty cool team and as a young teen-ager at the time the New Warriors certainly appealed to me.

It was wild to see how much these characters have changed. The years have not necessarily been kind to the original New Warrior. And the New Warriors do not get much love and are often either ignored or reduced to a punch line. DnA do the New Warriors justice by conveying to the reader the youthful hope and optimism that the team had back in the day. I got a smile on my face during the scene near the end of this issue when Nova continues to watch the old video of the New Warriors and then proudly confirms the fact that they were a good team.

It was wonderful to see Angelica, Vance and Richard back together again. I am a sucker for nostalgia so this reunion obviously appealed to me. DnA perfectly captured the vibe and mood of when you catch up with old high school friends. The re-living of past events and then spinning forward and examining how much different you and your friends are today. I would certainly like to see Justice and Firestar back in the pages of Nova at some point in the future.

I enjoyed how DnA played with the Felix Unger/Oscar Madison type relationship that Richard and Worldmind have had with each other. Richard has continually complained about the Worldmind in his head and how he could not wait to get Worldmind out of him. And now that Richard has done that he realizes that this is a case of be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. Richard’s trouble with adjusting to not having Worldmind in his head is perfectly realistic and understandable. And DnA do a wonderful job conveying Richard’s feelings of abandonment.

DnA also examine Richard’s feelings of no longer being the center of Worldmind’s attention. That Richard is no longer special. For a while now Richard was the only Nova and he carried not only Worldmind inside of him but all the full Nova Force. It is only natural and human to enjoy the feeling of being special and having the attention of someone all to yourself.

And the feelings of resentment and jealousy are bound to surface inside of Richard as he sees other Nova Centurions vying for the attention for the Worldmind. And the more Nova Centurions there are then the less “special” Richard becomes. It is tough to go from being the man to being one of the men.

The scene between Richard and Robbie was well executed. DnA gets the reader to understand both brothers’ position; however, Robbie does come across as the more sympathetic one in this fight. DnA nicely play with the standard roles of big and little brothers. There is no doubt that Richard loves his brother and is genuinely concerned for Robbie’s safety. However, it is also evident that Richard’s obvious concerns for Robbie’s safety also mask a thin veil of jealousy that Richard has with having to share being a Nova Centurion with his brother.

It was pretty cool seeing Robbie in action for the first time. I liked that DnA are giving Robbie his moment to shine by having him be an incredibly capable Nova Centurion. I hope that DnA have interesting plans in store for Robbie other than making him cannon fodder in order to create some cheap “drama” with Richard.

DnA end Nova #20 with a strong hook ending as Ego the Living Planet makes a rather dramatic appearance. DnA continue to cook up incredibly wild and unexpected endings on this title. I am curious to see what DnA have in store for us with the appearance of Ego.

Nova #20 had some fairly solid artwork. Yes, it was a bit inconsistent and was nothing particularly impressive or dynamic. But, considering the fact that we got artwork by committee with a total of five artists handling the art duties the art was better than I expected. The artists did manage to do a nice job in blending their styles together so that the issue never looked schizophrenic.

The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.

Overall: Nova #20 was another good read. DnA continue to impress me with their quality work that they are doing with Marvel’s cosmic characters. At this point, I find Marvel cosmic characters to be the most intriguing and entertaining aspect of the Marvel Universe.

DnA deserve plenty of praise for resurrecting these moribund characters and helping to make the Marvel Universe even deeper and more textured. The one aspect that the DCU always had an advantage on the Marvel Universe was their cosmic characters. Thanks to DnA that is quickly changing.

I heartily recommend that you give Nova a chance. This title is one of Marvel’s better reads. If you enjoy Sci-Fi stories and action and adventure themed comics then you will probably enjoy what DnA are doing on this title.

1 comment:

grifter said...

i totally agree. i've been onboard the Nova revival since Annihilation.