Robot 6

‘Nova’ #1 rockets into comic shops — what did people think?

nova1-tease

This week Sam Alexander, a.k.a. the new Nova, joins a small group of characters (like Harlequin and Firestar) who made their debut on television before jumping onto the printed page. Alexander made his debut on the Ultimate Spider-Man animated show, then showed up last year in the big Avengers vs. X-Men crossover comics event.

Now he’s got his own ongoing series by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. Does Nova once again soar, or does he fizzle out in his latest attempt at an ongoing series? Here are a few opinions on the first issue from around the web:

David Pepose, Newsarama: “Those who have met Sam Alexander through Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, you might be a little bit surprised by this comics incarnation — Loeb brings a surprisingly dark edge here as he dives into the dynamic between Sam and his father Jesse. In a lot of ways, the Southwestern locale, the space angle and the focus on family reminds me a bit of Keith Giffen’s Blue Beetle, but the laughs don’t quite make it over here. Unlike the happy-go-lucky character on the TV show, Sam seethes with resentment—both for covering for his father’s alcoholism, and for enduring his larger-than-life tales as a member of the Nova Corps.” (7/10)

Matthew Meylikhov, Multiversity Comics: “One thing that’s clear, though, is that Loeb and McGuinness feel no real need to reinvent the wheel here. Truth be told, the only ostensibly detrimental part to the book is how paint-by-numbers it is. We’ve already seen origin stories like this in comics before, let alone other media, and there’s a fair chance that we’ll see origin stories like this again in the future. It’s just kind of a dull trope, one that has been diminished to an extent over time due to overuse. And yes, realistically, there are only so many origin stories that we’re ever going to get at this point in the game, but you’d imagine that for something as high profile as this comic wants to be that the books team might try a bit harder and not play it so safe.” (8/10)

Adam Shaw, Talking Comics: “Jeph Loeb provides an emotionally filled introduction into the life of Sam Alexander and his family. Sam’s dad, a former Nova corpsman, appears to be a dead beat dad. He tells his kids stories about his grand adventures in outer space, which Loeb uses to balance some of the more somber tones with more buoyant action. These stories featured other members of the Nova Corps as well as some of the Guardians of the Galaxy, so there is some indication that these two series will have some interconnecting stories, locales, or characters.”

Nova #1

Nova #1

Don MacPherson, Eye on Comics: “This story is missing a lot of things, and one of them is any sense of subtlety. Mind you, subtlety isn’t exactly something one expects to find in Loeb’s writing in recent years, so it’s not really a disappointment. Still, the ham-fisted juxtaposition of a heavily burden teen living in a town called ‘Carefree’ elicited a groan, as did, for example, the cameo of the principal from Back to the Future acting in a similar capacity here. As I understand it, this new incarnation of Nova is meant to serve in part as a replacement for Spider-Man in that Marvel doesn’t really have a teenage super-hero going through youthful angst while trying to live up the memory of a lost family member and ideal of responsibility. Loeb has certainly included a number of plot and character elements to fulfil that assignment, but by the middle of the issue, it felt as though I was running through a gauntlet of clichés and conventions rather than immersing myself in an engaging or entertaining story.” (5/10)

Paul Montgomery, iFanboy: “Sadly, neither Loeb or McGuinness lend the hamlet of Carefree and her youth as authentic or timely a voice as other recent teen hero adventures. While Loeb’s depiction of the Alexander family feels decidedly timeless and relatable, some interactions at school offer paint-by-numbers characterization. The choice to cast James Tolkan (circa Back to the Future) as bald, stern high school Principal Philbin registers less a winning homage than a jarring, ill-conceived cameo. That Philbin confronts Sam about his father’s lackluster job performance comes across as especially inappropriate. Chalk that up to character choice, but it’s also a heavy-handed contrivance to further compound Sam’s frustration with a cookie-cutter small town and the shame he harbors for his father’s perceived eccentricity.” (4/5)

Greg McElhatton, Comic Book Resources: “Over the years, McGuinness’ storytelling has continued to refine itself; he’s an artist who understands how to draw something big and powerful that blasts across the page, and a comic like Nova feels like it’ll be a strong match to those talents. I like that he’s also good with the less pulse-pounding details; the cross-cut between Sam’s father’s first story and then reality works well, and the cramped garage full of his father’s stuff feels more realistic than the ones you’d normally see in a comic.” (3/5)

Iann Robinson, Crave Online: “I also like that Loeb is writing a story anyone can get involved with. Nova is an old school character, one tied to a long and rich history. Instead of forcing new fans to dig through all the backstory, Loeb hands us a new Nova, one that is part of that history but you don’t need to be initiated into the series. There’s also a nice element of mystery with Nova #1, enough to push you into reading the next issue.” (7/10)

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17 Comments

Its stupid! Not the real nova! some teen queen wanna-be!

I liked it a lot and I’ll probably continue on with it, at least until Marvel decides to hideously scar him or lop off his arms or legs like they tend to do to their teen male characters after they’re done with them.

I thought it was brutally generic. The only surprising thing about it was the forced ending that clearly was there to move things along as fast as possible. I’ll read it by borrowing it from a coworker or simply keep up with it by reading reviews. Definitely not spending money on it.

I regret having bought it. It feels like a book I read before except they put a nova label on it.

Also there are somethings that just don’t historically feel right.

The Loeb doesn’t do anything wrong, but at the same time nothing here tells me he is a guy that deserves to be as respected in the industry as he is. Jobs that require creativity should demand more from the employees than just by the numbers

I thought it was a decent start, if for the great artwork if nothing else. It’s the typically overwritten Jeph Loeb comic, but this one seemed to be a little more roped in than his others – not so many multiple conversations overlapping, etc. It’s pretty much just DC’s Green Lantern with different suits, but I’ll read it for a while. McGuiness is amazing, so the art is fantastic.

McGuinness’ art and Gracia’s coloring are magnificent to behold.

Too bad they’re connected to a book that is so poorly conceptualized and written.

Despite the massive hype Marvel has thrown behind this book, it fails to deliver at nearly every level. First, let’s consider the storyline. Calling it hackneyed would be a compliment; angst filled, misunderstood, yet well-meaning 15-year-old boy has family troubles, girl troubles, school troubles, and is the victim of bullying. He copes by developing a cocky attitude and dreams of leaving his small town for something better. Then one day he accidentally acquires superpowers. Ever read that story before? Tired of it? Yeah – me too.

Now, I did qualify my criticism by saying the storyline failed at nearly every level. There were a few pages of interest; specifically, there were nine pages about a secret Black-ops division of the Nova Corps. Those pages were interesting. If the book was about this Black-ops division of the Nova Corps (and had the Black-ops story been more respectfully written), I might have actually enjoyed the book and been interested in adding it to my pull list.

It isn’t about the Black-ops division of the Nova Corps.

And that brings us to one of the many major failings of the book – characterization.

The book is about a thoroughly unlikable teenager named Sam Alexander who has been named “the next Peter Parker” by Marvel EIC, Axel Alonso. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I think one Peter Parker is enough. Why cheapen the original Peter Parker and weaken a new character by cloning teen Parker’s personality and putting it in a new body? Sam versus Moffett is no different than Peter versus Flash. Sam losing Jesse is no different than Peter losing Uncle Ben. We already know that character type and what happens next in his personality development. Why do we have to go over it again? Has the “House of Ideas” become so bereft of new ideas that it is resorting to re-treading characters in vain attempts to re-create past successes?

Conceptually, the book is a total failure – and worse – an outright insult to Rider Nova fans. Let’s start with the Black-ops storyline. It contains at least one glaring inaccuracy in continuity and timeline. At the time when Jesse was a Black Nova, the Guardians of the Galaxy with Rocket and Gamora as members had not yet been formed. There are also several condescending little comments about “Gold Domes” and about Jesse having been the greatest human Nova. Think about how hollow all the words from Loeb, Bendis, et al seem when the dialogue of their characters belies the professed “respect” they have for the legacy of Rich Rider and his fans.

As much as I dislike the book’s editor, Stephen Wacker, at least he’s honest about his antipathy toward Richard Rider Nova fans who object to Sam Alexander, and he regularly invites potential customers to boycott the book if they don’t like the hack-job that has been done to the concepts. You can read that for yourself on any forum page where he regularly posts insults to ardent fans. In contrast, Loeb, Bendis, Brevoort, and Alonso fall all over themselves pretending like they respect the Rider Nova fans and the legacy of the Rich Rider character in attempts to convince long term Rider Nova fans to buy the book – yet the very act of producing this “Nova in Name Only” (hereinafter abbreviated as NINO) book shows how little they truly respect the Rider Nova fans.

Save your money on this one guys – and join me in boycotting this book. Encourage all your friends to boycott it, too. It’s not worth a penny of your hard-earned money, and the sooner it fails the better. It’s an insult to cosmic and to true Richard Rider Nova fans. I was offered a free copy of this book, and I wouldn’t even accept a free copy as I won’t have NINO sullying my collection of true Rider Nova comic books.

Rating: one star (because the art is the only good thing about the book)

I’m just a fan of the Richard Rider/Nova, I pass on this new guy.

It’s Blue Beetle with McGuinness on art.

Loved it! Bought two copies, one for me and one for my eldest son.

Really looking forward to the next issue, Loeb has gotten the book off to a nice start.

Loeb has done it yet again. Taken a character who I grew up with and loved and tarnished his legacy with such horribly clichéd writing. Sam doesn’t come across as likable in the slightest and this issue is so swamped with by the numbers origin formulas that it was a struggle to get through in one sitting. Marvel needs to realize that Loeb’s former originality in his writing is long gone.

The only redeeming feature this book has is McGuinness & Garcia’s art but amazing as it is I have seen McGuinness do much better work in the past. This book is simply a crime against Richard Rider Nova fans everywhere and it sickens me that because this book will be piggybacking off the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon people will start seeing Sam as the “quintessential” Nova. And if that day comes before Richard Rider returns to reclaim his crown then I can safely say I’ll be done with Marvel outright.

I TOTALLY thought this was riff (at best) on the New 52′s Blue Beetle, which was a LOT better than this IMHO.

For many of the above reasons, this did not do it for me. I’ve read all these cliches before. As pointed out above, a story focusing on the “Black Ops” Nova Corp would have been a better choice.

Instead, I get a Blue Beetle/Peter Parker facsimile. I’m passiing.

I’m confused. So Richard Rider is dead (yes, yes, there is not “real” death in Marvel comics, but let that go, please). How did Thanos and Star Lord come back from the destruction of the Cancerverse and Richard didn’t. Was there an answer given in any comics or an comic creator?

THANK YOU Matt, Chris and Jon!…. I kept trying to tell my friends what irked me about the New Nova… ESPECIALLY since the Nova Force was cut off from our universe and of course when it returned (somehow) it wouldn’t choose any of the 10-20 surviving members of the Corps left… it would choose a punk kid….

*Facepalm*

Interesting that several of the reviews gave the book a lukewarm to negative write-up, but a better-than-average to good rating.

Gotta agree with Chris. A total insult to all who have been fans of Rider Nova for the past 36 years. What shabby, insensitive, cynical treatment from Marvel Editorial. Alonso laughingly says he’s just put Peter Parker in space and he’s sure all the Rider Nova fans will embrace Sam. Think again Alonso. Not going to happen. I used to buy $30/week of Marvel Comics. After the Loeb-otomization of Nova and Bendis’ turning of GotG into “Garbage of the Galaxy” by adding Tony Stark to the team – I was so offended I cancelled every Marvel title from my pull list. They’ll not get another penny from me until these offenses are corrected. Down with NINO!

They’re adding to the Nova legacy in the same way DC has done with Green Lantern, Flash and Blue Beetle. How is this a bad thing? Marvel could stand to do more of this. It’s not Richard Rider, therefore it is in no way tarnishing his Nova legacy. It’s a new Nova and it’s only one issue in right now.

I thought it was okay, so I gave it to my 9 year old nephew and he LOVED it! He’s trying to make a Nova helmet, even. After all the bitchin’ going on about Loeb’s writing, if it can get my next generation into comics, then go for it!

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