Pick of the Week

November 26, 2008 – Nova #19

What did the
community think?

Avg Rating: 4.2
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 1.8%
Users who pulled this comic:

Size: pages
Price: 2.99

Chances are you weren’t around when Ron picked Nova #2 as his Pick of the Week a year and a half ago. If you do the math though, you’ll see that us few faithful readers of Nova haven’t endured any late issues, nor have we complained about a single one of the 19 issues out so far. And of course, the long time joke is that this is not the kind of book you’d expect me to champion, based on my other tastes and criticisms. It turns out that the cure all for liking unlikely books is the addition of quality and fun. Writing team, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning have been bring liberal doses of both to Nova from the get go.

This is one of those books that exists in a bubble where I truly feel transported by reading it, in the sense that not many superhero comics are done this way anymore. It really is a classic ’70s Marvel book dressed up in digital graded color and a painted cover. It’s just this side of hokey, for one thing. It just isn’t subtle. Take Rich Ryder’s sad-sack brother, Robbie, whose nerdy inadequacy is broadcast in every panel he’s in. He loves his big brother, but is just a bit tired of being overshadowed by his Nova empowered sibling. And who wouldn’t be. The characterization is so much like an older style of comic character, in that they’re almost not trying to make him as realistic as they are trying for obvious and melodramatic. Of course, if you were used to reading comics like this anymore, you’d take that as a signal of what happens to him, but since we’re so used to nuance and red herrings in the competition to impress in modern comics, we don’t take it for what it is. Robbie’s overly obvious characterization is a blazing signal for what is going to happen to him at the end of the book, and that’s where the drama comes from. I’m not going to blow it for you, but well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist; or rocket powered super being either. Regardless, the last page made me smile mightily.

Even though I compare this book to the more transparent types of books from earlier times, the story takes me places I don’t expect. As the cover exclaims the Corps is back, and while we can expect that since it already happened with Green Lantern (I tease you Nova!), the way it happened was interesting. The Worldmind, the sentient embodiment of Nova Corps power, did the whole thing in his downtime while Rich was sleeping, surprising Rich with a team he had nothing to do with. This upset our Nova Prime, who is also, unexpectedly a little wistful for the days when he had Worldmind living in his own mind. The team is a textbook gathering of cosmic alien characters, with the standouts being a cousin of Fin Fang Foom, and one who’s just a head. I also didn’t expect them to make media appearances, but that’s exactly what happened after their 1.86 second takedown of the Serpent Society, who have lost some luster since their days tangling with Steve Rogers. Overall, it’s just a fun little world being re-built within the confines of the present Marvel Universe, with Nova having moved past being an awkward teenager into a competent adult hero, with some issues.

Wellington Alves has provided art chores for most of this series from issue #8, and he’s a perfect match for the kind of storytelling Abnett and Lanning are doing. It’s a great blend of classic and modern. The spots where he really shines however are in the action sequences, with giant bold layouts and canted angles, with energy beams flying all over and weird aliens getting blown up. It reminds me of reading one of my old comics, from John Buscema or Gene Colan, and while this kind of work wouldn’t necessarily work for a book like Daredevil, it is perfect for Nova.

A number of things might be going through your head right now. One might be, “I hear you Josh! I am also greatly enjoying the high flying adventures of former teenaged superhero Rich Ryder,” in which case you’d sound like a dipshit, but I appreciate the sentiment either way. You might also be thinking, “Hey, I’ve heard this spiel before Flanagan, and it might be good for you, but times are tight, and I can’t add another book, and I don’t really care all that much about Nova, and no, you heard me, NO! You can’t make me read this book, and I’m not going to!” In this case, I might call you out as a whiny baby and slap you like you deserve. Okay, that might be too far, and I’m not violent. I’d actually tell you that this issue is a great place to check out the series if you’ve been at all curious. As I said, it’s 19 on-time issues of good comics so far. Are there many other series you can say that about? There must surely be a book on your pull-list that can take the Pepsi Challenge against Nova. You’ve got Abnett and Lanning toiling over here on Nova, making fun, Marvel comics, and then you’ve got $4 issues of event spin-off comics that make you feel vaguely dirty after reading. Why is that even a contest? If you miss the way comics used to make you feel, with excitement, fun, and adventure, Nova might be just the book you’re looking for.

Josh Flanagan
And if you care about this sort of thing, Darkhawk is still around.


  1. I’m so happy the pick isn’t Batman…

  2. There really wasn’t much chance of that with me this week.  More on the show…

  3. Wow! Totally did not see this coming at all.

    But I agree on all fronts, I love this book just as much as you do. Although I didnt make it my POTW (Batman did) this is one of the best Marvel titles to come out. Could this be even better the, dare I say, Green Lantern?

  4. I think it stopped being weird for you to like Nova a while ago.  You read this and Guardians of the Galaxy, so you’re a full fledged Cosmic Zombie, J-Flo.  🙂

    I stopped reading Nova a while back, for no real reason.  Looking forward to getting caught up.  I’ve been enjoying GotG.   

  5. All the talk about Nova on the show got me to pick it up with issue #13 and I have since got the first two trades, and I love every bit of it.  Thanks for introducing me to a truly great comic!

  6. Why wouldn’t we have been around when ron picked #2?

  7. I dropped Nova a couple of issues ago, after reading it from #1.  I just lost interest.

    As for Batman– I’d have to say it was indeed my POW.  I loved most of it.  The few things that finally were explained were very satisfying.  I would say, though, that I could have done with a LITTLE more explanation, because I’m still not entirely sure what RIP was really about.

  8. @RoiVampire – A lot more poeple here now than there were 18 months ago.

  9. damn, that was fast! nice review josh.


    ahhh… i remember the early iFanboy days when Ron picked nova #2 and the discussion was all about Civil War 

  10. Did I pick up on a little jab at the JSA Specials there? I think I did!

    In any case, Nova’s great, and yeah, everybody should read it. 

  11. This was my first issue of Nova, and I’m fully onboard from now on.

  12. Good pick!

  13. i love this series but am not a fan of the art. in fact i missed last issue because of it. i’m going to go back and pick it up though as well as this one. don’t get me wrong, the guy is a good artist, its just not doin it for me. its a  personal taste thing.

  14. @milk: If I can just ask, why isnt Alves doing it for you in Nova? I’m fine if you dont like it, or if it’s a personal taste….just curious on why it doesnt get you.

    @josh: I sense some anger with you and Batman. I wont ask for a full on review of it….but for a quick preview for this week’s podcast, give me a one word summary for the issue. 🙂

  15. I am shocked. When I saw that the POW was Nova, my first thought was – oh Ron, you Nova junkie. But it was a Josh all along! Who’d have thunk it?

  16. hey, who likes battletoads?



  17. i am seriously loving Nova ever since i picked it up during Secret Invasion. I am also loving Guardians of The Galaxy too. I need more Sci-Fi comics like that. any suggestions?

  18. JSA: The Kingdom.  

    Pick. Of. The. Month.   

    The JSA is back, baby! 

  19. Cool review; you and Ron have always made this book sound interesting, I just haven’t ever gotten to it.  I’ll be interested to hear the show.

    This week didn’t have any five-star books for me, but a lot of my 3 and 4 star books were interesting.  I picked up the last couple issues of Ms. Marvel, and it turns out Brian Reed is telling a cool espionage story, not a skrull in sight.

  20. I was going to buy the first two trades, but then I saw the oversized (12 or so issues) hardcover is coming out very soon.

    I’m really looking forward to reading this series in one big chunk.

  21. Great pick–this book is just good comic fun. Reads well in issues, and I’m sure will be a fun trade as well.

  22. *phew*

  23. I’ve definitely been interested in Nova and GotG due to this show, AC, and 11OCC.  Perhaps i’ll be grabbing some trades soon.

  24. I gotta say, I’m still picking Batman, while silly, it was edge-of-the-seat exhilerating.

  25. I hear you Josh! I am also greatly enjoying the high flying adventures of former teenaged superhero Rich Ryder.

    Umbrella Academy rules!

    That is all.

  26. of all the comics to pick this week, I CANNOT believe this won out. Im truly shocked and i await the explanation this sunday

  27. Yeah, a week with a killer JSA one shot and the conculusion to RIP……NOVA??????? WTF?????

     Course, I don’t read Marvel so maybe it is an ok book, but with two great books…why look elsewhere for a POW.

  28. @Scorpion  Thanks for the info on the hardcover.  This seems like it would be a fun book to read a lot of together, so I’ll definitely be on the lookout for that.

  29. @thenextchampion, i think a lot of it has to do with pannel layout. i don’t think a crooked pannel for crooked pannel sake it all that… interesting. it just comes off as noise to me. how cool would this book be with Eric Canete drawing it.

  30. It’s Josh’s turn to pick the "wrong book". Ron went through this. Conor’s next. *rolleyes*

  31. I don’t think Morrison does particularly good dialogue, and this marrs this week’s Batman a bit, but I’m starting to think that Batman: RIP is one of the greatest Batman stories ever told.  In a lot of Batman comics you’re told how bad-ass Batman is, but this issue shows you why.  Not perfect by any means, but this arc defines Batman as a character who’s drive for self-perfection is unmatched.

  32. I´m not reading Nova…I chose to stay with Guardians cause I loved the crazy team on the Starlord series. Guess I should pick some Nova books.

    On other books.

    Maaaan! They really broke Batman, that was an intense issue…Way to go with the Man-Bats.

    Also…That Gog is one crazy looking God.


  33. I’ll add my voice to the chorus of people, well at least one, saying "Thank God it wasn’t Batman".  I need to go back and pick up the first issues of Nova in trades so I can jump on for an arc or two.  It sounds like the sort of book I’d enjoy, especially after a few of my titles have been getting a little too self-important.

  34. I was with coltrane68. I saw the PotW and said "Really Ron? Nova?" But I didn’t know until this day that it was Barzini, er, I mean Josh all along. For my money, the pick was The Kingdom #1. No contest.

  35. annihilation / annihilation conquest, way better than anything made by Bendis or Millar. Nova rules, Abnett and Lanning are THE best team working on a book right now.

  36. i think im gonna have to bite the bullet and pick up what ive missed with this series. i love abnett and lanning, but i hate sean chens art so much that i didnt pick up the book when it started, and since havent been interested in jumping onto a book halfway through a story arc.

  37. I haven’t finished all my books yet, but this was definitely a satisfactory read.  In the end, we learn one important thing:  Worldmind is a real prigg.

  38. Love me some Nova, this is my first year in comics techincally, and Nova was one of the first I picked up.

  39. Is Worldmind turning into a villain? I was wondering this since he pretty much backstabbed Richard and is rebuilding the Nova Corps without his vote. Plus after seeing some advance covers for the next couple of issues….it definitely feels like Worldmind is doing something strange by bringing back this Corps.

  40. does anyone know if this is the first part of a storyarc/possible trade? i want to pick up the trades up til now, but i dont want any overlap if i start picking up the issues with this one.

  41. @ActualButt- The second trade collected issues 8-12 and annual #1, so I would think the third trade will contain issues 13-18.  So yes, this is a perfect jumping on point

  42. Mouse Guard?

  43. So I had to go back and pick this up at my store.  I’ve dabbled because of Ron’s liking for this book but I always felt that this book didn’t have its own voice.  Nova is constantly in an event of some sort.  The current series was even a spin off of one.  With that said this issue felt right to me.  Maybe I needed more characters than just Worldmind and Rich.  Sadly this book will become a War of Kings tie-in.  Since I’m going to check that out I’ll continue to read it then after that I hope Marvel will leave Nova to his own devices.

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