I’m reading (and reviewing) these cosmic Marvel stories in the order that seems to make the most sense, and having recently finished Guardians of the Galaxy vol 1, which had a minor Secret Invasion sub-plot, it seemed the next stop on my tour of deep space stories should be this Nova volume, appropriately titled Secret Invasion. But even here, the cosmic character of Nova is kept on the sidelines from the major event, allowing this book to be read on it’s own without an understanding of the greater crossover. But does it make for a compelling volume? To find out, you know what to do.
This volume of Nova doesn’t actually begin with Secret Invasion, and in fact doesn’t get around to that storyline until the latter half of the book. First we have Nova responding to a distress call from a planet that is dying – dying because it is being devoured by the massive Celestial being known as Galactus. Nova is way out of his league in dealing with this ‘threat’ – and in fact, doesn’t even try to. What he does do is try to help these people escape from their planet’s destruction, and in this desperate hour he also uncovers something even darker. There is a killer lurking among these people, slaughtering indiscriminately and using the chaos of the global disaster to it’s advantage. But Nova is a galactic police officer first and foremost, and even as he faces a world ready to destroy itself under his feet – he’s going to attempt to bring this being in for its crimes.
But the cost of doing so leaves him without his most important ally – the supercomputer that acts as his guide and mentor, has shorted out and is now offline. And Nova is in an even more desperate situation – as he finds out that Earth is under attack by shape changing Skrull invaders. He, along with his former teammate Darkhawk, wind up helping defending an Earth lab that may hold the only weapon that stands any chance against the Skrull invasion. That ‘weapon’ winds up being an energy being who seems to be the former Quasar (a male, not Phyla’vell the current female Quasar from Guardians of the Galaxy) – but the real surprise is not his return, but the return of the Nova Corps on the final page.
Since the Nova Corps was completely destroyed in the opening chapter of the original Annihilation saga, this was a bit of a shock – but perhaps because of all the time/space problems that have resulted from these Annihilation events are the culprit here. Either way, I’m looking forward to reading the next volume of Nova for at least that reason. But, as to this particular volume, despite my descriptions above, I didn’t love it. The prior volume was like a part of the Annihilation Conquest series, and I thought it was fantastic. But take out Gamora, add in the Silver Surfer (who I find to be pretty boring), the Super-Skrull (ditto) and Darkhawk who just seemed like a non-entity to me (I wasn’t familiar with him before this story, though I understand I’ll be seeing more of him in the future)… in all this volume in the continuing story of Nova as only so-so.
If the purpose of the tie-in was to get me interested in Secret Invasion – it didn’t work. As a couple of stand alone tales; it was ok, but nothing particularly important or groundbreaking. I wouldn’t call this a particularly good jumping on point for new readers, nor necessary reading in the grand cosmic storyline (at least not from what I’ve seen so far) – but you never know when these kinds of stories might affect something further down the road and make you rethink what you previously read. So I hold out hope that this volume may yet be redeemed by a future tie-in, and it certainly wasn’t a waste of my time – just not really as enjoyable as most of the other cosmic stories I’ve read so far. But next up we start… yes, the NEXT big cosmic event – War of Kings, bringing these cosmic heroes together with the space-bound X-Men. Come back in two weeks to see my thoughts on Road to War of Kings – the prelude to the main event.