Continuing my series of reviews of the Marvel Cosmic titles, I head back to Nova, with TPB volume 5: War of Kings. Last time around I reviewed the War of Kings event itself, but one of my few frustrations with that book was the fact that Nova did not appear in that story at all. It seems that here in his own book, I’ll finally get my answer – and more, since Nova has been hit and miss for me up to this point, is this a character I’m going to continue to want to read about in the future…
When last we left Nova, Richard Rider (or Nova Prime) had been kicked out of the Corps by the Worldmind computer who acts as a sort of administrator for the Nova Corps. But Richard has figured out that it is in fact the Worldmind that has gone off the deep end – that the computer’s exposure to the full power of the Nova Force has left it damaged and deranged. But now that the Nova Corps has disappeared from Earth orbit to go fight in the War of Kings, how will Richard ever catch up with them.
And not just because he needs to help the Worldmind, but also to keep it from initiating more new corpsmen – raw recruits it’s sending off to fight in this war, who are losing badly because they’re not trained and facing a superior foe (like the Shi’ar Imperial Guard). Richard’s younger brother Robbie is one of those new recruits – and when the Nova Corpswoman he was supposed to protect gets killed in the line of duty – he takes it on himself to track down her killer. But how can a raw recruit hope to face Gladiator – one of the most powerful of the Imperial Guard?
But Richard himself is dying; his body can no longer sustain him without the power of the Nova Force. His disembodied friend Wendell, the former Quasar, has the means to help him – by retrieving the Quantum Bands (from Phyla-Vell, who lost them in Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2) and offering them to Richard to use. Richard catches up with the Nova Corps, helps stabilize the Worldmind, saves his brother, faces off against Inhumans, the Imperial Guard, King Blastaar and manages to kick off the new generation of Nova Corps – in the best Nova story arc since Annihilation Conquest/Knowhere.
This book really helped solidify my interest in Nova – previously I wasn’t sold on his solo book (other than the tie-in to Annihilation Conquest), but now I’m anxiously awaiting the next volume of this book. If I have only one complaint – the cover artist doesn’t work for me at all. Since his work is very limited (other than the dreadful cover of this volume – I much prefer one of the variants that are shown within the book) it’s not too much of a detriment, and the two artists within do great work. Similar to War of Kings, this may not be the best book to just pick up and start with though – while there is a summary of what’s happened previously at the beginning of the book – this is best read as a continuation of the books up to this point, since it’s the culmination of plots that have been laid out in volumes 3 and 4. There is also some foreshadowing, as at the very end there’s a Nova Corps starship emerging from the Fault – the rip in space-time that the final battle between Black Bolt and Vulcan has opened in the universe. Who could be on that starship (as all known Nova Corpsmen are accounted for) – and what other horrors lie beyond the Fault. Perhaps we’ll learn more in the next volume of Guardians of the Galaxy.