Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
Artists: Kev Walker, Rick Magyar
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Iíve always thought of Nova as a pretty cheesy character in the realm of Marvel heroes. As a kid and a teenager, I always hated his yellow and blue costume with the various cosmic images adorning it. Thatís really the basis of my assessment. I never read any of the Nova comics except for a couple of issues of the New Warriors, which really didnít change my opinion of the character. Strangely, though, after reading Annihilation: Prologue and the previews for the upcoming four mini-series, this is the series I wanted to read. First of all, most of the Prologue concerned the annihilation of the Nova Corps, with Richard Rider being the only Nova to survive. Secondly, Iím a big fan of Drax the Destroyer, particularly after Keith Giffenís most recent mini-series, and I knew that he would play a role in the Nova series since he didnít have an Annihilation mini-series of his own. Finally, I love the work of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, particularly their work on Majestic, which I think is my favorite Wildstorm title right now (Too bad itís ending. Sniff!). With all of these great reasons for buying this comic in mind, my only hope was that I wouldnít be disappointed by the execution.
Thankfully, I wasnít disappointed, even though there were elements to this first issue that could have been handled much better. On the positive end, the introduction to the issue by the Worldmind was a great lead-in for those who read Prologue and those who didnít. Plus, I really enjoyed the art by Kev Walker and Rick Magyar, especially the panels after the introduction that present the battered Nova and his attempts to make sense of the Worldmindís plan and the raging destruction all around him. Everything in the issue looks gritty, interlocking snugly with the mood of despair throughout. Normally, I like my space operas to have clean lines and bright colors, which helps transport the reader to the otherworldly locales of the tale. But, in this case, the art is just right, since Abnett and Lanning are dealing with genocide and revenge, two very ugly, very human topics that shouldnít have a bright, clean presentation. It is clear through the story and the art that Richard Rider is a human being first, not an alien in human clothing, with strong feelings of loss, pain, vengeance, disorientation, and power. In this sense, the creative team of Nova has done an excellent job.
Negatively, the dialogue between Nova and the Worldmind wasnít as tight as it could have been. Yes, I know that this is dialogue between man and machine, but since this is the meat of Issue #1, I have to address it! Abnett and Lanning were looking to fit a little of the tongue-in-cheek in the conversations between a human and an utterly rational construct of immense power. Yet, a lot of the potential humor falls flat. When Richard mockingly refers to the Worldmind as "Dad" and it responds, "You referred to me as Dad. Why?," I verbally groaned. He already said that the Worldmind sounded like his father. For an entity of unbelievable intelligence and rationality, shouldnít he have figured out that this was sarcasm, which Richard wields liberally throughout this entire issue? Now that thatís off my chest, thereís also the disturbing similarities to stories I have read in Green Lantern. Is Richard Rider a mixture of Kyle Rayner and Hal Jordan? Seems that way to me, but maybe itís because Iím a loyal reader of all of the Green Lantern titles. Because of that affinity of mine, this story feels a trifle stale since it resembles material Iíve read recently. Nevertheless, in the final analysis, this is an entertaining start to this mini-series and probably the best of the four Annihilation series I have read so far. Nova! I canít believe Iím writing that Nova is the best!
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