Nova #6: To Avenge or Not to Avenge

 

The price of being a superhero can be high. Death, destruction, pain, and, yes, the secret identity. Current Nova hotshot Sam Alexander is learning that lesson in a big way. Warning, Nova #6 is a little confusing. Issue #5 ended with Sam defeating an enemy named Titus, who had once served with his father, as well as the young Nova pledging to find his dad. Issue #6 jumps ahead one month later, right after Nova helped take on the Dark Phoenix in Avengers vs. X-Men, which ended a while ago. It’s a little unsettling at first, but soon all is clear.

Sam is riding on top of the world. He’s a superhero, he realizes his father wasn’t the drunken liar he thought, and he’s been asked to become part of the Avengers. Problem is, Sam’s still a kid, and Momma Alexander is having none of this Avengers nonsense. What’s worse, Sam is still a reject weakling to the school bullies. As much as he wants to blast them, he has to keep a cool head. Writer Zeb Wells takes over for Jeph Loeb, and doesn’t miss a beat getting right into the action.

Nova #6 is a good jumping on point. Outside of the new writer, this is the issue where we take a breather. Sam has gone through a lot of changes since we first met him. Wells is allowing readers to take stock of the story arc. Sam is hero now, but his mother is terrified for him. He can’t use his powers to whoop some bully ass because of his secret identity. A bitter pill to swallow for any hero, much less one the ripe old age of 15. Sam takes his lumps, but calls it a day when mom forbids him to be an Avenger. The end is our hero, racing to accept Thor’s invitation.

Zeb Wells has his work cut out for him. Nova #6 ends the discovery arc, and begins the time when we see if this series can stand on its own. Is the story of a kid star-hero something that can hold up to an ongoing? Wells writing has always been first rate, but this is new territory, a title Marvel may be bringing back for movie tie-in reasons than anything else. Hopefully, Wells will break some new ground and Nova will be another sci-fi title in the Marvel cache.

Paco Medina’s art is rather lacking. The facial expressions he pencils are entirely too overblown, plus each face looks dirty, as if Sam and the rest of the cast need to wash themselves. The pencils are also stagnant, there’s no movement to them at all. A book like Nova needs art that moves at a brisk pace. Medina’s work is rushed, it comes off too still for something as action oriented as Nova. I think Zeb Wells writing would be better served by another artist.

 

(4 Story, 2 Art)

 

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