Nova #9: Fun Amidst Life and Death
Zeb Wells continues his interesting take on Nova. Originally the tale of teenager Sam Alexander, whose father was a Nova warrior and has now passed down the power to his son, Nova has now spread out to involve the rest of the Galaxy. Issue #9 continues Sam’s involvement with the Infinity series currently unfolding in Avengers and New Avengers. In short, Thanos is not happy with there being a new Nova warrior, and he’s sent Kaldera, a slave of the Proxima Midnight, to waste him.
Issue #9 opens with Sam and his new buddies. Robbie Baldwin, aka Speedball, and Vance Astrovik, aka Justice. The three met rather haphazardly and have now formed a tentative friendship. Returning home, Sam and his buddies find Kaldera holding Sam’s mother and little sister prisoner. Essentially, Kaldera challenges Sam to a fight for their lives, but not a standard fight. Sam will put down his Nova helmet, and Kaldera her weapons, and the two will go at it fisticuff-style. If Sam refuses, Kaldera kills his mother and his sister. If he loses, Kaldera kills him. Not exactly a winning situation for young Sam Alexander.
The fight goes as you might expect, with Sam getting his ass kicked. Ever the crafty hero, he decides to outsmart the violent but not too bright Kaldera. He begins to refer to her as a bully, and calls into question her warrior code. As Kaldera rages at the insult, Sam has his buddies toss him the Nova helmet. Now it is ass-whuppin time. Kaldera attempts to fight back, but is easily beaten by Nova Sam. Even teleporting him back to the ship where Proxima Midnight is does nothing. Ultimately, Kaldera loses, and is forced to suffer a most horrible punishment for it. Meanwhile, Sam returns home to discover his new buddies have really entrenched themselves into his family.
Much like Mark Waid’s Daredevil, Zeb Wells allows Nova to be fun. There are life and death situations happening, action abounds, and intergalactic battles wage, but Wells never allows Nova to slip into darker territories, at least storywise. This is, after all, a series about a teenage boy learning to become a man. Wells is smart enough to inject humor and love into the stories, grounding them in a reality Nova needs in order to work.
Paco Medina handles pencils, and I’m just not a fan of what he does. There’s entirely too much of a manga influence in his work, which I find to be repetitive and boring. Most of the faces in Nova #9 have the same expressions or they look entirely too similar. The telltale sign of manga, the idiotic hair, is also hard to ignore. I will give Medina this, he has a great gift with communicating action. His work isn’t terrible, but the overbearing manga influence makes everything come off a little too much like everything else.
Nova continues to be a great title, but Zeb Wells deserves a more interesting artist.
(4.5 Story, 2 Art)