Cosmic Triune: Nova: Rich and The Kid
(Editor's Note: "The Cosmic Triune" is a series of opinionated articles focusing on Marvel Cosmic. Doug Smith, owner of the #1 Nova site on the net, The Nova Prime Page, offers his thoughts on the new Nova.)
Rich and the Kid
By Doug Smith
Marvel certainly seems to be pushing the Sam Alexander Nova (that's assuming the Point One/Ultimate Spider-Man animated Nova is the same as the Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 version).
And if Sam is the near future for Nova, I'm along for the ride for now (I don't know if anyone can confirm this, but I'm guessing that Sam Alexander is Jeph Loeb combining his son, Sam Loeb's first name, with his Heroes co-executive producer Jesse Alexander's last name?).
I think Marvel is currently more interested in developing the concept of Nova versus the singular character of Rich Rider. To most comic readers, Nova is a teenager who received his powers from a dying alien warrior, and learned to use his powers while dealing with teen problems. However, Richard Rider has grown far beyond that at this point. We have had the extremely rare pleasure of watching a character actually mature into his full potential. Most superheroes, short of reboots, are given to us in a form they stay in for their publishing lives. So instead of trying to take Rich backwards, the decision was made to create a new Nova in the shape of Marv Wolfman's original concept.
However, Marvel can also see the success of DC's Green Lantern across different media, and realize they have a similar potential with Nova. Which is why it's easy for them to leave DnA's resolution for Richard Rider as is for now. And just speaking as a Nova fan, I feel Rich Rider was given the best superhero sendoff we've seen in a very, very long time. His sacrifice and the way he faced the situation was precisely the way I would expect him to face it. Thank you, Dan and Andy, for giving him the respect he deserved!
And Rich may actually benefit from this approach in the long run. Look at Hal Jordan. We had Hal for years with the concept of the GL Corps kind of always sitting in the background. Then we had new GLs to replace Hal (Guy, then John and eventually Kyle). As that cast of GLs grew, none of the four were lost for long when Hal returned. Now, DC has a rich GL line going with even different GLs in different media (Hal and John in separate animated series) with the GL Corps being in the forefront instead of just one member.
Since Marvel does not historically give the legacy aspect to its characters that DC does, plus the fact that we are talking about comics, the chances of Richard Rider returning at some point in the near future are solid. Marvel could simply be trying the GL Corps approach with the Nova concept. Sam will be built up and new fans will be made. Rich will eventually return as the experienced leader, and Sam the Kid Nova who now not only has to deal with teen problems, will also contend with another Nova who is vastly better at it than he is. Plus the post-War of Kings Nova Corps can always be brought back online (if they haven't already along with Sam).
It could eventually mean multiple titles with Sam in one and Rich in another, and maybe even a brand new Nova Corps in still another. Rich's title could be space-themed adventures like DnA had him in (and hopefully they would be brought back to write the new title). Sam's title could be tied to Earth adventures with perhaps a spot in the Avengers.
And I'll even take the other side, and say that if Sam is an "epic fail," Rich can be brought back with no damage to his continuity. And the other benefit is that we don't have to deal with Rich being de-aged, rebooted, or anything like that. Rich's legacy is intact.
And let's be honest, we've been really lucky from that aspect. We went 8 years from Rom #24 to Thor #411, and we got Rich back. Marvel easily could have started over with a new Nova instead, since it had been so long. Same thing every time Nova was given a new series: We got Rich and not someone else. And it's been that way for 35 years. How many other heroes can claim that?
I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm more than willing to give the kid a chance. Who knows? It might be the beginning of a whole new ball game for Rich Rider as well!