(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with cosmic comics and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)
By Byron Brewer
If the Sphinx is indeed Nova’s “Joker,” then Supernova is his “Penguin.” (Anyone here speak “bat”? lol)
Supernova (aka Nova Omega aka Garthan Saal) is a former member of the Xandarian Nova Corps and was one of the few Xandarians who survived the destruction of Xandar at the hands of Nebula. (Xandar had previously been destroyed two times before, once by Zorr who Nebula would later allege is her father and then by the Skrulls. It has since been resurrected and destroyed for a fourth time by Annihilus.)
Garthaan Saal contained the power of the entire Nova Corps within his body which increased him to the size of a giant and drove him mad. Supernova's desire for revenge against Nebula led him on a quest to track her down and exact his revenge. He had heard that Nebula had recently been a member of the Avengers (in actuality this was a temporal counterpart to Kang's long lost love Ravonna who assumed the guise of Nebula).
Supernova first attacked the Avenger Starfox (another alleged relative of Nebula's) in space which led to a confrontation between Supernova and the combined forces of the Avengers, Fantastic Four and fellow surviving Xandarian Firelord (a former Herald of Galactus). Supernova was only defeated by tricking him into the timestream to find the woman he believed was Nebula as she had been lost in the timestream during a previous encounter with the Avengers.
Years later, Garthan Saal returned from the time stream even more crazed. He had come to realize that there was a small sliver of the Xandarian Nova Corps power that was still housed within the earthling Richard Rider, a former member of the Xandarian Nova Corps and at that time a member of the New Warriors. Supernova came to Earth and drained Nova of all his powers, effectively killing him (and effectively ruining his date with Laura Dunham). Richard was resurrected thanks to another surviving Xandarian (and former Herald of Galactus), Air-Walker. Air-Walker and Firelord joined Nova and the New Warriors into a battle in space with Supernova.
During the battle, Supernova tried to drain a powerless Richard Rider again but this led to Richard himself having full control of the Nova Force. Nova was convinced by his friends to relinquish the power and use it to reboot the Xandarian Worldmind (a network that serves as a repository of all Xandarian knowledge, culture and power).
Having done this, the Worldmind resurrected the Xandarian race and the Nova Corps was reborn. Nova was given more power but eventually was depowered again at which point Garthaan Saal became the Nova assigned for Earth and took the name Nova Omega. His appointment caused great friction between him and the depowered Richard Rider. Garthan began tracking Volx the queen (and mother) of the Dire Wraiths. In the final issue of the original New Warrior series, Volx murders Garthan. As a parting gift Garthan Saal returns the Nova Force to Richard Rider.
In the most recent volume of the Nova series by writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, Richard Rider was again in possession of almost the entirety of the Nova Force after the Worldmind's attempts to recreate the Nova Corps. Malik Tarcel, one of the members of the recently rebooted (and later deactivated) Nova Corps, was captured by Shi'ar forces and tortured. After the torture was over, a man claiming to be Garthan Saal arrived to rescue him. This plot point has yet to be resolved, to the best of my knowledge.
Supernova is interesting, as is his kidnapping of Malik Tarcel -- but he will never be a Sphinx!