The Loeb-otomization of the Nova concepts and legacy continues.
This snooze-fest of an issue finds NINO returning from his cameo in AvX. You know – the one where he says he has to ask his mom’s permission to join the Avengers. He asks and she says no. Finally, someone makes a reasonable adult decision about a 14-year-old participating in kill-or-be-killed combat. Or so it seems. Then there’s some boring conversation between NINO and his mom. Then NINO sees his would be girlfriend who thinks he might be NINO. Then NINO has a confrontation with the school bully and doesn’t use his powers even though he wants to use them. Then there’s more boring conversation with the school Principal. Then there’s some pseudo teen rebellion nonsense in response to the Principal. Then there’s more boring conversation with mom where she relents. Then NINO flies off to Long Island to look for trouble. With all the talking heads, clichés, and lack of action – you’d swear Bendis wrote this one. But he didn’t.
Zeb Wells wrote this one, and he made good on his promise to keep up the Loeb-otomization by continuing to write the lead character as an annoying idiot.
I recently read an article where Rich Rider’s Nova was said to be Marvel’s most “identifiable cosmic hero.” I know some would argue Silver Surfer or Captain Marvel, and others Thor, but I would argue that Silver Surfer, Captain Mar-Vell, and Thor are not human. I think it's more accurate to say Rich Rider’s Nova was Marvel’s most identifiable Human cosmic character, and in his latest iteration he embodied what the fans wanted from such a character – strength, competence, confidence – a “Cosmic Captain America” as it were as leader of the Nova Corps. Instead, Loeb, Brevoort, and Wacker – in a total misread and misunderstanding of cosmic and cosmic fandom – replaced the “Cosmic Captain America” with NINO and a series of silly, cutesy, smarmily sentimental, predictable comic book clichés aimed squarely at the prepubescent crowd. One half-way expects Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo to show up and help NINO solve a mystery.
It’s telling that what garnered the most interest from readers was the Black-Ops Nova Corps. That sort of storyline is the basis for a great deal of popular SF. Cosmic fans grew up with Star Trek and Star Wars. They’re interested in military science-fiction. Of course, the architects got rid of the Black-Ops Novas faster than they did Rich Rider. Hey architects: try listening to the fans for a change. The tanking sales on NINO should be telling you something – and it’s not that it would make a great little Disney movie for the kiddies. Mr. Perlmutter – does Disney really want to send the message that child soldiers are a good idea (especially when the UN is in the process of condemning child combatants as internationally immoral)?
On the up side, Medina’s art is impressive as are Curiel’s colors. The art and colors are the most interesting thing about the book as usual. And Medina’s rendering of NINO makes him look slightly less ridiculous wearing the uniform of a soldier.
What can be said about the letters page that can’t be said of any annoying used car sales pitch on any late night TV commercial? Editor (and I use the term loosely) Stephen Wacker even has the audacity to claim he’s a Rich Rider fan. He certainly has a funny way of showing it when he’s not blowing smoke on the NINO letters page. I remember innumerable instances where he’s posted derogatory comments about Rich Rider and Rich Rider fans at a certain website (that shall remain nameless – wink -) that caters to fawning, undeserved praise of NINO and quashes any dissent.
So save your money on this one guys. It’s really not worth adding to anybody’s collection. You saw this same story with Peter Parker and Flash Thompson back in the day. No need to read it again. If you want that – go back and read Peter Parker and Flash Thompson. Those were better told stories.
At the end of the issue, NINO asks, “Who needs a hero?” The answer is, “We do. And it’s not you, NINO!”