This issue reaches a new low.
Bad enough that NINO’s parents criminally allow a 14-year-old boy to keep the “magic helmet” and actually use vast powers which he is not in any way trained to use, but in this issue his mother encourages him to engage in kill-or-be-killed combat. Even Vance Astrovik points this out in the course of the story. As Vance says, it’s a crime to aid and abet a minor in such an activity.
Is that the message Marvel and Disney really want to be sending to the pre-pubescent crowd at whom this comic book is aimed?
And, of course, in order to “win” the fight with a vastly superior foe, NINO has to dishonorably break his word and cheat. Pathetic. The antagonist repeatedly points out that NINO is an embarrassment to the Nova Corps. I must agree. All he does is cheat and blunder his way through every situation. It seems that Wacker, Loeb, Brevoort, Alonso and Bendis are hell-bent on turning the Nova Corps into the “Keystone Cops” of the universe – a slapstick farce of a para-military organization rather than a force to be reckoned with. It’s sad, really, how misguided Marvel Editorial has become with their re-boot of cosmic. And of course, they just double-down with their misguidedness: ignoring fan feedback and arrogantly producing a cover for NINO’s next issue that deliberately mocks and insults the long term true Rich Rider Nova fans.
And what’s with this issue's cover? It has absolutely nothing to do with anything that happens in the issue. All it did was get my hopes up for a few seconds that NINO would see his well-deserved demise. Sadly, he survives and the interesting antagonist is unfairly punished.
Justice and Speedball are so written out of character as to be essentially un-recognizable. They’ve both been regressed in age, experience, and maturity to slap-sticky characters on par with NINO, and they just stand around and don’t do much of anything but make a silly comment on occasion. That's a shame to completely ignore Vance’s maturation from his time with The Avengers and Robbie’s maturation during his time as Penance with the Dark Avengers.
Once again, Marvel Editorial makes a bad call with the direction in which to take these characters. This is no doubt a telegraphing of the tone and target audience of the upcoming New Warriors series – silly slapstick aimed at the pre-pubescent crowd.
The art and coloring have been the saving graces of past issues of this waste of a series, but even the art and coloring have begun to slip – resembling the cartoonish style from the Ultimate Spiderman cartoon. And don’t get me started on the misspells and grammatical errors. I guess Wacker was too busy insulting and denigrating Rich Rider Nova fans on the message boards to actually proof-read this issue.
If you see this train wreck that is NINO on the shelves of your local comic shop – do yourself, your bank account, and Nova fandom a big favor and leave it there. Vote with your dollars and send a message to Wacker, Brevoort, Bendis, Alonso and Loeb that you don’t like the hack-job they’ve perpetrated against cosmic.