Nova (2016) #2 Review

Written by Jeff Loveness and Ramon Perez
Art by Ramon Perez
Colours by Ian Herring

So y’know how I was really, really excited for this series based on the first issue alone? And how I really liked the juxtaposition of Richard Rider and Sam Alexander’s lives? And how I thought they could have a great dynamic going? Well… this comic is now one of the highlights of my month. Nova #2 follows up on all of that in a great way and establishes a fun, but also touching relationship between the two Novas, while also giving both of them their time to shine. And of course, it’s really funny too.

Jeff Loveness and Ramon Perez write Richard Rider’s return in a great way. While it would’ve been so easy to just write a return where Richard is welcomed back by the superhero community, and have a cute moment with Sam where he says the kid held the mantle well, Loveness and Perez go a different route, one that keeps from unnecessary character shilling. In fact, the writers even have a bit of fun with Richard Rider fans, while not outright insulting them like other, lesser writers sometimes do in similar circumstances. In a way that invokes scenes from Richard’s return to Earth after the first Civil War, Richard finds that he’s more than a little disconnected from what’s been going on with Earth’s superheroes. The heroes were infighting once again (Civil War II). Nobody knows about his heroic deeds in space. He doesn’t even know any of the new generation of heroes. But Sam does try to get help him settle in, and it’s just sweet. Things like bringing Rich to a family reunion, or going for a fly through space together — where everyone knows what Richard sacrificed — help to build their relationship. It’s just a good way to write Richard’s return without shilling him, and the fact that his feelings of disconnectedness from Earth are done with a lot of humour help from making this series too depressing or angry feeling.

1
Yeah… O5 Scott is pretty stupid…

 

Meanwhile, Sam Alexander is still struggling to adapt to hero life, while also learning about this Nova who preceded him and all his heroic deeds on the cosmic side of things. Sam has a more fun life, where his family, even random uncles, are all supportive of his being Nova, and I really love that. You get a real sense of family from his scenes, and while the kid isn’t too good at managing superhero life and puberty, he’s got good support. But he also still doesn’t know how to approach girls, something Richard notices, and is still an awkward teen. And he obviously feels a bit out of the loop and maybe even inadequate when characters in space hold Richard in such high regard. Sam’s scenes and problems are cute and are relatable to a teenager, and Loveness and Ramon inject enough humour into his scenes, with Richard jabbing at him enough, that it doesn’t feel too melodramatic or disconnected from their relationship.

There’s some actual plot stuff, like the thing Richard brought back from the Cancerverse is in fact an actual physical threat, as opposed to some psychological threat. But it’s not that important in the grand scheme of things, and barely appears. There’s also a hint that Richard knows more about it, but it doesn’t feel like he’s being malicious or anything. Also, some stuff that happens on the last page introduces a new plot thread, though I doubt it will be that major, and will mostly serve to allow Rich and Sam to bond some more. That’s really what this series is about and excels at anyway, and an overly complex or intrusive plot would just take away from what is just an incredibly well-written relationship. While there were a few panels where things flowed a bit strangely, they were few and far between, and don’t really subtract from how good the writing is here.

2
That is one well-drawn abomination right there.

Ramon Perez and Ian Herring also make sure the comic is just nice to look out. Perez is still great with faces, knowing when a scene calls for subtlety and when it doesn’t. He’s also pretty good with the more exotic scenes, like the eldritch abomination Richard brought back from space, or Knowhere. He’s also very versatile, with some great detail on said abomination, as well as on Richard’s “zombie vision”, while keeping things cartoony. Herring colours everything beautifully, with bright neon colours when the space stuff goes down and more subdued colouring in the more grounded scenes.

Jeff Loveness and Ramon Perez’s Nova #2 is another great issue in what’s shaping up to be an amazing series. The writers really get the appeal of both characters, and are able to write them incredibly well while knowing how to use humour to keep from being too serious. The relationship and juxtaposition of the two Novas makes this a series that fans of either character, or just well-written comics in general, shouldn’t miss.

4.5/5 – Great

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