Sam Alexander has been the only Nova since the death of Richard Rider in the conclusion of Thanos Imperative. The era of solo-Sam was pretty great overall, but that era has come to an end – Richard Rider is back!
Nova #1 picks up where the last series left off, with Richard showing up at his mom’s house alive. While Rider catches up on what he missed while being dead, Sam is up to his regular struggle of balancing life as a teenage superhero. Having just quit the Avengers and forming Champions with his fellow teenage heroes, Sam is in particularly confusing times. And Richie Rider is in a similarly confusing place due to after effects of being resurrected.
This series gets off to a great start and both Novas are represented flawlessly without crowding each other. Sam is legitimately hilarious in this issue, from his space adventure with “goatee planet” to his failed attempts at speaking with the new girl at school. Richard is given even more emotional drama to handle before finally putting his helmet back on.
Both characters clearly hold their own, but the real test will be the chemistry between them once they inevitably join forces. Sam racing towards Richard, thinking it may be his father, only to find his predecessor struggling to cope with his own resurrection has the makings of a truly great Nova story.
Nova #1 is as fun visually as its narratively. Ramon Perez seems to have tapped a creative vein in just the right way. The panels of Sam nervously approaching the new girl are an absolute joy. When Richard finally dons his Nova helmet and goes for a ride, that smirk he gives is well earned satisfaction. With the two Novas being tonally different, it was no easy task to find a happy medium as far as art approach but this was smooth and looks great.
Sam Alexander is a great Nova, but the greatest will always be Rich Rider. The two of them together is a dream come true and this is positively an example of Marvel having its cake and eating it too. Nova #1 could have have been a forced affair, but this issue will leave readers with exactly what they want: the best of both worlds at once. Hopefully, this series builds on what was established here and can become one of Marvel’s strongest titles.