April 18, 2010

Marvel Snapshot: Character Spotlight: Nova (Richard Rider)

Welcome back to my little column known as Marvel Snapshot! This week I’ll be featuring Richard Rider, A.K.A. Nova. This character was created a long time ago, then fell off the map for a while, but for the past few years, he has risen up to become one of Marvel’s prominent cosmic heroes. I’ll give you a little background as usual, but focus mainly on what he’s done recently and where it looks like he’s heading.

Richard Rider has been around since 1976, believe it or not. Marv Wolfman and Len Wein created him to be a sort of Peter Parker/Spider-Man wanna-be. He actually had his own series that ran for 25 issues in the 70s. He went MIA for a while until being dug up by Night Thrasher to join the New Warriors. He really didn’t shine for many years later. Marvel’s cosmic scene needed a jump-start, and boy did they get it in the form of Annihilation! This was Nova’s chance to show the universe his talents, and he didn’t disappoint.

Just some quick notes before we go on. Yes, the Nova Corps which Richard belongs to is basically a rip-off of the Green Lantern Corps. There are a lot of similarities beginning with the source of their power. The Nova Corps has a Nova Force, that gives them the invulnerability, flight, etc. The Nova Corps also has the Worldmind. The Worldmind is basically a sentient computer that has all of Xandar’s knowledge inside of it. This includes information about every world and every person a Xandarian has come into contact with. Yeah, it’s pretty helpful in a fight or investigation. The biggest similarity though, is that both of these Corps are basically cosmic police forces that have sectors to patrol and keep everything peaceful.

OK, so now onto Nova’s recent activity. In Annihilation, the home-world to the Nova Force, Xandar, is completely destroyed along with every Nova Centurion, except Rider. He goes deep into the planet and discovers the Worldmind. He downloads it and gains all the power of the Nova Force and its unique knowledge of the universe. He then gathers together a band of cosmic heroes to fight against Annihilus. They have some success, but are eventually turned away. Rider then comes up with a plan to send in a small group that can penetrate Annihilus’ defenses easier. Nova then fights Annihilus one on one, and with the immense power that Richard is now in control of (The Nova Force), he tears Annihilus apart and Annihilus appears to be dead (but we know better since he’s already made an appearance in the Negative Zone, and hey, who ever stays dead right?). Annihilus is a great cosmic bad guy and will definitely threaten the universe again!

Next, in Annihilation Conquest, Nova and some of the other cosmic heroes (Gamora, Drax) get infected by the Phalanx, who are trying to take over the universe. This fantastic story shows great action scenes, and a lot of Nova’s romantic side with his relationship with Gamora. She basically seduces him and that’s how he gets infected. The Worldmind however, along with the help of Warlock (Technarchy) and his son, are able to purge the Transmode virus from Nova and the others. Eventually, Nova and his team go to Hala (the Kree home-world) where Ultron is leading the the Phalanx forces and stop him, and also free the captive Peter Quill (Starlord). There was also a quick story in Secret Invasion about the Skrulls trying to infiltrate Project Pegasus to steal the technology and weaponry housed there. Nova and Darkhawk, along with the aid of Quasar, repel the Skrulls and all is well.

Unknown to Rider, the Worldmind has started to recruit new members into the Nova Corps, and its numbers are growing. At the end of Secret Invasion, we see Nova acquire the Quantum bands and become the new Quasar as well. This helps with his fight against Ego the living planet. Ego has tricked the Corps into thinking that Worldmind recruited him to help, but actually he has taken over Worldmind to help his own conquests. Nova is aided by the spirit or essence of the former Quasar, Wendell Vaughn, in this battle. The two figure out that Ego’s power of cosmic awareness is to great for them to sneak up on him, so they create duplicates of Nova to distract Ego and get inside his mind. Nova then returns the Quantum Bands to Wendell, who then lobotomizes Ego.

Recently, Nova has come to battle his nemesis the Sphinx once again. This time in the notorious Fault. The Sphinx has kidnapped Mr. Fantastic, Black Bolt, and Namorita. Nova manages to stop the Sphinx and restore everything to its rightful place, but upon returning to Earth, he realizes he’s only been gone five minutes. He also has to deal with the “Quasar” that emerged from the Fault. In the Fault, it appears that there are alternate versions of Earth’s heroes, and they are villains.

Well, that’s just about up to current continuity for Nova. I really dug Annihilation, and even the tie-in to Secret Invasion to be honest. It wasn’t all that awesome, but it did show some great fight scenes, and also showed Richard’s relationship with his brother as well. This is a great character for Marvel, especially in the cosmic scene. Hopefully they will continue to show more and  more of Nova. I’m pretty sure he is going to play a part in the upcoming Thanos Imperative story line, so don’t miss it!

Suggested Reading
Nova vol. 1 (1976)
New Warriors vol. 1 (1990)
Annihilation (2006)
Annnihilation Conquest (2007)
Nova vol. 4 (2007-current)

Billy Dunleavy



  1. Jeff Jackson

    I love all the original New Warriors. That was one of the only non-Xbooks I read in the ’90s regularly. I loved Nova back then.

  2. Billy

    @Jeff- I liked the fact that the book never got “too big”. It just kind of took place regardless of what was going on elsewhere. Good group of eclectic characters. (Whatever that means) 😉

  3. I actually didn’t like Nova until his recent relaunch and I was pretty amazed at how much improved the character has become IMO since he comeback.

  4. Billy

    @Speech- Yeah, He was OK in New Warriors, but is definitely a lot better character since Annihilation.

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