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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Falling in Love with a New Nova: Part 2

Jesse Alexander once lived an extraordinary life as a member of the interstellar Nova Corps. Those days are long behind him now. But he gave them up to marry the woman he loved, and raise a family. So he should be happy and fulfilled, right?


In time, Jesse's wife gives him two children, a son named Sam, and a younger daughter named Kaelynn. As they grow up, he tells them stories of his former life in the Nova Corps. But his simple life in Carefree, Arizona, working as a janitor at the local high school, leaves him depressed. Although he loves his wife and children, he looks to alcohol to fill the void in his life. This leaves Sam, now attending high school, to clean up after him, finish the janitorial duties, and help him get back home, where he can sleep off his drunkenness. 

Sadly, this doesn't leave Sam with a positive impression of his father. It also makes things hard on him at school, as stories about his father's drunkenness, and Sam's need to occasionally clean the toilets, lead the bullies to pick on him. Sam begins to believe his father's adventures in the Nova Corps were just tall tales, nothing more. Then one night, his father disappears, and Sam finds a black helmet in the garage. When he puts it on, it grants him incredible powers. Soon two members of the Guardians of the Galaxy show up--green-skinned Gamora, and Rocket Raccoon--and they train him in his new powers. From there, Sam Alexander begins his triple-life: trying to be a normal high school student, helping his mother keep the family afloat without his father's salary, and saving the Earth, again and again, from all kinds of despicable intergalactic villains.

After reading Issue 1, we abandoned the discount racks, threw caution (and fiscal wisdom?) to the interstellar winds, and dived in, picking up any remaining issues we could lay my hands on at normal retail prices. In short order, we had procured nearly all the issues of this 31 issue run. Now we've been reading through Nova's journeys again, this time in order. I've just read issue 28 again (for the third or fourth time), the one that coincides with the Black Vortex storyline. Sam has gotten hold of the Black Vortex, and he needs to keep its location a secret, until his superhero friends contact him to tell him where he should transport it. So naturally, he takes it home, and drapes a sheet over it in his bedroom. 

It's not long before one of the parties trying to gain possession of the Black Vortex is the Collector, who tried to procure one of the immensely powerful infinity stones in the recent Guardians of the Galaxy movie. In Nova issue 28 he drops by Earth, and offers Sam's mother gold, jewels, and unimaginable riches, if only she will sell him this precious artifact. 

So it's back into space for Sam, as he tries to hide the Black Vortex from those who yearn for the power it could grant them. His efforts are valiant, but he fails to keep the Black Vortex from one particular villain, who intends to use it to use it to kill his enemies, and destroy entire worlds. Still, at least he resists temptation, and doesn't let it transform him into an ultimate version of himself. As he puts it, every gift comes with a price, and he already has enough power. It's up to him to use the power he already has to do the most good he can.

I've tried to parcel them out, and limit them to no more than one issue per day, because...well, because I don't want my adventures with Sam to end. Other writers picked up Sam's story after Jeph Loeb's five issue run, and they kept me just as interested in Sam's everyday life, and his superhero adventures for twenty-six additional issues. Like most Marvel titles, Nova ceased publication this summer to make way for the huge Secret Wars crossover event, as well as all the associated spinoff titles. After reading issue 28, some big questions remain. Will Sam find his father? Will he be able to return Jesse to Earth? What will happen to his family after such a joyous reunion? Could he continued his own career as Nova, and a probationary member of the Avengers, assuming that occurs? I hope the last three issues will address some of those questions. To learn the rest of the answers, and to keep experiencing the thrills, adventure, and happiness this series has given me, I suspect I will have to submit to the temptation of the immensely powerful Nova series on an ongoing, monthly basis, once Marvel's Secret Wars crossover event finishes, and Nova restarts in November.

But then, as Sam would say, every gift comes with a price, right?

Dragon Dave

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