McGuinness' art and Gracia's coloring are magnificent to behold.
Too bad they're connected to a book that is so poorly conceptualized and written.
Despite the massive hype Marvel has thrown behind this book, it fails to deliver at nearly every level. First, let's consider the storyline. Calling it hackneyed would be a compliment; angst filled, misunderstood, yet well-meaning 15-year-old boy has family troubles, girl troubles, school troubles, and is the victim of bullying. He copes by developing a cocky attitude and dreams of leaving his small town for something better. Then one day he accidentally acquires superpowers. Ever read that story before? Tired of it? Yeah – me too.
Now, I did qualify my criticism by saying the storyline failed at nearly every level. There were a few pages of interest; specifically, there were nine pages about a secret Black-ops division of the Nova Corps. Those pages were interesting. If the book was about this Black-ops division of the Nova Corps (and had the Black-ops story been more respectfully written), I might have actually enjoyed the book and been interested in adding it to my pull list.
It isn't about the Black-ops division of the Nova Corps.
And that brings us to one of the many major failings of the book – characterization.
The book is about a thoroughly unlikable teenager named Sam Alexander who has been named "the next Peter Parker" by Marvel EIC, Axel Alonso. I don't know about the rest of you, but I think one Peter Parker is enough. Why cheapen the original Peter Parker and weaken a new character by cloning teen Parker's personality and putting it in a new body? Sam versus Moffett is no different than Peter versus Flash. Sam losing Jesse is no different than Peter losing Uncle Ben. We already know that character type and what happens next in his personality development. Why do we have to go over it again? Has the "House of Ideas" become so bereft of new ideas that it is resorting to re-treading characters in vain attempts to re-create past successes?
Conceptually, the book is a total failure - and worse - an outright insult to Rider Nova fans. Let's start with the Black-ops storyline. It contains at least one glaring inaccuracy in continuity and timeline. At the time when Jesse was a Black Nova, the Guardians of the Galaxy with Rocket and Gamora as members had not yet been formed. There are also several condescending little comments about "Gold Domes" and about Jesse having been the greatest human Nova. Think about how hollow all the words from Loeb, Bendis, et al seem when the dialogue of their characters belies the professed "respect" they have for the legacy of Rich Rider and his fans.
As much as I dislike the book’s editor, Stephen Wacker, at least he's honest about his antipathy toward Richard Rider Nova fans who object to Sam Alexander, and he regularly invites potential customers to boycott the book if they don't like the hack-job that has been done to the concepts. You can read that for yourself on any forum page where he regularly posts insults to ardent fans. In contrast, Loeb, Bendis, Brevoort, and Alonso fall all over themselves pretending like they respect the Rider Nova fans and the legacy of the Rich Rider character in attempts to convince long term Rider Nova fans to buy the book – yet the very act of producing this "Nova in Name Only" (hereinafter abbreviated as NINO) book shows how little they truly respect the Rider Nova fans.
Save your money on this one guys – and join me in boycotting this book. Encourage all your friends to boycott it, too. It's not worth a penny of your hard-earned money, and the sooner it fails the better. It's an insult to cosmic and to true Richard Rider Nova fans. I was offered a free copy of this book, and I wouldn't even accept a free copy as I won't have NINO sullying my collection of true Rider Nova comic books.
Rating: one star (because the art is the only good thing about the book)
Written by: Timelord