With the release of NINO #25 on Christmas Eve, Marvel has essentially dropped a lump of coal into everyone’s Christmas stocking.
The entire run of this series has been characterized by insipid, implausible, intelligence-insulting stories aimed at the pre-pubescent mentality combined with absolute contempt for the Nova mythos, legacy, and long-term fans – but this issue takes all of those deplorable characteristics to new levels.
Apparently (the real) Captain America has become demented with the loss of his powers as he actually inducts the little “idiot” (Loeb’s own description of the character he created) into The Avengers. Really? Bad enough that NINO’s parents are unfit – but are The Avengers now a deliberate, official accessory to child endangerment? Apparently so. Maybe government regulation of The Avengers wasn’t such a bad idea after all – as Child Protective Services sure needs to investigate this decision.
Of course, Duggan continues to demonstrate his lack of awareness of and/or his contempt for Nova continuity by completely ignoring the healing factor inherent in possessing Nova powers – as NINO is (unconvincingly) portrayed as suffering from numerous contusions, abrasions, fractures, and cognitive deficits – injuries that should be long healed by a Nova’s healing factor. But then again, NINO isn’t a true Nova – so maybe there’s hope for a rapid and (hopefully) fatal decline in his condition.
This double-sized issue does little more than double-down on the whopping case of stupid that surrounds and pervades the NINO concept. For some unknown reason, Marvel seems intent on shoehorning the little idiot into everything they possibly can – and despite their unprecedented marketing efforts and sales gimmicks – NINO still is unable to crack the top 100 in sales. That spells “failure of concept,” Mr. Brevoort.
Duggan’s story plods along with the thoroughly un-interesting minutiae of NINO’s everyday life and thoroughly implausible Avengers induction until the end when NINO saves the day in an utterly contrived plane crash situation clearly added to provide some kind of action to this otherwise utter waste of color glossy paper.
Baldeon’s cartoonish art is the perfect choice for a book aimed at the Archie Comics crowd of buyers. Baldeon’s portrayal of NINO in his manga-uniform makes NINO appear exactly what he is – an annoying kid playing “dress-up as a Power Ranger.” Curiel’s colors are perfect as usual – but this book is a waste of his talents.
This issue begins with NINO asking himself how he stacks up against his predecessors. I have the answer to that question, NINO (and Duggan). You don’t stack up. You’re a bad concept made for all the wrong reasons and you’re written poorly. You’re an insult to the Nova legacy, mythos, and long-term fans. In every way, you’re a Nova In Name Only.
So take this lump of coal in your Christmas stocking and do what you’d normally do with a lump of coal. Burn it. Better yet – leave it on the shelf to send Marvel a clear message that NINO is unacceptable. Let’s make 2015 the year that we end NINO once and for all.