Review: Nova #4 (Loeb & McGuinness)


Hear those wails of agony when you open issue #4? It’s the sound of Wolfman, Abnett, Lanning, Giffen, and everyone else who has ever written a good Nova story screaming their rage at what has been done to the Nova concepts. You don’t hear Loeb’s voice because he’s never written a Nova story. He’s only written bad NINO stories – and issue #4 continues that sad trend.

Remember when Star Trek fans hated Wesley Crusher because he detracted from the adult orientation of the show? Some writers just couldn’t resist the cutesy, silly, child oriented, hackneyed writing device where Wesley was smarter than all the adults, wiser than all the adults even though he had no actual experience/training, and “saved the ship” while all the experienced adults just fell all over themselves lost in their own incompetence. Yes, that only happened in a couple of episodes – mainly because fans loudly expressed their outrage about being talked down to and refused to accept the degradation or juvenilization of the concepts that made Star Trek great. Thanks to fan rejection, Wesley was eventually written out of the show. Too bad comic book fans won’t demand the same quality Star Trek fans demanded when faced with a similar situation.

Enter Loeb’s NINO to “Wesley Crusher-ize” the Nova concepts (thus the figurative screaming of all the writers who wrote Nova well in the past). Unfortunately, NINO survived the blast from the Chitauri warship that concluded issue #3. He was just “playing possum” to fool the lamest villains in the cosmic rogue’s gallery. After being inspired to attack the lead warship by his experiences playing video games and watching Star Wars (I’m not being sarcastic here – this is actually part of the little twerp’s “reasoning”), NINO is captured by fallen Black Nova, Titus, who is now in league with the Chitauri. Together, Titus and the Chitauri have managed to construct an Ultimate Nullifier and for some reason they want to use it on Earth. I guess they didn’t read the part of the instruction manual where the user is destroyed, too? Anyway – Titus explains how all the Black Novas were killed, NINO outsmarts Titus and grabs the nullifier, then stupidly takes the nullifier back to Earth and hides it in a garbage can outside his home. Of course, Titus follows and threatens to kill everybody NINO holds dear. We’re promised that the story will be concluded next issue. If only that meant that next issue would be the last ever – we could all stop screaming in agony. Sadly, there will be more NINO to further sully the Nova concepts and legacy.

Just when I thought this storyline couldn’t possibly get any more silly and child-oriented – Loeb ups the level of stupid juvenility and proves me wrong. Leaving aside the implausibility, recklessness, and immorality of sending an untrained and inexperienced 15-year-old child into kill-or-be-killed combat, how is it that NINO is able to fool and overpower an experienced Black Nova like Titus? Why would NINO bring an Ultimate Nullifier back to Earth where it could be used to destroy the planet rather than take it into deep space and destroy it? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

And speaking of stupid – why would Loeb kill off the only compelling characters he has created in this sorry excuse for a cosmic comic book? The Black Nova Corps was really the only partially interesting and innovative thing about Loeb’s hijacking of the Nova legacy and concepts. He kills all of them in this issue. What a stupid decision. But, of course, the “architects” mistakenly believe that “Nova” works best as a Spiderman-ish powered-down angsty teenage “Lone Ranger” flying around Long Island and hanging out with Daredevil.

Yup – I said Daredevil. “Cosmic” is now to visit Hell’s Kitchen – reduced to as street level as you can get. Editor Stephen Wacker thinks that a NINO and Daredevil team-up would be a grand idea as he falls all over himself in the letters page pretending like that (wink) “fan-suggested” story idea wasn’t already in the works. Wacker then condescendingly dismisses another fan’s complaint about alienation of the established Rider Nova fan base as essentially fanboy whining. This from an editor who regularly appears on forums to insult and otherwise antagonize the Rider Nova fan base. Here’s another idea Wacker: Team NINO with Casper the Friendly Ghost. Maybe do a cross-over with Archie and Jughead, too. That would help capture the demographic you’re aiming for with NINO wouldn’t it?

Of course, McGuinness’ art and Gracia’s coloring remain at their expected first-rate level. The art and coloring are really the only interesting thing about this book. The storyline is just hackneyed child-oriented fantasy that you’ve seen in other comic books many times in the past. So save your money and avoid this sad degradation of the once great Marvel Cosmic line. Vote with your dollars and bring this cutesy, child-oriented, insultingly bad book to its deserved end. That’s the only way to show the “architects” how wrong they are. Let’s show the “architects” that we want a mature, powerful, badass Rich Rider Nova continuing the Nova legacy – not a silly, cutesy, angsty, immature, annoying little twerp sullying the Nova legacy.

Let’s show them that we want Nova – not NINO.