Comic Book News Marvel

Review: NINO #31

Happy Day!  This trash book is finally over!  It can now be relegated to the dust bin where it and other bad memories belong.  Hopefully, Brevoort and Alonso will join it there when their Secret Wars event flops.

The art is particularly bad this issue.  I have always hated this Manga-ized version of the Nova uniform, but NINO looks particularly stupid in it this issue.  In some panels, his neck is the size of a pencil.  When his helmet is off, he has Dumbo-sized ears.  I guess that’s the source of his flight powers.

The story is just as dumb as always with NINO improbably beating a much more powerful and experienced fighter after his actions place Earth in danger.  I, as always, was rooting for the villain.  The perfect ending to this story would’ve been NINO’s death.  Sadly, he survives.  And his unfit parents look to be letting him continue to wear the helmet.  Hey Marvel, this isn’t entertainment.  It’s a tragic example of why kids shouldn’t have super-powers and shouldn’t be soldiers/cops – and why unfit parents shouldn’t have kids.  Not to mention an example of why Duggan shouldn’t be allowed to write cosmic.

Rocket Racoon and Beta Ray Bill have cameos in this issue – showing up just in time to keep NINO’s screw-up from laying waste to Earth.  Yet literally thousands of fairly large asteroids are shown left circling Earth – with no indication that NINO actually cleaned any of them up.  Irresponsible?  I guess anyone can be made an Avenger these days.   At least NINO’s upcoming Avenger book will have a short life span.  Maybe after that, Marvel will give up on this failed experiment.

NINO’s gone, and good riddance to him and his fans.  It’s been too long in coming and he won’t be missed.  Leave this one on the shelf.  Nothing to see here.  And the last issue needs to go out selling less than 18K to ice the NINO failure cake and send Marvel a clear message:  No more NINO’s!

Review: Secret Wars: Infinity Gauntlet (In Name Only) #1
Comic Book News Marvel

Review: Secret Wars: Infinity Gauntlet (In Name Only) #1



An Opinion-Editorially Oriented Review


First off, don’t believe the hype for this book being shoveled high and deep by Marvel shill websites like CBR and IGN.  This book is really just another showcase for Duggan’s un-originality and an opportunity for Marvel to answer all the media criticism about females and racial minorities being in short supply in their universe with yet another replacement of an established superhero with someone with politically correct demographics.

Duggan freely admits that he blatantly re-packaged teen Spiderman tropes for his excruciatingly bad NINO series which thankfully and mercifully ended this week.  For Infinity Gauntlet in Name Only (hereinafter referred to as IGINO), he simply begins with the tired old “Lone Ranger” cliché that has too often been applied to the Nova concepts, adds a Good Times-like family with all the desired PC demographics as the protagonists of the story, inferiorly re-packages the Annihilation Prologue storyline, and throws all this into a War of the Worlds type setting with a raggedy-looking Thanos skulking around in the background looking for Infinity Stone fragments as the only real tie to the namesake of this storyline – Marvel’s best pre-Annihilation cosmic story, Starlin’s original The Infinity Gauntlet.  Given all that, I’d have to conclude that Duggan has replaced Bendys as the King of Hackery.  He’s obviously poorly versed in Science-Fiction and it shows.  He simply re-packages concepts from popular SF-oriented comic books, TV, and movies – and produces something vastly inferior to the original.

Frankly, I’m tired of all the PC nonsense.  All this howling in the mainstream media is mainly directed toward the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is primarily coming from critics who don’t buy and read comic books.   If there really is a comic book market of buyers eager to buy books about female and racial minority heroes, it isn’t evident if sales history is used as a measure.  She-Hulk, Spider-Girl, Spiderwoman, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Falcon, etc. have all had multiple re-launched books and have never really been able to stay above cancellation threshold for very long.  Sure – some of them were kept on life-support for a while.  But none of them have had real staying power.  I give credit to Marvel for trying.  But if the buyers aren’t there, they aren’t there.

What annoys me is when Marvel cheats and takes the lazy (and racist and/or sexist in its own way) path out.  Instead of taking the risk and creating new characters with PC demographics from scratch and trying to make them compelling enough to catch on with the general population of comic buyers, they, in a form of reverse racism/sexism, replace beloved white male superheroes who already have a large following with female and/or racial minority characters knowing that the buyers will continue to buy the books they habitually buy for a while – all the while knowing in the back of their minds that the originals will return.  Does anyone really believe that Thor Odinson and Steve Rogers won’t return to their respective roles of Thor and Captain America once the PC characters now filling their shoes wear out their welcome?  Of course not.   Marvel doesn’t want to lose those habitual buyers.  The exception to this rule appears to be Richard Rider’s Nova.  For some reason, Marvel doesn’t care about alienating his fan base, and Marvel Writers and Editors go out of their way to insult and denigrate his fan base.

First we’ve had Loeb’s truly pathetically bad half-Xandarian-half-Hispanic teen idiot, Sam Alexander, as Rich’s permanent replacement.  Now comes Black Female teenage Xandarian, Anwen Bakian, and her family – including a salty old grandpa and a dog.  Could you get more PC than this?  I think not.  And the zombies and the small minority of PC-lovers are standing in line to drink this Guyana Kool-Aid.  Of course, I fully expect to be viciously attacked by the PC-Police with their Ferguson-Missouri-Police tactics merely for expressing these views.

Let’s talk about how clichéd and dumb this IGINO concept and storyline are in the first place.  How many times have you seen this kind of chase and narrow escape scenario?  In just about every monster movie you’ve ever seen, right?  How many times on how many TV shows have you seen a grandpa and son-in-law argument such as presented in this book?  On how many dumb child-oriented TV shows are the teenagers and children portrayed as wiser, smarter, and braver than the adults?  And how stupid is that anyway?  I’ve got no problem with there being dark-skinned Xandarians.  I do have a problem with there being a dog on Xandar.  Why is there a German Shepherd dog on Xandar?  I have no problem with a dark-skinned adult female Nova Corpsman.  I have a problem with the entire family getting Nova powers.  Once again, Marvel is going down the immoral child soldier pathway.  And I have a huge problem with Anwen being the next in line as Rich’s replacement.  I suppose the dog will also get powers – or more likely, since Duggan can’t resist a good cliché, the dog will die a tragic, heroic death since none of the principals except maybe dad or grandpa will get killed.  Why is Thanos skulking around in the background?  He’s not that kind of guy.  He’s a lot more powerful than the bugs and Anwen’s mom.  Why doesn’t he just stride in and take the stones he’s looking for?  Also, why do we need another NINO type book aimed at children?  Wasn’t the original NINO experiment a big enough failure? This book is hardly original or of high quality – unless you have the deficient mentality of a CBR/IGN reviewer or a CBR forum regular or one of the chronic complainers who show up on Facebook to take issue with me.  In that case, you probably think it’s wonderful as you wash it down with the rest of your Pablum.

Weaver’s art is decent for most of the book.  At times – such as the underground scene and some of the chase scenes – it’s muddled and confusing.  But for the most part, it’s well done.  It’s not enough to save this book – but it keeps the book from being a total waste of paper.

So, my advice, particularly if you’re a Rich Rider Nova fan, is to vote with your dollars and boycott this Politically Correct NINO-ette (hereinafter referred to as PC-NINO-ette).  Marvel needs to be slapped down for disrespecting the Rider Nova fans once again, for disrespecting the Annihilation and The Infinity Gauntlet source material, and for producing this PC-NINO-ette disgusting, hackneyed trash.  Making this book a sales failure is a good way to do it.

Comic Book News Marvel

NINO #30 Review & PC Op-ed

An Opinion-Editorial Oriented Review Decrying Political Correctness in Comic Books


Duggan, like Bendis, has no real understanding of science-fiction.   They both just rip-off plot and action elements from popular cinema and televised science-fiction and science-fantasy.  This issue, Duggan copies some elements from Babylon 5 and Deep Impact to make yet another thoroughly insipid and totally implausible NINO storyline.

Duggan admits he copies teen Spiderman plot elements from the past, and he likes to take to twitter to talk about what a brave, filled-to-the-brim with integrity kind of guy he is because he resists the harsh criticism leveled at him about NINO and keeps churning out NINO trash.  Hey Duggan, that doesn’t make you brave or full of integrity.   Re-packaging well-worn tropes from comics, cinema, and TV just makes you a hack.

The eye-rolling and stomach-churning moments go hand-in-hand in this issue with Duggan having NINO take on an ultra-powerful and ultra-experienced trained warrior – and of course, totally implausibly winning.  Stupid.  Unbelievable (in a bad way).

Of course, NINO predictably continues to screw up and his screw-ups result in Earth being put in incredible danger from multiple sources including a storm of asteroids heading straight for Earth.  Also, predictably, NINO (just like all the other current cosmic characters) has the Avengers on speed dial to call to save the day because cosmic characters are such buffoons under Bendys, Duggan, Loeb, Brevoort, and Alonso – that all cosmic characters can do is screw-up and place Earth in danger.  They can’t save Earth (or anything else).  Cosmic characters can no longer effectively single-handedly deal with cosmic threats.  They just trigger cosmic threats.  Then they’ve got to call The Avengers or The X-Men for help.  How dumb is that?  Pretty dumb.  But what else do you expect from Bendys, Duggan, Loeb, Brevoort, and Alonso?  They wanted to reduce cosmic to bathroom humor level buffoonery and they succeeded.

The art continues to decline on this deplorable book.  NINO continues to look thoroughly stupid in a poorly designed manga-ish military uniform he never earned in the first place.   It’s actually painful to look at the little idiot.

With sales under 20K despite all the marketing hype, a regular cartoon appearance, and shoehorning the little idiot into every major event, Marvel needs to wake up and declare this trash the failure that it so obviously is.  But that would make too much sense.  Instead, they decided to double-down on the failed formula and do an even more politically correct version of NINO, a PC-NINO-ette as it were.  Out with the half-alien/half-Hispanic male kid and in with the black female kid.  I guess the reasoning was, “If it worked for Ms. Marvel, maybe it’ll work for NINO.”

If you’re a true fan of the original Nova concepts and you’d like to see Rich Rider back in his rightful place, its past time to take action.  Boycott, NINO and PC-NINO-ette.  Send Marvel a clear message that they need to stop replacing beloved classic characters just for the sake of appealing to political correctness in the general population.  The general population could care less about comic books. 

That being said, despite all evidence to the contrary, if Marvel thinks that there really is an enormous demographic of buyers out there just dying to buy books about female, racial minority, religious minority, and sexual orientation-minority characters – then by all means please create such NEW characters from scratch and give them a book.  Let’s have a book about a super-powered, bi-sexual, female, half-Gypsy/half-Pygmy, wheelchair-bound, Shinto priestess who’s seriously considering sex change surgery.   Sounds hilarious.   I might even buy the first issue.  This ultimately PC character would certainly please the “small but vocal” PC crowd (and their PC police force who frequently shoot the rest of us in the back as we try to flee this PC nonsense).  But please, don’t use that ultimate PC character as a replacement for Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Nova, etc.   Live up to your name as the “House of Ideas,” do the courageous/non-lazy thing, and create a brand new character with the demographics you want to capture.  

Comic Book News Marvel

Review: NINO #28

What is wrong with Marvel?

They actually think this “story” about playing “hot potato” with “The Black Vortex” is entertaining?

Silly, yes.  Entertaining, no.  Unless, of course, you’re an easily satisfied zombie who will buy anything and take to the internet to defend it to the end.

It’s just typical Duggan in a typical NINO story.  Screw-up after screw-up that somehow works itself out in the end mostly due to NINO’s dumb luck or another NINO screw-up that fortuitously ends well.  Of course, the requisite cardboard villains written as if they belong in an episode of Scooby-Doo are prominently on display as always.

Of course, Duggan, not satisfied with his appearances on forums to insult Rider fans, has to throw in an insult to Rider fans in the body of the story.  Seriously, if there are any Rider fans still buying this trash, this has to be the final straw for you.  Join the rest of us in the boycott.

This is just another episode of Marvel Cosmic gone horribly wrong.  It isn’t even cosmic, really, as the space setting is just incidental.  It’s just puerile, juvenile trash aimed at 8-year-olds and played as a farce for cheap laughs for chronologically older persons with the mentality of 8-year-olds (aka Marvel Zombies).

The art continues to decline.  Thane’s “googly eyes” turn what is supposed to be the only serious dramatic scene in this ultimately stupid story into yet another Scooby-Doo moment of farce.

Cancellation of this garbage can’t come too soon.  Marvel needs to man up and admit that this experiment has been a total failure.  Unfortunately, Brevoort and Alonso are in charge, so that will never happen.  Like NINO, you can only count on them to do the most stupid thing possible and double-down on the failed formula.  Ladies and gentlemen, prepare for Bonso’s Double-Down:  “Politically Correct NINO-ette (PC-NINO-ette).”   Join us in boycotting her, too.

Comic Book News Marvel

Review: NINO Annual #1

Silly, juvenile, disrespectful of Nova mythos and fans, and un-heroic – this book is everything you’ve come to expect of NINO.

At least NINO admits at various times in the book that he’s stupid and doesn’t know what he’s doing.  That places him in the company of the 19K of zombies still buying this trash.

Of course, Duggan either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that Xandar hasn’t existed as a planet for a long time now.  He blithely sends NINO and the Hulk on a selfish quest to repair NINO’s helmet.  Upon arriving at the somehow re-constituted planet of Xandar, they find a powerful alien who has enslaved the “remaining Xandarians” and is forcing them to perform heavy labor.  Again, Duggan either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that Xandarians are nearly identical to humans as he portrays the Xandarians as very alien.

Do you think NINO and Hulk do the heroic thing and free the Xandarians from slavery or make some attempt to resurrect Xandar?  No.  Hulk temporarily disables the alien slave lord, finds some parts to fix NINO’s helmet, then he and NINO selfishly and un-heroically leave the remaining Xandarians to be re-enslaved.  What a nice thank you to the culture who provided the loser duo of NINO and his dad their powers.  Pathetic.  Immoral.  But that’s why this trash is and ever will be “Nova In Name Only” – because no other being worthy of the uniform would ever behave so selfishly, un-heroically, and utterly disgracefully.

The art and coloring are mediocre with NINO continuing to look ridiculous in his manga-ized version of a Nova uniform.  The art used to at least distract readers from the atrocious writing, but even the art is slipping as this book comes ever closer to its recently announced cancellation date.  Given that NINO is a Loeb vanity project, it’s probably too much to hope that we’ve seen the last of NINO.  I’m not too worried about the upcoming politically correct NINO-ette – as she’ll be DOA.

So good riddance to NINO (and a hoped for quick riddance to PC NINO-ette).  Your final issue can’t come too soon and you won’t be missed.

Comic Book News Marvel

Review: NINO #27

Why doesn’t Marvel just re-name this book Pseudo-Spider-Man Redux or Pseudo-Spider-Man Lite?  Drop NINO, change a couple of supporting characters, substitute a teenage Spidey, and this story would read the same.

Seriously, this tussle with Carnage is the most blatant copycat of a Spidey story yet.  This isn’t Cosmic in any way, shape, or form.  It’s just teen Spider-Man re-told for the umpteenth time.  I realize that that’s the point of this failed experiment – to try to capture Spider-Magic once again.  It’s just a shame that a true Cosmic book with a true, mature, Cosmic hero was replaced by this hackneyed, puerile, juvenile-mentality-oriented nonsense that really belongs in an “all-ages” Spidey book.

I lost interest in Spider-Man in the early 1990’s and have never re-gained a real interest in the character or his rogue’s gallery of villains.   I can’t say I have any particular feelings for the Carnage character – but I like him better than NINO, so I was rooting for him.  Predictably, unfortunately, and un-realistically he fails in his attempt to kill NINO.  Too bad.  I’d like to see NINO 6-feet-under where he belongs.  The story is just a prolonged and predictable fight with a symbiote, pulling out all the predictable moves and tactics for fighting a symbiote.  And it even ends with a predictable Spider-Mannish dropping of the defeated and wrapped-up villain off at Riker’s Island.  Seen that story before?  Yeah, me too.  Yawn.

Since Marvel insists on keeping this book on life support for some as yet unknown reason, they at least need to stop calling it Cosmic.  Cosmic is incidental at best in this book and always has been.  Loeb just lazily usurped the look, powers, and concepts of a better-conceived true Cosmic hero – watered them down for juvenile consumption, and gave them to a Parker-ish teen screw-up.  How many times have you seen that formula?  Too many?  Yeah, me too.

Duggan has ignored the Cosmic elements for the most part, vainly trying to appeal to a non-existent demographic of pre-teen Spider-Fans.  Just as well.  Duggan is clearly not a Cosmic writer or fan – and his forays into Cosmic have been deplorably bad.  He just needs to stick to copy-catting old Spidey stories and finish driving this book well into the teens in sales so Marvel has no choice but to cancel it.  Never fear, though, NINO-zombies – because Duggan won’t take that sound advice and instead has a NINO-ette coming down the pike for you in a totally un-necessary (and doubtlessly frightfully bad) redux of Infinity Gauntlet.  Yeah, since NINO isn’t working, the thing to do is double-down on the failed concept and validate the previously un-true comparisons with GL by creating a Red NINO-ette.  Tell me Duggan, do you have any original ideas?  First you copy-cat original Spidey.  Now you’re going to try to copy-cat Starlin and GL?  And do a Miles Morales treatment of NINO in the process?  I swear, it’s almost funny that Marvel just keeps making bad things worse.

This issue’s cover art is particularly bad.  I’ve always deplored the Manga-fying of the Nova uniform to make NINO, and this cover looks like an image from a cheap video game magnifying all the Kamen Riders and Mega-Man meets Power Rangers rip-offs that are part and parcel of the NINO uniform.  The interior art ranges from sub-average to average at best.  Curiel does a fine job with the colors, but he admittedly has little with which to work and his talents would be better spent on a better book.

If you’re a true Cosmic fan, vote with your dollars and leave this title on the shelf.  Boycott Duggan’s upcoming IG redux, too.  And especially boycott this Black Vortex trash with its hackneyed “absolute power corrupts absolutely” simplistic message that could have been told in one issue and isn’t deserving of an “event.”  Seriously, compare this current fare to Annihilation, Annihilation: Conquest, War of Kings, Realm of Kings, Nova Volume IV, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume II, and Guardians 3000 – books that actually respected the Cosmic concepts and the fans of the Cosmic conceptsThe current “lowest-common-denominator of comics buyer fare” (i.e.  NINO, GotGINO, LSLINO, RRINO) will come up sorely lacking every time.  It’s time we sent Marvel a message that their current “turn Cosmic into a juvenile farce to appeal to the lowest-common-denominator of comic buyer” strategy is a failure.

Comic Book News Marvel

Review: NINO #26

It’s funny that this book was created to capture a desperately desired but near non-existent demographic of buyers aged 12 and under, but has instead really just captured about 20,000 adult-aged comic book buyers who have the mentality of age 12 or under and are slap-happy to be treated to sub-par retellings of tired old comic book tropes.

Duggan is simply not up to the task of telling a truly cosmic story. Instead, he admittedly and shamelessly simply copies teen Spider-Man storylines from days gone by. In this issue, he explores the consequences of NINO unwisely revealing his secret identity to the super-villain, Carnage. The predictable consequences and fight outcome ensue. Yawn.

As usual, I was rooting for the villain. Carnage murdering NINO would have been the optimal (and realistic) outcome, but alas, Marvel has to recoup their excessive and unwise investment in NINO, so he implausibly survives. You’d think this would be the final straw for his mother, whose life is threatened by Carnage. Yet, she implausibly continues to demonstrate that she is in no way fit to raise children as she continues to encourage NINO to risk his life, her life, and the life of NINO’s sister. As I said, it would take a 12 or under mentality to ignore all the implausibility.

When I think of all the truly innovative books that sold about the same as or better than NINO that Marvel could have kept on life-support – such as Incredible Hercules, Young Allies, Nova Volume IV, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume II, Agents of Atlas, to name a few – I just shake my head in disgust that Marvel would continue to pour resources into this unworthy tripe in their thus far vain attempt to force it to be successful. Seriously, only a ComicBookResources reviewer (aka Marvel Shill) could love this book.

We get a brief update on NINO’s unfit father, Jesse, as well. It seems the poor sap is lost in space along with a crew of equally mentally challenged idiots. It seems the idiot apple, NINO, didn’t fall too far from the tree. 

The art has typically been the only saving grace of this book, but as the sales of this book have rightly fallen off the cliff – so has the art. The cover art is amateurish and the interior art is poorly constructed as well. NINO looks less like an annoying 15-year-old character and more like a 20-something-year-old character. Curiel does his typical fine job with colors, but his talents are wasted on this book.

So join most of the rest of the comic book world and leave this book on the shelf. Let’s make 2015 the year NINO bites the dust.

Comic Book News Marvel

Review: NINO Nova #25

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.

Comic Book News Marvel

Review: NINO Nova #23 & 24

In this cliché-filled arc, Duggan has NINO take on Hulk’s Hulk – also known as “Kluh,” and NINO un-believably manages to defeat him with the overdone “shoot the Hulk into space trick.”  How many times have you seen that one?  Too many.  At least Duggan freely admits that he “shamelessly” copies the story ideas of others.  And what does that matter?  The zombies will still buy this book and will take to Facebook and CBR Forums to defend it no matter the poor quality, implausibility, and lack of originality.

At least the annoying little jerk gets the beat-down he deserves and his “magic helmet” gets damaged in the process.  I was rooting for Kluh to put him out of our misery – but, alas and unsurprisingly, Marvel keeps him alive to shoehorn into the next event in their ongoing desperate attempt to force feed NINO to the comic-reading audience at large.  This – despite the fact that all but the zombies have soundly rejected NINO, and the book is well out of the top 100 in sales.

Once again, NINO’s mom won’t be winning any “Mother of the Year” awards as she continues to endanger his life by actually encouraging him to go fight Kluh.  Apparently Duggan doesn’t have a problem with the morality of ongoing child endangerment – or like Brevoort – doesn’t have the courage to actually address the issue even when directly asked.

Then again – Spiderman and (the real) Captain America should know better, too.  They are also complicit in endangering the life of a minor child.  But why should anything in this ongoing travesty of a book make any sense?

The coloring for this arc is overall well done – but the art has been sub-par.  I’ve always hated the manga-inspired uniform, but Baldeon over-emphasizes all the worst qualities of it – making NINO look even more ridiculous than usual in it – more than ever looking like a kid wearing his father’s old military uniform.  The ranking star on the helmet looks like a large glob just plopped onto the front.  Awful.  But the zombies will take to Facebook and CBR Forums to insist that the art is wonderful, too.

But mostly, this book is just an ongoing insult to and diminution of the Nova legacy and concepts.  Perhaps the best way to demonstrate that is in pictorial form:

We’ve gone from this:


To this:


To now this:


Sad.  Pathetic.  Way to go, Marvel.  Keep dishing up this warmed-over gruel and tripe for the zombies – and don’t dare question your bad decision to let Loeb hi-jack the concepts and water them down to the level of My Little Pony.

Thanks, A-Holes.


Now – cue the zombies to take to Facebook and CBR Forums to defend this garbage and hurl insults at me and anyone who agrees with me.

Op-Ed: The Loeb-otomization of Nova
Marvel Comic Book News

Op-Ed: The Loeb-otomization of Nova

The Cosmic Triune

An Opinion-Editorial

“The Lo(e)botomization of Nova”


Lobotomization:  to deprive of intelligence, vitality, or sensitivity.

                                                     -Definition courtesy of Merriam-Webster Dictionary



According to Marvel Editorial, Issue #10 of NINO is the 100-issue mark of “Nova” comic books published.  I dis-respectfully disagree.  I count 90 issues of true Nova comic books and 10 issues of Nova In Name Only comic books.   It’s insulting to equate Nova with NINO in any way, but Marvel Editorial’s whole approach to the Nova fans since the “hiatus” of Volume IV has been insulting.  They frequently talk about Rich and NINO in the same breath as if there’s no difference between the history of the two.  Hey Marvel Editorial – they’re not interchangeable.  Rich was great.  NINO is a farce.  And a sub-standard farce at that.

Sure I know it’s just a marketing gimmick to try to improve the rapidly declining sales of the ongoing insult to and dis-respect of true Nova fans that is NINO, but I think this “occasion” calls for an analysis of how the “creative team” of Loeb, Wacker, Bendis, Brevoort, and Alonso took a good concept and ruined it for all the wrong reasons.  I liken their process of turning Nova into NINO to the above defined dis-credited Neurosurgical procedure of lobotomization as popularly portrayed in such movies as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Sucker Punch – and I refer to their process as “Lo(e)botomization.”


The Deprivation of Intelligence:


Loeb himself has been directly quoted in various articles saying NINO should be written as an “idiot.”  I could stop writing this section directly after such a quote, but I think it’s important to detail how this Lo(e)botomization is made a reality and how it affects fans of the true Nova concepts.

Let’s start with a little Nova history.  In 1976, Rich Rider was created and portrayed as a late teen/young adult struggling to learn how to control and use the powers he had been granted by an emergency deputization.  Finally, in the Annihilation event, he was transformed into a powerful and mature leader of men.  Fans both old and new praised this metamorphosis, and Nova Volume IV became the best Nova series to date with its imaginative, intelligent, action-packed storylines and its new and improved hero.  Of course, it received none of the marketing hype and support that NINO has enjoyed, and it was eventually placed on “hiatus.”  What we didn’t know is that prior to “hiatus” it was apparently decided by Alonso et al to declare Rich “dead” even though Volume IV writers, Abnett and Lanning, have been quoted as saying that in their storyline Rich was never dead but merely temporarily “marooned” in the Cancerverse.  Obviously, Rich was declared “dead via editorial fiat” in order to create room for Loeb’s new “idiot” character, Sam Alexander (aka NINO).

Setting aside Alonso’s disrespect for and disregard of Rich Rider fans for a moment, his decision marks the beginning of the “deprivation of intelligence” aspect of the Lo(e)botomization of Nova.  Loeb immediately created a 14-year-old Peter Parker-ish character (without the Parker intellect), hi-jacked and watered-down the look and concepts of the Nova mythos, eliminated all true cosmic elements by plopping the little “idiot” on Earth in a one-horse town, and set out to appeal to a pre-pubescent audience (and to a small post-pubescent audience who just can’t seem to get enough of hackneyed teen angst storylines) with silly, implausible stories involving the “idiot,” NINO, blundering and cheating his way through every situation.  To say that the NINO storylines are juvenile, puerile, un-imaginative, boring, and intelligence-insulting in comparison to Volume IV would be an understatement.

To make matters worse, Loeb has presented no reason why NINO deserves to have or keep the powers other than that the powers are “inherited” by NINO from his drunken father’s “magic helmet.”  Even worse, 14-year-old NINO has had no training to use powers equivalent to the power of a tactical- nuclear-weapon-carrying fighter jet and is continually put in kill-or-be-killed combat situations with the full knowledge and consent of his (apparently negligent and unfit) parents.


So readers are expected to believe that an “idiot” child can responsibly confront situations on Earth and in space for which he has no prior experience/training; that he can safely handle powers that could level a city without endangering himself and the public; that his parents have no problem with him constantly risking his life sometimes light years from home, and that everyone in the Marvel Universe is completely fine with it?  I don’t know about other people, but I like a modicum of plausibility in cosmic stories.   Loeb’s scenario for NINO is intelligence insultingly implausible.

And there’s a moral issue, too.  Why does Marvel/Disney believe it is perfectly moral to un-willingly induct a minor child into a para-military organization and place said child in kill-or-be-killed combat situations?  The rest of Western Civilization would disagree on moral grounds, and even as this article is being written the United Nations is forming a resolution condemning use of child combatants.  Since Disney makes its money selling entertainment to kiddies, do they really want to send the message that minor children performing combat operations is perfectly acceptable to their company?  If so, I can’t wait to read their official explanation justifying their position.


The Deprivation of Vitality


In Annihilation, Nova Volume IV, and The Thanos Imperative, Giffen and DnA gave us a true Nova – a mature, powerful, effective, true leader of men actually leading other powerful beings to confront and overcome universal threats.   These were big stories with edge-of-your-seat excitement that left the reader anxiously anticipating the release of the next issue.  These stories talked up to their readership with adult themes and high-stakes situations where literally anything might happen.

In contrast, we have NINO stuck in a small town dealing with schoolyard bullies and blundering/cheating his way through the occasional boring confrontation with a super-villain.  Yawn.  Have you read that teen super-hero story somewhere before?  How many times?  Yeah – me too.  Loeb, Brevoort, and Wacker present this hackneyed, puerile non-sense that talks down to readers as if it’s something new and special.  In actuality, it’s old, boring, listless, clichéd, and utterly predictable.  Loeb even made sure to kill off all the “Black Novas,” the only truly innovative and exciting idea he had in putting together the ongoing travesty that is NINO.  Those characters were much more interesting than NINO – and readers said so.  Once again, Marvel Editorial ignored the readership and retreated to the clichéd old angst-ridden teen superhero formula.


What was vital about Rich Rider’s Nova, and potentially vital about the “Black Novas” had they been developed, was the “military science-fiction” aspect of the characters/storylines.  What made modern Marvel Cosmic (i.e. the Marvel Cosmic of the Annihilation event forward until hi-jacked by Loeb and Bendis) vital, new and interesting were the elements incorporated from both popular military science-fiction/science-fantasy (e.g. Star Trek and Star Wars), hard-core classic written military science-fiction (e.g. Lensmen and Starship Troopers) and written heroic fantasy (e.g. John Carter of Mars).  This was made possible because the pre-Loeb/Bendis Marvel Cosmic was niche-audience focused and largely ignored by the “super-heroic fantasy” selling, mainstream-oriented Marvel Editorial staff.  Once a Guardians of the Galaxy movie was announced and expected to be a big hit, Cosmic suddenly moved from “neglected niche” to the forefront.  It then, of course, had to be made to conform to the “super-heroic fantasy” formula that Marvel sells, so the very essence or vitality of what made Volume IV of Nova and Volume II of Guardians of the Galaxy was discarded and replaced.  In the case of Star-Lord, we went from the Giffen/DnA  “approaching middle-aged,” scruffy Han Solo-ish characterization to a 20-something feckless dream-boat-ish characterization.  In the case of Nova, the powerful, mature, leader of men that was Rich Rider was replaced by an “idiotic,” blundering, immature, obnoxious, teen Peter Parker-ish character sans the saving grace of the Parker intellect.  In both cases, the Cosmic aspects of the characters were made incidental rather than central, and we’re left with un-interesting characters obsessed with the petty and parochial problems of Earth.  Jeez, Marvel Editorial!  Don’t you have enough Earthbound super-heroes to deal with Earth’s petty problems without sucking away the vitality of the cosmic heroes just to make them conform to your comic book selling formula?  Ever consider maybe actually promoting a different approach?  Maybe if you’d supported DnA’s efforts the way you’ve supported Loeb and Bendis’, this article would never have had to be written.


The Deprivation of Sensitivity


I’m not using sensitivity to mean “emotionality.”  Everyone knows Loeb has loaded NINO with enough smarmy, maudlin, and/or puerile sugar-sweet moments to send diabetic readers into a coma.  I know Disney loves that garbage – just watch any of their child-oriented movies if you don’t believe me.  For those of us over the age of 8 though – it just comes across as corny and annoying.

I’m using sensitivity as it’s used in a medical-scientific context to mean “reactivity to external forces.”  I’ve already discussed how NINO reacts to the external forces of plausibility and morality.  NINO gets a grade of “F” in reaction to those two external forces, and I needn’t re-iterate the ground already covered in previous sections of this article.  I touched upon what the fans really want under the vitality section and will cover it in more detail now in this section.

Brevoort has made it clear over on his Tumblr page that Marvel Editorial expected a backlash from Rich Rider fans once it was clear that Rich was to be replaced with NINO.  He has also made it clear that he thinks Rich had so few fans that the backlash would be of no consequence to Marvel or to NINO’s sales.  Alonso made it clear in several interviews that he thought Nova fans would buy ANYTHING with the word “Nova” smeared across the cover and he expected Rich Rider fans to “embrace” NINO.  Loeb simply said Rich’s story was “over.”  And Wacker has never missed an opportunity to insult, denigrate, and otherwise disrespect the Rich Rider character and Rich Rider fans in general over at a Certain Boot-lickingly Repellant website’s forums where he is given free rein to do so and where the moderators protect him from any fan talk-back.  Does that sound like sensitivity to a set of fans many of whom loyal Nova readers since Rich Rider’s premiere in 1976?  Heck – that doesn’t even conform to Disney’s model of hospitality.  Marvel Editorial Staff – you need to go on down to Orlando and undergo Disney’s Hospitality Training course.  You should probably send Wacker and Brevoort two weeks early since they’ll need the remedial (i.e. “slow learner”) version.


Fact is, NINO is a failure.  It’s a failure conceptually, morally, in entertainment value, and – increasingly – in sales.  Potential buyers are voting with their dollars and for the most part they’re voting thumbs down.  NINO sells less than Volume IV sold without all the hype.  NINO has failed to be embraced in large part by the Rich Rider fans who feel insulted and alienated by the treatment shown them by Marvel’s Editorial staff.  Heck – even the cover to NINO #10 lavishly portrays an insult to long-term Nova fans with “idiot” NINO standing in a pose of defiant triumph with his foot on Rich’s helmet.  There’s a reason why something similar is NOT seen on any of our actual war memorials.  It’s because that’s a universal sign of disrespect to a fallen enemy.  Apparently that’s how Wacker et al view the Rich Rider fans and they’ve not so subtly made that clear with NINO #10’s cover.  If they wanted to show respect, NINO should have been placed standing behind his fallen BETTERS with his head bowed and his hands folded in front of him.  In a way though, NINO #10’s cover sums it all up.  Marvel Editorial isn’t sensitive to the desires of the Rider Nova fans.  Heck – they didn’t even care what we wanted.  They just wanted to dish up some warmed-over and “Lo(e)botomized” Spider-man.

Suggested further reading:

Marvel Editorial to Cosmic Fans:  “We’re just not that into you.”

Article by Timelord

Dedicated to Loeb, Bendis, Wacker, Brevoort, and Alonso for their tireless efforts toward making Marvel Cosmic mundane enough to appeal to the lowest common denominator of comic book reader.

The opinions reflected herein are purely the opinions of the author of this article and do not necessarily reflect the official opinions of CosmicBookNews.

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