This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Avengers 672 opens with both the Avengers and the Champions having the same fight in two different places. A new satellite is about to reveal images either confirming or denying proof of the High Evolutionary’s Counter Earth, a planet sharing our orbit on the far side of the sun. Nova and Peter Parker have both been to the planet, but Amadeus and Wasp insist that it cannot exist because it would defy all laws of physics and throw off the balance of the entire solar system. Mark Waid and Jesus Saiz use this scenario — of two planets that cannot share the same orbit without causing destruction — to illustrate the problem facing both of these teams: they can’t be in the same place without tearing each other down. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing Nova 7, originally released June 7th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Spencer: Add this volume of Nova to the list of great series that died too soon. Thankfully, Jeff Loveness, Ramón Pérez, and Ian Herring clearly know how to craft a powerful ending. Nova 7 loops back around to all the themes the creative team have been laying throughout their run — responsibility, friendship, teamwork, taking risks in life — and brings them to an explosive finale. It’s not just impressive how well it works, but that it works despite the fact that half the issue is drawn by a new addition to the creative team. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing Nova 14, originally released March 8, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Spencer: Love is never easy, no matter what your age. Still, as you grow and your relationships develop, the problems you face tend to change. The issues you deal with on a first date in high school are usually far different from those you’d deal with as an adult. In Nova 4, Jeff Loveness, Ramón Pérez, and Ian Herring chronicle both those romantic phases, and the results are just as genuine and heartwarming — and instructive! — as I’ve come to expect from this creative team. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing Nova 3, originally released February 1st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Spencer: Partnerships are successful when two people compliment each other, when both parties have something to offer that the other needs. Jeff Loveness and Ramón Pérez’s run on Nova is absolutely a book about partners, and issue 3 further defines their relationship, showing that they’re good for each other both on and off the battlefield. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Nova 1, originally released December 7, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Patrick: Marvel has been particularly bold with its legacy heroes lately. Iron Man isn’t Tony Stark, Hulk isn’t Bruce Banner, Thor isn’t… Thor… Even when the originators do carry the mantle, their proteges are filling the role at the same time (like Sam Wilson and Miles Morales). That’s a powerful transfer of status because those originals are so beloved and so iconic. But what happens when the hero being replaced doesn’t have decades of history to lean on? Hell, what happens when he’s being replaced by an even more senior member of his legacy-line? Jeff Loveness and Ramón Pérez aren’t quite ready to bring their titular Novas in contact with each other, probably because they’re too busy making the case for how great a character Sam Alexander is. Just as Richard Rider is coming back into the fold, Sam is at is high-flying, awkward-flirting, Avenger-defying best. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Michael are discussing Sam Wilson: Captain America 10, originally released June 22nd, 2016.
Spencer: People have certain aspects of themselves that bind them together into larger groups. Some of those qualities we choose for ourselves — our hobbies, religion, who we marry — but others we have no choice in. Our family, race and nationality, and sexuality bind us to like individuals. That doesn’t mean every member of, say, the same religion or race are alike, nor that they’re all friends, nor that they’ll even agree on anything. What it does mean is that they’ve all got one thing in common that no other group understands, and that makes them part of a community. In Sam Wilson: Captain America 10, writer Nick Spencer explores Sam Wilson and James Rhodes’ community, mining unexpected riches from the concept.
Today, Drew and Ryan D are discussing Nova 5, originally released March 2nd, 2016.
Drew: I developed my love of analysis with music. I studied music at college, where we learned a number of analytical approaches, examining everything from harmony to orchestration to rhythmic saturation. My favorite, though, was always the study of formal structure — the shape a piece of music takes. What’s remarkable about form is that you experience differently in the moment than you can in hindsight. As a piece of music unfolds, you have no idea if this is really a repeat, or some kind of clever fake-out (don’t even get me started on sonata form), but it’s patently obvious after the music ends (or, if you happen to have the score in front of you). I believe narratives — and especially serialized narratives — have a similarly plastic form; it’s easy to break a television season into acts once the whole thing has unfolded, but picking THE inciting incident or THE lowest point might be a bit more difficult in-the-moment. This is even more true for superhero comics, where things can always get worse, often in totally unexpected, physics-defying ways. So it’s with some reservation that I call Nova 5 Sam Alexander’s lowest point (at least as far as this volume is concerned), but all signs point to this issue as the nadir of the pastoral life established in issue 1. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Original Sin 0, originally released April 23rd, 2014.
Spencer: A few months ago Patrick and I covered Inhumanity 1, and while most of my complaints about that issue still stand, at the time I misunderstood its purpose; it wasn’t meant to be the beginning of a story, but instead to serve as a primer to catch new readers up on recent events in other titles. In a way, Mark Waid and Jim Cheung’s Original Sin 0 is almost the complete opposite of Inhumanity 1; I enjoyed the story much more, but it’s a story that looks to only have the vaguest of connections to the upcoming Original Sin miniseries.
Today, Spencer and Scott are discussing Nova 13, originally released February 19th, 2014.
Spencer: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: two heroes meet, but a misunderstanding causes them to fight for a while before they inevitably team-up. Wait, why didn’t you stop me? You’ve all heard this one before; TV Tropes calls it “Let’s You and Him Fight”, and it’s easily one of the best-known tropes in comics. Nova 13 is one large “Let’s You and Him Fight” scene between Sam and Beta Ray Bill, and while there’s definitely a lot of fun to be had with the fight, ultimately Gerry Duggan and Paco Medina don’t do anything interesting enough to justify devoting so much time to such a tired concept. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Nova 12, originally released January 15th, 2014.
Spencer: Teenage superheroes are kind of my specialty. The many incarnations of the Teen Titans were my gateway into mainstream comics in general, and my undying affection for the recent Young Avengers series is well known around the metaphorical Retcon Punch offices. I feel like I know the structure and tropes of these stories like the back of my hand, which makes it even more surprising to me how effectively Nova subverts them. Nova isn’t a book full of teenage angst or love triangles, and it isn’t even a book about the exhilarating freedom of being a teenaged hero, not really. Instead, writer Gerry Duggan has crafted a book that shows the toll being Nova has taken on Sam Alexander’s personal life, a book about how handing ultimate cosmic power to a fifteen-year-old kid is probably a really bad decision, no matter how pure that kid’s intentions are. Continue reading →