Living up to a legacy is difficult, especially when you’re trying to stand on your own two feet. For a long time, Richard Rider had to uphold the legacy of the Nova Corps after they’d been wiped out. After Rider died, Sam Alexander needed to carry the torch, not an easy feat for a teenager. The two Novas share a lot of similarities and they finally come face to face in Jeff Loveness’ Nova: Resurrection. A resurrected Rider tries to adjust to being alive, while Sam grapples with the perils of puberty. The graphic novel makes for an entertaining read, combining themes of family and adulthood.
The story begins with Rider returning to his family home. Having sacrificed himself in the Cancerverse, Rich tries to make sense of being back. Sam returns from a space adventure and meets a new girl at his school. Feeling flustered, Sam figures out how to ask her out. The two Novas end up meeting after Sam mistakes Rich for his missing father. After battling a tentacled monster, the two of them bond quickly.
The relationship between the Novas makes up the heart of the story. Rich acts as a mentor to Sam, while the younger Nova helps to bring him up to speed on current events. Seeing how Rich deals with a changed world is one of the most interesting points of the story. During his absence, another superhero Civil War broke out and a new generation of young heroes sprang up. Rich’s experience with taking on universe ending threats has always helped him stand out from the Avengers. Compared to what he deals with, the troubles on Earth seem small in comparison.
Loveness’ characterisation of Sam deserves praise as well. He’s an overactive teenager balancing puberty with being a superhero. His interactions with the new girl at school are as hilariously awkward as they are relatable. One of the best sequences involves Sam doing his best to flirt while his thought bubbles are filled with panicky thoughts.
Rich also tries to get his personal life back on track by reuniting with Gamora. The two of them have a complicated romantic history that provides a lot of emotional moments. Their date is contrasted with the date that Sam and his crush go on, making for some beautiful art, courtesy of Ramon Perez.
Away from domestic problems, the Novas deal with creatures from the Cancerverse. It’s revealed that Rider is responsible for the monsters, having left the Worldmind in the Cancerverse to fend for itself. Worldmind forces Rider back into the nightmare reality, only for Sam to follow him. The Novas are able to overcome Worldmind, sealing the Cancerverse shut.
I enjoyed how the graphic novel mixed humour with angst. There are plenty of funny quips from Rich and Sam, especially when they’re around Cosmo the mind reading space dog. Loveness created a feel good story for two people who’ve been put through the wringer. Perez’s art enhanced the graphic novel through his use of colour. Some of the best art is saved for the Cancerverse with its army of twisted creatures.
Nova: Resurrection is an outstanding graphic novel that puts Richard Rider back in the spotlight and pushes Sam Alexander forward as well. Be sure to pick it up on Amazon.