The tenth issue of this volume of the adventures of the human rocket boasts “Nova” #100 on the cover, which checks out mathematically, but puts some mileage on this still young new series. That said, the century mark does allow Marvel to beef up the page count for this comic, which serves as a crossroads between outgoing writer Zeb Wells and incoming writer Gerry Duggan.
Wells tackles the twenty-page lead and encapsulates the many adjustments the power of Nova is forcing on Sam Alexander’s life. Having been offered roster spots on both the Avengers and New Warriors, Sam consults his mother for input. As teens are prone to do with advice they don’t want to hear, Sam decides to seek counsel of his own choosing and goes to the moon to bend the Watcher’s ear. Through the Watcher, Wells revisits the legacy of Nova, informing Sam’s choice and bringing newer readers up to speed in one fell swoop.
After a five-page cover gallery providing a thumbnail retrospective of the most prevalent images throughout Nova’s hundred issues, Gerry Duggan brings a ten-page backup that puts Nova in space. Paralleling a fairly standard space adventure is a conversation between Nova’s mom, Eva Alexander, and the principal of Sam Alexander’s school, Principal Philbin, that outlines the realistic danger Sam faces if his duties as Nova continue to draw him away from home. Duggan makes it quite clear that he’s going to do all right with Nova, setting up a new plotline, some beefy subplots and promising the start of greatness. Hopefully Duggan and crew make good on that promise.
Carlo Barberi handles the art chores in the twenty-page lead-in, while semi-regular penciler Paco Medina delivers the visuals for Duggan’s debut. Both artists are well suited to illustrate the adventures of Sam Alexander and company, bringing animated energy and substantial detail. Barberi is assigned a story full of talking heads, which plays nicely to his knack for delivering comical expressions. While Barberi hasn’t been a regular contributor to Nova’s adventures, I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing more from him. Medina, meanwhile, delivers sci-fi packed space opera awesomeness filled with expressive gesturing figures and wild scenery. The coloring from David Curiel could not be more perfect. Curiel fills the pages — even the cover portfolio — with star fields and space scenes are breathtakingly tremendous.
“Nova” #10 is capped off with a two-page strip similar to the Mini-Hulks stories from Audrey Loeb, but just serious enough to offer what could be a potential future adventure. Featuring Jesse Alexander — son of Sam Alexander — donning the helmet, the story written by Duggan with art from “JL8” creator Yale Stewart is a fun finale. Stewart’s art is buoyant and cartoon-tinged, full of fun and completely enjoyable, while playfully presenting Nova’s one-thousandth adventure.
“Nova” #10 is a wonderful adventure to space and beyond. Under the guidance of Steve Wacker, this comic book has become quite a treat for its liveliness, adventure, and believably loveable cast of characters. As the title shifts over to Duggan for the writing chores, it seems as though Sam Alexander, both in and out of the helmet, will have very human adventures to be enjoyed. As a fan of the Jaime Reyes incarnation of the Blue Beetle, I’ve enjoyed this series and this issue is a charming sample of why. Readers looking for a little more levity, space-adventure or fun in their comics should check out “Nova” #10.