Climbing on board the All-New Marvel NOW! wave, “Nova” #13.NOW explores an ordinary day in the life of fifteen-year-old Sam Alexander according to writer Gerry Duggan, penciler Paco Medina, inker Juan Vlasco, colorist David Curiel and letterer Albert Deschesne. Of course, Sam Alexander happens to be Nova and “an ordinary day” usually involves something getting blown up, scorched or totally destroyed in Sam’s hometown of Carefree, Arizona.
As a Point NOW! book, this comic has a few requirements to hit: be new reader friendly, be peppy enough to make those new readers return, and it has to be good. “Nova” #13.NOW delivers on all three counts. Duggan doesn’t retell Sam’s origin or how the lad came into possession of the Nova helmet. He presents what you need to know: Sam is Nova, he has a younger sister and lives with his mom. His dad is M.I.A. Sam’s not the most popular kid in Carefree, but he means well and generally tries to do what’s right. What’s right sometimes means correcting what’s wrong, which is exactly where the peppiness of this story comes in. Sam, as Nova, aided a villain to cause problems for Beta Ray Bill. Cue peppy superhero misunderstanding fight that fills a solid chunk of this comic book. Duggan makes the fight good, makes Bill engaging and makes Sam a totally relatable character.
The art team of Medina, Vlasco, Curiel and Deschesne take the good story and coat it in pretty art that is sleek, polished, explosive and mesmerizing. Nova’s logo gets a powerful word balloon insertion. The sound effects fill and breach panels and those panels themselves include everything from Nova ordering Bill to get off his planet to Beta Ray Bill replacing his helmet on his head after Sam knocks it off. Medina draws up plenty of expressions on all the characters in this story and clearly has some fun doing it. Curiel seizes every opportunity to make a visual splash and completely fills it with gorgeous hues and patterns. As “Nova” comics go, “Nova” #13.NOW is one of the best looking in the series, which is an accomplishment in its own right.
“Nova” #13.NOW brings Beta Ray Bill into Nova’s life and makes a solid case for the two characters to continue to interact for a few more issues at least. This provides ample opportunity for Duggan to pile in the humanity and humor, from Sam’s “pet” name for Bill to the conclusion of Sam’s fight with Moffet. The new adventures of Nova have been pure comic joy and this issue is no exception. This is the type of fun comic book I used to seek out and latch on to as a kid. The folded copy of “Nova” #13.NOW I passed along to my thirteen-year-old tonight is every bit as enjoyable as the comics I used to fold up and put in my back pocket because I couldn’t wait to share them with my friends. Do yourself a favor, pick this up and enjoy a fun comic book again.