As a big fan of the Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning version of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” it’s fun to see some of the hallmarks of their run continue to pop up throughout the Marvel Universe. So when “Nova” #14 had Gerry Duggan and David Baldeon bring Nova and Beta Ray Bill to the severed Celestial head called Knowhere, I gave off a little cheer. And for those who have been wondering what Cosmo the telepathic dog’s been up to? Well, get ready to cheer some more.
For a book that’s had three regular writers, it’s impressive that “Nova” feels in many ways impervious to any real problems in characterization. Sam’s sense of wonder is still present under Duggan, as is his natural heroism. His smashing through bad guys in Knowhere is just as much fun as him finally finding Cosmo, and while this is hardly a deep story, it doesn’t need to be. Duggan’s telling a story of a hero finding his way, and right now we’re at the “fixes a mistake he made earlier” stage. It’s solid and enjoyable.
Baldeon and Terry Pallot’s interpretation of Nova is interesting. The way the helmet curves back around his head, coupled with what comes across as a thicker and slightly heavier outfit, creates an outfit that screams “speed skater.” It’s an interesting take on the familiar uniform; it’s virtually the same at its basic level with what Paco Medina’s been drawing, but it feels much more grounded and real-world in this issue. And for a book that’s been focusing so much on Sam Alexander’s life with his family and at school, well, it’s a shift that works.
What’s ultimately refreshing about “Nova” is that this is a stealth all-ages book. There’s nothing in here that younger readers couldn’t handle, but it never feels dumbed-down or too elementary for adults (a trap that many attempted all-ages books fall into). It’s not being promoted as one, but at the same time it fits the bill. I’m finding Sam’s adventures as Nova entertaining, here, and it doesn’t ever feel like it’s operating under a limited scope, or pushed off into its own “for younger readers” universe. “Nova” #14 is another successful issue of a strong series.