Following last issue’s revelation that his father might not have been the most noble of Novas, Sam Alexander goes looking for answers in the pages of “Nova” #19, written by Gerry Duggan and drawn by David Baldeon, with inks from Terry Pallot, colors from David Curiel and lettering from Albert Deschesne. Unfortunately for Sam, with the Watcher gone, his best option for a listening ear is Rocket Raccoon.
The pair sets off looking for Adomox, a green alien in a purple robe. (Seriously?! There’s another Marvel bad guy with the green and purple combo?) Beyond the questionable color combination from David Curiel, the visuals for “Nova” #19 are a cartoon committed to paper and colored with overripe markers that are set to explode. Curiel uses the greens and purples, but spices up the adventures of Sam Alexander with every other color available in his digital palette, including a splash page that introduces the reader to Oblitus, “an ever-expanding raft of vermin,” where the colorist stretches the boundaries of the visual color spectrum.
Baldeon’s art is as cartoony as it has been throughout his work on “Nova,” with animated characters that play through and with their environment. The artist pours detail upon detail into the backgrounds, and inker Terry Pallot helps lock it all down, giving texture to the portfolio for the real estate agent and shadows to a galaxy full of stuff. Nova as a lanky, animated teenager works nicely though the pages of “Nova” #19, just as he has since the debut issue of this volume of the human rocket. Baldeon plays around with the rest of the cast a bit, which is understandable and encouraged, given the nature of Oblitus. I find Baldeon’s Rocket to be unappealing — less raccoon and more a cross between Teddy Ruxpin and Alvin from the chipmunks.
“Nova” #19 sets Sam on the path to find some answers, but this adventure feels a bit thin, as though Duggan is pace-setting, despite the introduction of Oblitus or perhaps because of the introduction of Oblitus. It certainly is nice to see the story take a spell to stretch its legs and for Duggan and crew to push out the edges of Nova’s corner of the universe while adding bodies to pit against Sam. The middle installment of a three-parter, this comic book serves up a sample of Sam Alexander’s persona and cast, transitioning from the shock of the Watcher’s demise to answers Sam really needs. “Nova” #19 isn’t the greatest of the series to date, but it is a typical offering of the series’ capabilities.