Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness continue to deliver a galaxy-shifting origin in the pages of “Nova” #2. This issue focuses less on the Supernovas branch of the Nova Corps and more on Sam Alexander discovering the legacy of his father and trying to determine how to best accept or reject it.
Say what you will about Jeph Loeb’s writing (and I know there are plenty of detractors out there) there’s simply no denying the man knows how to write stories that inspire his artist to deliver their very best work. Sure, McGuiness’ Sam Alexander is significantly more spindly than what readers have grown accustomed to seeing the artist excel at drawing, but this story celebrates that awkward, teenaged, gangly phase of life and blends it together with an intergalactic weapon shepherded to young Sam by a pair of characters from Guardians of the Galaxy.
That awkwardness coupled with the experience of discovering the “treasure” bequeathed to him fuels Sam’s actions in this book. Loeb leaves the true nature and capabilities associated with the helmet (and by extension the Nova Corps) a mystery for us discover with Sam. We don’t get the full picture in “Nova” #2, but we are given a sense of scope and a measure of the grandeur this cosmic adventure is a slice of. As the young man dons the helmet and launches skyward, I found my belly knotting up, knowing full well if this were “Nova: the Movie,” something comical would unfold. Sure enough, Loeb delivers and his collaborators join right in, providing somewhat predictable scenes for the remainder of the issue, but the predictability is fulfilled with those scenes touching every needed note and filling every aspect of those scenes with nothing but the best.
Black and red, tinged with blues, purples and golds, the coloring for “Nova” #2 is as bombastic as McGuiness’ art can be and every little bit as unapologetic. Marte Gracia and Dexter Vines coat McGuiness’ work with extra polish, making this a very entertaining book to look at. Angled differently from the rest of the Marvel Universe, right down to Albert Deschesne’s lettering, “Nova” #2 has a strong identity that catches the eye and gives those peepers plenty to soak in. The merger of recap page and new action to propel this issue is a great choice, further encouraging parallels to a movie proposal while lunging forward for even more action.
Like the second act of a movie, “Nova” #2 is filled with a bunch of little developments that lead to potentially larger developments. There are scenes and shots that evoke fist-pumping and smiles, shock and celebration. Sam Alexander is a modern-day every kid, at least I think he is, given a gift that comes with the taint of a curse. What he chooses to do from there remains to be seen, but the story sweeps the reader up to cheer for Nova every time he holds the helmet in his hands. Quite simply, this comic book is big screen wow. Loeb and McGuiness make “Nova” #2 a fun comic simply for the sake of having fun. Ringing up at four bucks, yes, “Nova” #2 is a little on the pricey side for what it is, but in my case, I’m reading the digital version and giving the floppy to my twelve-year-old daughter who loves this comic. If nothing else, Loeb and McGuiness have found a fan in what used to be the target audience of every comic company: tweens. That said, I think I might just go re-read this, sprawled out on the living room floor with my dog by my side, remembering what comics were like when they initially seized my imagination.