If you want a solid, average cosmic superhero book, “Nova” is for you. The recent story arc, wherein the Sphinx went to war against himself from another point in history, pitting two groups of time-displaced superhumans against one another, has been a decent, good read that never rose too high or dipped too low in quality. The concluding issue is no exception.
With the older version of the Sphinx victorious thanks to Nova and the other heroes, he now has two Ka Stones, which should be impossible, making him doubly as powerful — so powerful that could threaten all of existence when he fully masters the use of two Stones. What follows is pretty typical take down of the Sphinx with Nova as the focus and Reed Richards backing him up. Nova shows a lot of guts and skill in the process, but the manner in which the Sphinx is defeated is a little confusing. Abnett and Lanning throw some big ideas out there, but don’t hang them on anything.
After all of this build-up, most of the other characters are ancillary and don’t contribute anything to the Sphinx’s defeat. The team-up of the two Sphinx teams is ultimately meaningless, but also provides an interesting way to start the issue. However, there is wisdom in shifting the focus back to Nova as much as possible since it is his book. The transition from the team-up being a big deal to it being forgotten is simply not there. It’s too abrupt in showing us that, yeah, these two groups working together is having no effect, so who cares.
Mahmud A. Asrar’s art is competent and workmanlike, fitting into the general Marvel house style. Despite the big cosmic action of the issue, none of the images really pop off the page. The two groups attacking the Sphinx, for example, is flat and crowded with none of the character displaying any dynamic movements. The only sequence where Nova takes on the Sphinx alone is more energetic and shows some growth from the earlier pages, but the art is mostly generic and forgettable throughout. There’s no sense of an individual style in Asrar’s art.
That actually sums up this issue of “Nova” well: no style. It’s a mediocre, generic superhero book that lacks the flair of other DnA-penned books. The ending of the issue is the only place where the comic has any real sense of drama and embraces the imaginative skills of the duo. The rest is solid and good, but not anything special.