With the “Infinity” event looming a mere two issues away, Zeb Wells and Paco Medina didn’t have a lot of space to play when they took over “Nova” for Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. Consequently, “Nova” #7 can’t quite escape that filler feel, even as Wells continues to expand Sam’s youthful voice and inexperience. Nevertheless, Wells and Medina successfully present a well-developed look into Sam’s character without using heavy handed inner monologues, making for a solid if unremarkable issue overall.
Since the arc didn’t have a lot of time to build, the issue comes off as episodic and jumbled, seeing as it takes place largely in New York, pauses for a non-Nova-centric stint in the Midwest, pops over the LA for a page or two, and ends up back in Carefree, Arizona where it started. Although Nova learns a valuable lesson or two throughout the issue (including but not limited to “walk before you run” and “Spider-Man’s a #@$*”), it feels as though not much is accomplished by the end, especially since the reader knows that Nova will have a formidable enemy to face when “Infinity” begins. However much fun the issue ultimately is, it’s only that: an entertaining fluff piece that bides its time until this next Marvel event.
That isn’t to say the issue is without strengths; Wells builds on Loeb’s previous work by emphasizing Sam’s candid youth, particularly his naivety, confidence, and pluck. Wells pulls this off mainly by placing him against Spider-Man, setting up a nice contrast to show Sam’s inexperience. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances in “Superior Spider-Man” that left Otto Octavius in Peter Parker’s body, this doesn’t achieve the same kind of emotional impact it could have considering the parallel between Nova and Spider-Man’s origins, but it clearly showcases Sam’s bumbling way of rushing impetuously into trouble. Additionally, Sam’s reactions to the situations he finds himself in are occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, while capturing the wide-eyed wonder Sam has for his new world. Wells excels in his work with Sam’s character.
Meanwhile, Medina provides some fluid action through the art; the transitions between panels move smoothly and organically. He also has a knack for creative layout, especially within the panel. However, compared to McGuinness’s work, Sam looks a little older in his muscular build and stature. Although Sam’s age is inconsistent (he fluxates between 14 and 16 over three issues), the scrappy teen of McGuinness’s arc suits the character’s voice and inexperience slightly more than Medina’s stockiness. Colorist David Curiel really makes the issue; the story comes alive under the vivid dusk, vibrant night sky, and hazy bright dawn. His colors give the issue a glowing, magical tone that sets up the fun nature of the arc.
Wells and Medina’s “Nova” #7 attempts to have an easygoing and fun loving atmosphere but the issue feels rushed and at times includes scenes which have no immediate bearing on the titular character. Even though Wells and Medina provide an enjoyable read, the issue is ultimately as forgettable as it is funny. Hopefully, the plot will pick up as soon as the “Infinity” event runs its course, allowing Sam to continue his zigzagging path to becoming a superhero in a more linear fashion.