“Nova” #8 doesn’t have much in the way of action or fisticuffs, but it does have more than a fair share of cool moments from writer Zeb Wells and artist Paco Medina. With everything from appearances by former New Warriors Robbie Baldwin and Vance Astrovik to Thanos deigning Nova beneath his efforts as an afterthought to mentioning Richard Ryder, and Sam Alexander’s identity being sniffed out, there’s plenty here for Nova fans new and old.
Wells’ story stays largely light-hearted and enjoyable, not unlike “Blue Beetle” under John Rogers. Sam is trying to figure out the Nova helmet, his place in the galaxy and the whole heroing thing in general. Sam doesn’t live by the saying, “With great power comes great responsibility.” He’s trying to figure out what power and responsibility are and what they mean specifically to him. Wells seizes this concept to have Nova help rebuild a skate park in his hometown only to have the park suffer another catastrophe. The entire scene is inspired and enjoyable, giving Sam plenty of growth opportunity while also seeding future stories and developing the fringes of Sam’s supporting cast.
While his style is not as bombastic as original series’ artist, Ed McGuiness, Paco Medina does bring energy and animation to the characters and settings of “Nova” #8. Juan Vlasco’s inks and David Curiel’s colors solidify the characters, enhancing the depth and personality of Medina’s work. The trio blend nicely to present artwork that capably matches the bouncy attitude of Wells’ story. In addition to lively characters and settings, Medina draws the first appearance of Kaldera, Proxima Midnight’s savage daughter. Medina’s design for Kaldera is creative and fun, as are her surroundings on the slaughterdeck of Thanos’ cruiser. Readers know that Proxima Midnight is her mother, but judging from Medina’s design, the father is either Azazel or David Bowie. By the end of the issue, Medina has Kaldera poised to challenge Nova by striking through the book’s loveable supporting cast.
As Kaldera is sent to deal with Nova and Nova deals with Speedball and Justice (although he doesn’t suit up in this issue), Wells gives readers enough hope to hold on to for a month or so. Sleepy Carefree, Arizona is about to get pretty wild and I would think all of the extraterrestrial happenings there might start to raise some eyebrows. “Nova” has been an enjoyable read since its relaunch and “Nova” #8 has done nothing to diffuse that. As “Infinity” tie-in adventures go, this one might have the least direct connection, but it makes up for that in celebrating the fact that Nova is a hero growing into the role that will one day require him to be much more involved in mega-crossover events. For now, “Nova” #8 just continues to build a great little story about a kid learning the meaning of power and responsibility.