As Nova, Richard Rider is the star of his own ongoing Marvel Comics series by writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and artist Wellinton Alves. Presently a lone intergalactic champion, Nova used to be part of something larger. The Nova Corps were a superpowered police force with 500 members until they were obliterated in the opening shots of an interstellar war. As the sole surviving member of the Corps, Rider became the repository of the Nova Force, the energy that gave Corps members their powers. This greatly enhanced Rider's abilities, but with greater powers came greater responsibilities. Rider's jurisdiction went from being a sector in space to the entire galaxy.
Despite being such a daunting task, Rider has performed admirably, so much so that he's in no hurry to reform the Nova Corps. Unfortunately for him, the Xandarian WorldMind has other ideas. A sentient super computer that can turn individuals into Nova Corps Centurions by giving them access to the Nova Force, the WorldMind recently began doing so -- without consulting Rider. In "Nova" #19, in stores now, the WorldMind continues to go behind Rider's back, as it turns what looks to be dozens of people into Nova Corps Centurions.
CBR News spoke with Abnett and Lanning, collectively known to their fans as DnA, to find out what this sudden surge of Nova Centurions means for their protagonist.
Rider is the repository of the near infinitely powerful Nova Force, so the creation of new Nova Centurions doesn't diminish his super abilities much -- and even if it did, he would happily share the power and responsibilities. So it's not a lust for power or glory that's keeping Rider from reforming the Nova Corps. But what is?
"Richard's reluctance to reform the Corps has more to do with his fears that putting it back together quickly will weaken the concept and endanger the recruits," DnA told CBR News. "He feels that without considered selection and training, a Centurion could be put at huge risk, as he saw happen with Ko-Rel [A Kree that was turned into a Nova Centurion and quickly perished during 'Annihilation: Conquest']. Also, one of his main concerns at the end of the issue is the underhanded way in which the WorldMind has gone about this new recruitment drive."
The WorldMind bonded with Rider when he became the last of the Nova Corps, and since then the sentient computer has acted as an advisor and even a friend, which has made the machine's sneaky recruitment tactics especially hard for Rider to handle. "Richard feels suspicious and betrayed, but is also harboring a little self-doubt. After all, the WorldMind is a sentient supercomputer and who is he to question its decisions? " DnA said. "As Rich is just finding out, the WorldMind has always been pursuing its own agenda. The conflict between WorldMind and Richard is about to become more open."
Nova isn't the only one wrestling with personal demons. Readers of "Nova" #19 saw Darkhawk , who became part of the book's supporting cast during its last story arc, struggling with a burgeoning inferiority complex. "Darkhawk does feel a little inferior to Nova, given that Rich has returned from space as a big cosmic hero who has fought and won an intergalactic war," DnA explained. "The impact this has on Darkhawk as a character will be explored in his own miniseries as part of the upcoming **War of Kings** storyline."
Rider's conflict with the WorldMind and its new Nova Centurions continues in "Nova" #20, in stores December 24, and leads into the previously mentioned **War of Kings** event, which kicks off next year. "All we can tell you at this stage is that in course of the next two or three issues we're are going to unleash two of the biggest shock twists this book has seen!" DnA teased.
Fortunately for Rider, he'll have some help dealing with these shocks and twists, because future issues of the new Nova Corps arc reunite him with two former allies from another team he was once a part of: the New Warriors. "Richard gets to hang with Justice and Firestar as they talk about old times," DnA revealed. "He really needs some friends to talk to at this point and they are the closest he has."
The new Corps storyline takes place all over Earth as well as in space, which means Rider and his allies won't be the only ones worried about the emergence of a new Nova Corps. "The governments of the world react in a fairly major way to the emergence of the Nova Corps," DnA explained. "Invasion [like the recent Skrull **Secret Invasion**] has left a lot of people very trigger happy and it's up to the new Nova Corps and the WorldMind to reassure them that they are not a threat."
The current arc in "Nova" lays the groundwork for the character's involvement in the **War of Kings** storyline, and fans can get a hint of the dangers that await the character in the January one-shot, "Secret Invasion: War of Kings," which is also written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. "'The Secret Invasion: War of Kings' one-shot impacts the action in 'Nova' in as much as it sets the stage for the cosmic event that's about to unfold," the writers revealed. "Nova's not in it personally, but the events that take place will have a great impact on his life."
Also on sale in January is the one-shot, "Nova: Origin of Richard Rider," a collection of issues #1 and #4 of Nova's 1976 series that offers something for both new and old school fans. "It's a reprint of classic material, but we've written a snazzy little framing sequence to pull it all together," DnA said.
The looming **War of Kings** and his current emotionally charged confrontation with the WorldMind and its new Corps mean that the months ahead are not going to be easy ones for Nova. "This story will see Richard Rider pushed to the limits," DnA remarked. "We feel you can only really judge the merit of a hero by putting them into the most extreme circumstances."
"Nova" #20 on sale December 24 from Marvel Comics.