Nova #18

"Original Sin" catches up to Sam Alexander in "Nova" #18 by Gerry Duggan and David Baldeon. The issue hops through the first two issues of the event series, pulling out just enough for readers to understand the impact "Original Sin" has on Nova.

The death of the Watcher hits Nova rather hard as Duggan provides an accounting of how Nova became aware of the murder. The reaction is emotional and instinctual, as Sam flees the scene to get away. Nova spends the first third of this issue running from death, as "Dia de los Muertos" opens with a memorial to the fallen members of the Nova Corps. Along the way to Knowhere, Nova finds himself hip-deep in the impact of "Original Sin." Duggan admirably keeps the details lean, choosing to focus on Nova's interactions with other heroes, which is a powerful reminder of just how young Sam Alexander is relative to the rest of the heroic pantheon. The Thing, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Captain America and Thor all appear and Duggan's treatment of each is enjoyable and entertaining.

Those interactions, however, lead to a distraction that is almost certainly more oversight than error. While letterer Albert Deschesne provides some of the most amusing comic battle sound effects I've seen in a long time, he doesn't employ the usual Asgardian font in Thor's word balloons. That set me to seeking out Thor's dialog across the Marvel books from the week and this one is the only comic book where that happens. This isn't a major deal, but it did pose enough of a distraction to momentarily interrupt the flow. David Baldeon, with inks from Terry Pallot, fills that adventure with tremendous visuals, from the breathtaking Nova Corps memorial to the mix of fury and determination on Thor's face as he battles Exterminatrix. The artist tends to gravitate towards cartoony, overly expressive features, but that style fits in line with what Ed McGuinness established for "Nova." Colorist David Curiel excels at coloring wild cosmic action, which is all over the pages of "Nova" #18 thanks to Baldeon's pencils and Pallot's inks.

"Nova" #18 drags Sam Alexander into "Original Sin" with no shortage of Marvel Universe to cushion the collision. The tie-in doesn't pull this comic book off course, but rather opens a door to other stories that otherwise would not have been opened sooner. Gerry Duggan, David Baldeon and crew provide a strong measure of the scope of the Marvel Universe, especially juxtaposed to the life of a kid from New Mexico who is just trying to do the right thing. This is about as enjoyable an event crossover as I can recall and it does a great job of keeping everything on track, presenting the outside influences and identifying the paths set out before hero and reader. "Nova" #18 is yet another solid issue of one of Marvel's most enjoyable comic book series.

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