Nova #25

Nova's interactions with "Avengers & X-Men: AXIS" reach a conclusion in the Gerry Duggan-written, David Baldeon-drawn "Nova" #25 as Steve Rogers visits Carefree, Arizona to have some words with Sam Alexander. As the current bearer of the Nova Force, Sam has proven his mettle as a hero, most recently against Kluh in the "AXIS" tie-in issues. With that in mind, the former Captain America chooses to introduce Sam to the ranks of the Avengers.

Duggan fills "Nova" #25 with wide-eyed amazement as Sam runs the gamut of teenage emotions, from fear of being busted after his doctor's check-up and diagnosis of a concussion to the awe inherent with being dumped into a situation alongside your idols and heroes. The concussion diagnosis fits today's headlines and parental concerns quite smartly, giving readers young and old a touchstone to relate to: either as the concussed or a caregiver for a concussed loved one. Duggan handles both angles nicely without belaboring the point or derailing his tale. The writer even throws in a few chuckles, including a jab at Deadpool (one of his other assignments at Marvel) and an awkward moment that either defines Sam's concussion or exhibits his teenage ungainliness.

Baldeon keeps the adventure light and animated, right down to Sam posing with his new "super-saver club card" in one of the goofiest, most-fun panels of this series to date. Seemingly prescribing this tale to highlight Baldeon's style and also to give him plenty of fun pieces to draw, Duggan serves up a solid three-page introduction to the legacy of Nova, which not only give Baldeon and colorist David Curiel a chance to shine, they also bring readers quickly up to speed on the preceding events in this volume of "Nova." Whether in helmet and uniform or arm sling and shades, Sam carries youthful energy throughout "Nova" #25. Baldeon gives readers plenty of celebratory panels and pages, including a moment between Rogers and Nova on the grounds of the Avengers Mansion that is certain to brighten up readers' faces.

Letterer Albert Deschesne brings just as much fun to the process as he balances out the conversations throughout "Nova" #25. In addition to the usual comic book action and dialog moments, Deschesne has the opportunity to visually describe Sam's interaction with the Avengers' mainframe computer, J.A.R.V.I.S. Action, excitement and sound effects all make their way onto the page and into the story, supporting Baldeon's collaboration with Duggan throughout.

"Nova" #25 is a sharp offering from the regular "Nova" creative team that gives readers an extra-sized, thirty-page story that spans what was from what is coming in the form of a snappy, standalone adventure. Most importantly of all, Duggan, Baldeon, inkers Pallot and Vlasco, Curiel and Deschesne make "Nova" #25 both an enticing introduction and a satisfying bridge. This comic hits all the right story beats, giving readers plenty to absorb and enjoy.

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