“Nova” #3 by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness is not a bad issue, but it doesn’t have enough in it to warrant feeling good about it. It feels like two things happen in this issue, and both of them are incredibly thin and point to the same plot point: something is coming. Sam Alexander, the new Nova, is interesting but Loeb and McGuinness only present cliche moments here instead of any real unique or immersive introspection.
The issue opens with Nova on the moon with The Watcher standing before him. Considering only one of those characters speaks for the entire scene, there’s a lot of dialogue that follows. While it feels like the intent of the scene is to showcase Sam as young and chattering in the face of such immense strangeness, for all the words, he barely says anything of substance. It also means Loeb falls back on Sam narrating what he’s doing and that’s never a good sign.
After a familial moment, Nova is taken away by Rocket Raccoon and Gamora for some training. There’s a little training montage fun in these pages, but otherwise it’s just more exposition and then a very quick plot jump to get to the end. Sam’s character is kind of sidelined so he can be used as a plot element instead. The issue ends on the major reveal and cliffhanger, which seems to be just another instance of the main Marvel U aligning with the Ultimate and cinematic worlds in what might be a watered down manner.
Ed McGuinnes is an amazing artist and his pages are especially nice. His characters are emotive and crisp and his page layouts are fun and understand how to hit emotional beats. He works well to fit in a lot of dialogue and he’s also given room to blow out two double page spreads. The colors from Marte Gracia are a whole mess of fun and they really make each page feel like a quintessential superhero comic.
“Nova” #3 is unfortunately decompressed and devoid of major character work that delves into someone new on the page. The art is pretty, but it struggles against a script that doesn’t bring any sort of thunder with it, instead hoping a few fanboy nods will be enough to support. There’s nothing glaringly wrong with this issue, but there’s little to recommend beyond the art, which deserves a better book.