Okay, I'll be the first to admit I am not now, nor have I ever been much of a Jeph Loeb fan. So not to get all hipster but I was mehing the guy's stuff before it was cool. Seems like no one else caught on to this crafty bastard's schemes of underwhelming comics until the triple wammy of abortions on paper called "Ultimatum", "Ultimates 3" and "Red Hulk" saw the light of day and well now it's too late the guy is balls deep in the system and us along with the comics we love, aren't safe until this guy just decides to hang it the fuck up (and hopefully take Jason Aaron with him). Even with this in mind I heard about the new Nova book that DOES NOT star the guy we all knew and loved as Nova aka Richard Ryder but rather a new kid altogether which I instantly rolled my eyes at knowing who was behind the pen and STILL I kept an open mind and gave this is a whirl. Fuck. This. Book.
After my initial "bet that shit sucks" stance, I saw the new version of Nova appear on the Ultimate Spidey cartoon… (I have kids okay I can watch whatever I want. DON'T JUDGE ME) and I didn't hate this take on the character. Even though they just as easily could have de-aged Ryder like they did Powerman and Ironfist instead of coming up w/ a new guy I still wasn't hating on the fact Ryder wasn't the Nova I was seeing on the screen. Between that minor relief and the fact I am vehemently opposed 99% of the time to being one of those nerds who just bash on shit because bitching about comics on the internet is "fun" especially when it comes to bitching about comics before they even come out, I was like okay let me see what's going on here at least before I yay or nay it. Read the first issue it was pretty unimpressive but not out and out bad per say and it ends with Gamora and Rocket Raccoon showing up which is a damn good way to get people to read issue two.
This issue opens up with Sam Alexander the son of a lesser known Nova from Earth much like Richard Ryder in the hospital after some blah blah blah in the first issue (it's not important really and I already spoiled the best part of #1 so fuck it) where Gamora and Rocket present Sam with his father's Nova helmet in a recruiting attempt that of course does not go smoothly. Now here's what it goes south.....
For starters, I get that from writer to writer the focus of certain aspects of character personality shifts. How Loeb can fuck up two characters in a page is something I don't get. One thing has always been a part of these two characters is that despite who writes them they are usually among the intelligent people in the room so when they travel across the universe to collect this kid I find it really hard to believe even a gruff anthropomorphic raccoon like Rocket would try to shoot this kid in the face for calling him a talking raccoon. Not only that but saying he did right Gamora the self-proclaimed "Deadliest Woman in the Galaxy" and more even keeled of the pair just stands there and does nothing. Now I don't expect Gamora to actually give two fucks about this kid past whatever they need to recruit him for but she's still Gamora and Gamora is not a fucking idiot who would just stand there and watch as the reason why she crossed the cosmos gets a cap popped in it for something this frivolous. Also I'd like to think that both of these characters would be smart enough to not loom over a sleeping child they don't plan on hurting with a laser cannon and a big ass sword in hand. Another thing is, this is the Marvel fucking universe here right? The main universe not like some Vertigo kinda-sorta the same but not really off shoot and the kid clearly recognizes his dad's Nova helmet before freaking out a green amazon and a talking raccoon are standing there talking to him. SO WHY WOULD HE STILL FREAK OUT mutants, aliens, superheroes all that shit is like widespread public knowledge and THE KID KNOWS WHO AND WHAT THE NOVA CORPS IS.
Which leads me to my biggest pet peeve is the fact this kid semi-acknowledges that his absentee dad had to be off somewhere and that his dad claimed to be a Nova with ya know the helmet as proof, not to mention the fact Nova is a pretty well-known superhero throughout the Marvel Universe on Earth and for damn sure in outer space. But yet one of the big themes in the first issue and carried over here was that Sam still doesn't believe his dad is a Nova.....ummmm....what? Like seriously his mind changes for convinced from panel to panel for example when they show Sam his dad's helmet he's like "Holy shit that's my Dad's space helmet!" So you would think his next thought would be "Holy shit you're those aliens he talks about all the time Gamora and Rocket Raccoon!" Instead he's like "NOOOOOOO THIS CAN'T BE REAL!!!!" Then charges off to tell a nurse a gat wielding raccoon and a sword carrying green broad are in his hospital room.
A page later he's like "someone from school musta made this helmet as a joke on me and my Dad", look motherfucker how would some school kid know how to build an exact replica of your pop's secrety space helmet? Then later while he's trying to figure out how to use the Nova helmet to get answers he goes from being like wow dude all that shit Dad said was true to flat out getting pissed off the helmet doesn't talk to him to back to not believing his father was a Nova and being more pissed off that a FUCKING HELMET didn't come with INSTRUCTIONS. Mind you by this point he's already of his own free will put on the helmet and transformed into Nova once before. Add on to that that entire sequence I just described happens in three consecutive small panels spanning the length of an ENTIRE DAY until after staring at the helmet for way, way, way, way, way, way too long he decides to just put the damn thing on again and HOLY SHIT IT WORKS!!!! So cue the "hilarious" montage shots of dude learning how to fly and blah blah blah which ends with him rocketing through space… apparently he was also temporarily blinded by the awesome of space flight and is also a fucking retard for not noticing at the rate of speed he's going w/ no set course, uh space flight might be a bit dangerous. So the kid ends up crashing into the fucking Moon, like it just snuck up on him...like that's even possible to not notice the GODDAMN MOON DIRECTLY AHEAD OF YOU WHEN YOU HAVE YOUR EYES OPEN AND YOU'RE IN GODDAMN SPACE. He crashes and burns only to tumble and land at the feet of whom else, Uatu the Watcher who's apparently Asian now.
Now as far as the art goes McGuinness legitimately surprised me here, he's always a stellar artist but his still doesn't always fit his books even if it still looks all cool and shit ya know? Hell he's not my favorite artist by any means but his adjusted style fits this book like a glove, in fact if the issues were just pages of him drawing w/ no words then I'd still read this. Because he really does do that great of a job drawing a toony but not too toony "Kid Nova". That's the only saving grace about this malarkey. And like I said I went into this as open minded as possible and if you've never read anything about Nova or have a deep knowledge of Marvel then maybe, MAYBE I could see reading this and being like why's everyone hating on Loeb? But even then you'd pretty much have to be a noob to this whole genre and like sci-fi movies and shit in general because this origin story is cliché as shit and loaded with horribly, stale, self-conflicting dialogue.
Not only that but there are moments that are just thrown in there and don't make sense or amount to much like Gamora and Rocket showing up, okay looked like it was gonna get awesome, nope... they came all that way to recruit the kid then pretty much just drop the helmet and dip when the kid calls for help at a fucking hospital. Because Gamora isn't the type of cold hearted bitch who wouldn't just I don’t know knock the kid out and drag him along or anything right? Nah she'd just be like “well he ran away guess we should pack it up and head home yeah?" Or the one panel when Sam flies off after transforming at home, his mom watches him fly away all disapproving and shit. Where was this disapproval when he was sitting on a bed alone talking to the helmet for literally hours?
Bottom line the only way I could possibly recommend this book is for anyone who wants to find a comic appropriate for young kids and I mean like kids who just learned or are learning how to read. If you're a serious reader of comics then just step away from this one. This isn't necessarily the worst book Loeb has ever done, I mean he ruined an entire franchise with Ultimates 3 but then topped that by ruining an entire line of comics with Ultimatum, but still I cannot and will not recommend this book to anyone who enjoys quality comics. If ya get a copy for free or something I'd say leave this puppy on the back of your toilet so next time you drop a deuce BAM you don't even need teepee for your bunghole cuz ya got twenty odd jumbo sheets in waiting for ya already.
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Ed McGuinness
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: 3/20/13