Return of a Legend but also with tighty-whities
Jeff Loveness, Ramón Pérez (W), Ramón Pérez (A), Ian Herring (CA)
Cover by Ramón Pérez
Publisher: Marvel Comics
I loved the saga of space epics written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. I know I’ve mentioned that before, but it’s worth stating again. Annihilation, Annihilation: Conquest, War of Kings, and The Thanos Imperative were a series of incredible stories. In addition to the now-popular Guardians of the Galaxy, these stories starred one Richard Rider, the leader and original Earth member of the Nova Corps. Before there was Sam Alexander and John C. Reilly’s character, there was Richard Rider. Yes, he was kind of a take-off of Hal Jordan and yes the Nova Corps is Marvel’s version of the Green Lantern Corps. However, just like Moon Knight being a take-off of Batman, Richard Rider has developed into his own unique and likeable character over the years.
All this being said, Richard Rider notoriously met his end while trying to trap Thanos in the Cancerverse at the end of The Thanos Imperative. Peter Quill, Drax the Destroyer, and Thanos all made it out of the Cancerverse since, but Richard Rider has been believed to be dead—until now.
The story begins with Richard Rider visiting his mother after having recently returned to Earth and to life. Apparently his father had died while he was away, and Richard is trying to come to terms with that. He has a brief hallucination of his mother decaying and appearing dead. As a result, he is now realizing that returning from the dead may not be without its consequences.
We next see Sam Alexander purging Ego, the Living Planet, of an infestation of SIDR. After using a meteorite to eliminate the creatures, he returns to Earth and his family before going to school. Upon removing his helmet, he discovers that he is not wearing any clothing under his suit and has to borrow gym clothes from his friend, Blake. This does not transpire before the new girl sees Sam in his y-fronts.
Sam considers talking to the new girl later in the day, but he imagines supervillains proposing a date with the girl before he does. He fights them off in a Skottie Young-esque dream sequence. After this, he promptly further embarrasses himself in front of her.
Next, Sam gets a distress signal through his helmet and takes off from school. Here, we go back to Richard Rider on a casual flight. He begins ailing and falls out of the sky with a bizarre eldritch cloud coming from his body as he drops, and the comic ends here.
This comic was…something I guess. It wasn’t really functional as a first issue, but I’m willing to forgive that considering this is supposed to be a soft reboot of the already-running Nova series starring Sam Alexander.
It was really cool finally seeing Richard Rider again, but he is barely in the comic. He scarecely has a presence within the story, and we don’t get to see much of how his personality is now that he is back from the dead.
I have become a fan of Sam Alexander since he joined the Marvel Universe, but he is oddly insufferable in this comic. He has always been a cocky and arrogant character, but he is usually charming too. Here, he is just annoying. Upon removing the SIDR from Ego, he leaves with a “See ya, Beardo!” To me, that is two steps from “Smell ya later, loser.” Last I checked Nova, is not a C-grade “radical” 90’s kid’s cartoon. Some of you may try to make a joke implying the opposite. You people are wrong.
On that note, the humor throughout is kind of infantile. Nova is in his underwear at school. That’s the joke we’re going with here? Really?
Furthermore, the “embarrassing himself in front of the new girl” subplot is rather tired. She may turn out to be a secret supervillain like a cloaked Skrull or something, or she may turn out to still like Sam regardless of his blunders. Both of those outcomes are pretty tired too, so I’d rather this comic didn’t have it altogether.
The dream sequence was beyond pointless. It’s not really funny, and it’s really nonsensical. The art looked like a cheap Sunday paper strip, and the comic would have been significantly better without it.
The overall art is alright. It’s not great. It’s cartoony and rough around the edges. It’s charming, but it didn’t wow me. The color work isn’t really spectacular either. This comic could have used some brighter and more popping colors to improve its appearance.
This comic isn’t awful. It’s not really good either. It’s just there. It didn’t do anything to actively irritate me, but it wasn’t memorable either.
However, that actually makes it more frustrating because this is the return of Richard Rider. That should be bombastic and stunning. It should involve some significant supervillain like Annihilus or Thanos himself, not just the SIDR and Ego. This is far more understated than it should have been, especially considering that Richard Rider was actually pretty popular when he died. Marvel has been teasing at his return for years…and this is what we get? This comic that tries to be “slice of life” but also with a guy back from the dead?
Sorry, but I really can’t recommend this book, and I feel sorry for those who, like myself, were excited for Rider’s return because this isn’t what anyone could have wanted.
Final Score: 5/10