Writer Jeph Loeb and artist Ed McGuinness give us a solid (although at times somewhat confusing) first issue as Marvel NOW! sets out to relaunch Nova with a new hero under the helmet. Part of the problem with Nova #1 is that it has to introduce not one Nova, but two. Had the Loeb been able to fit Sam Alexander‘s story into the already existing Nova history (rather than show us that his drunken father was once a member of the Nova Corps so forgettable he had never appeared in any issue in the Marvel Universe until now).
On the plus side Sam is likable enough (although does Marvel really need more angsty teenage heroes with parental issues?), and the comic does include an appearance by Rocket Raccoon and Gamora (that will nearly always earn you some points in my book).
The structure of the comic, though confusing given none of these characters are familiar, actually works well as Sam’s dad relates his experiences in space to Sam’s younger sister in a series of bedtime stories Sam has gotten too old to believe in anymore.
There’s an awful lot of set-up, and for a cosmic title Nova #1 is light on action and epic space craziness. With so much effort to lay out Sam’s world here you’d expect smoother sailing going forward, except the kid has just had his world turned upside down by a talking raccoon and a green-skinned assassin. For fans.