Thursday, March 05, 2009

Nova: Annihilation Conquest

My friendly neighbourhood library comes to the rescue again! As well as having the Annihilation series of trade paperbacks (which I've read and enjoyed), it's now got Nova: Annihilation Conquest written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (DnA) with art by Sean Chen. This collects issues 1 to 7 of the latest Nova ongoing series. And, like the Annihilation crossovers and mini-series before it, it's generally good.

During Annihilation, the Nova Corps (sort of like Marvel's version of DC's Green Lantern Corps) were almost completely wiped out. The only surviving member was Richard Rider, Earth's Nova. Also during that mini-series, Nova had the entire Xandarian Worldmind uploaded into his brain together with the full Nova Force. Together with various other cosmic heroes, the vastly enhanced Nova helped defeat the Annihilation Wave.

This TPB picks up from there. The first issue deals with Nova - the single, lonely member of the Nova Corps - responding to all the emergencies in the galaxy. It effectively establishes both Nova's heroism (his desperation to save people whilst not thinking of himself) and his power level (he destroys powerful enemies with a single blast). Eventually, in the second and third issues, he heads back to Earth for some rest and to catch up on events back home. Of course, those issues are set just after the Civil War fiasco and the outcome and ramifications of that company crossover are, thankfully, explored in a much better and more meaningful way here than in Civil War itself.

The final four issues involve Nova going up against the techno-organic transmode-virus-carrying Phalanx, who have invaded the Kree. Ever since they appeared in the X-Men, I've never really much cared for the Phalanx but at least here their use as enslaving/mind-controlling bad guys is generally clear. During this deadly adventure, a Kree woman is given part of the Nova Force and becomes the first of the new Nova Corps. Unfortunately, her time as a Nova Centurion doesn't last.

DnA's writing is pretty good on this title. Considering I've never been bothered with Nova before, they do a good job of getting me interested in, and making me care for, the character. The stories are well written and zip along, showing the reader how powerful Nova can be. And when the new Nova Corps member Ko-Rel dies, it's quite a shock. It's all very well done.

Sean Chen's artwork is pretty good too, although nothing unusually spectacular. He tells the story well and his art is clear and unmuddied. It fits this book. And the TPB itself contains lovely glossy pages but only a small number of the usual extras, such as the covers and a few sketches from the series cover-artist Adi Granov.

Overall, this is a good TPB containing old-school style stories that has got me interested in Nova and his adventures - though perhaps not enough to actually go out and buy future TPBs (I have a bookshelf full of them already). Still, I'll look out for new Nova books at the library. Grade: Fine.

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