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Comic Book: Nova

Richard Rider was a normal teenager, until one day he was chosen by a dying alien to carry his power, making him a member of Nova Corps – an intergalactic police force. Since then Richard has been known as Nova, The Human Rocket!

Nova is a Marvel Comics character. He first appeared in Nova vol. 1 #1 (September, 1976), created by Marv Wolfman and John Buscema, as a Homage to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's run on Spider-Man, and to classic teenage superheroes in general. Nova's original series lasted for 25 issues (September, 1976-May, 1979), until he had to give up his powers to help Nova Corps rebuild their home planet, Xandar. Richard returned to Earth as a normal human, to lead a simple life again.

Or so he thought. Some time later Richard was approached by Night Thrasher, who proved that his powers weren't lost, only dormant... by dropping him from a building. Nova joined the New Warriors and developed a romantic relationship with his teammate, Namorita. After the New Warriors ongoing was closed, he fell into obscurity, reappearing only occasionally in solo adventures or new volumes of New Warriors.

In 2006 Richard was brought from Comic Book Limbo for Annihilation, a Marvel big cosmic event that featured him as the central character and gave him a serious revamp – new costume, a Mentor persona in Worldmind and several additional levels in badass. Afterwards, he got a new ongoing series and was participating in various other cosmic events. He played a part in Annihilation: Conquest, Secret Invasion and War of Kings and joined the Secret Avengers.

His fourth series endured for 36 issues (June, 2007-June, 2010). Following its end, Nova played a big role in The Thanos Imperative, where he and Star-Lord stayed in the dying Cancerverse to keep Thanos from escaping. He hasn't been heard from since, even after Thanos and Star-Lord escaped.

A new Nova named Sam Alexander has appeared in the prelude to Avengers vs. X-Men, Marvel's big crossover event for 2012. A promotional comic explaining the sides of the event listed Sam as a wild card in the battle, along with the Incredible Hulk, Deadpool, Cable and Scarlet Witch.

A fifth volume, written by Jeph Loeb starring Sam Alexander, has launched in February 2013. 2014's Original Sin also features the Novas, as Sam has a central role as The Watson and audience viewpoint character and Richard's fate will be one of the many Dark Secrets revealed.

The Nova Corps will appear in the 2014 film Guardians of the Galaxy, with Glenn Close portraying the Corps' leader and John C Reilly portraying the original Nova Prime, Rhomann Dey.


Nova provides examples of:

  • A God I Am: Sphinx
  • Adaptational Heroism: Sam Alexander is much less of a Jerkass in the comics than he is in Ultimate Spider-Man.
  • Alliterative Name: Richard Rider
  • Aloof Big Brother: Richard was horrified to find out this is how his younger brother, Robert, sees him.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Marvel's answer to Green Lantern, combined with a Spider-Man like protagnist and with a Superman power set.
    • Many fans view Sam Alexander as one to the third Blue Beetle.
  • Alternate Reality: Where Nova 0:0 comes from and is actually not Richard but his brother Robert
  • And This Is for...: THIS IS FOR NOVA CORPS! Yelled when Richard rips Annihilus inside out.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: In War of Kings, when surrounded by Blastarr's army, Nova loudly begs him to show them mercy...and then quietly whispers an ultimatum – either he will let them go, gaining a reputation as a real ruler, not a dumb barbarian, or Rich will do with him what he did with Annihilus.
  • Arch-Nemesis: Sphinx
  • Arc Welding: With Death's Head II during a crossover with Secret Invasion. A younger version of Doctor Necker shows up working on an early version of her Minion Project, along with the Death's Head units from Planet Hulk.
  • Badass: It took him time to become one, but the results are glorious.
    • Badbutt: His last series was for teens and he could get quite violent, but he doesn't swear, drink or smoke.
    • Badass Boast: Does it sometimes, by reminding people that he killed Annihilus.
      Tony Stark: You say, Annihilus was the driving force? What happened to him?
      Richard Rider: I pulled him inside out and saved the universe. What have you done lately, Tony?
  • Baleful Polymorph: The Condor is turned into a condor, courtesy of the Sphinx. Later when it is reversed he is a half man, half bird hybrid
  • Berserk Button: NEVER threaten to take Sam Alexander's helmet.
  • Big Brother Mentor: What Richard aimed to become for his brother after accepting him joining Nova Corps.
  • The Blank: Megaman
  • Brooding Girl, Gentle Boy: Richard is this to Gamora.
  • Bucket Helmet: An In-Series Nickname for him.
  • Canon Immigrant: The second Nova, Sam Alexander, was created for the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series. He appeared in the comics first thanks to the lengthy production cycle, making him similar to the Kaldur'ahm Aqualad and the Barbara Gordon Batgirl.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: Sort of. Richard can fly from one end of the universe and back again, but it still takes time. Averted at one point, where Richard tries to change his route to save time. He nearly hits a black hole, and ends up crashing into a moon.
  • Catch Phrase: Worldmind's "Attention, Richard Rider. It is critical that you pay attention at this time."
    • Richard's “Blue Blazes!” back in the 70's.
      • "Monkey suit, be gone" in the 90s
  • The Chosen Many: Nova Corps.
  • Clingy Costume: Justified at one point, when Richard's suit is acting as quarantine for several nasty alien viruses. Becomes problematic very quickly, since he's on Earth just after Civil War. Just going for a walk quickly results in a visit from the Thunderbolts.
  • C-List Fodder: The Nova Corps as a whole since they got annihilated every time they made a major appearance.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: On top of the bestowed powers for members, the Nova Corps uniform has useful functions of its own like a life-support system and a radio scanning function.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: In issue 12 of his first series, Richard's uncle declares that he thinks Peter Parker is a superhero because his name anagrams out to "Kree Trapper."
  • Collapsible Helmet: The helmet's material can be as malleable as cloth when a Corpsmember wants to fold it up and carry it in a pocket, but takes on a rigid construction when it is worn.
  • Cool Helmet
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: a heroic example. Uses his superspeed to start a delivery company.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ko-Rel, and the Worldmind after taking her appearance.
  • Death Seeker: the Sphinx, sometimes
  • De-power: Happened several times. 1)In between his first series ending and the beginning of New Warriors to bring Xandar back to life 2) by Garthan Saal, formerly Supernova, who becomes Nova of Earth for a while, and 3) by the Xandarian Worldmind The last time with bad consequences – Richard found out he was using his powers for so long that without them he was dying.
  • Determinator: Infected with a virus that's slowly trying to take over him, surrounded by enemies in a galaxy sealed off from the rest of the universe, with the only chance of a cure on a planet that can't be found? That's not going to stop Richard.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Nova is actually very good at it. In his last series he took on Sphinx, more powerful than ever before, now able to bend reality at his will, and won. In the last issue Cancerverse Quasar unleashes an Eldritch Abomination that, as he claims, managed to destroy the entire Nova Corps of the Cancerverse in twelve minutes. Richard blows it up in one shot. In The Thanos Imperative he takes down a bunch of alternate superheroes, empowered by the Many-Angled Ones, and curbstomps them.
  • Discard and Draw: In War of Kings Richard has been depowered, briefly took the mantle of Quasar and then regained his old powers.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Ko-Rel Who later became one for Worldmind.
  • Energy Absorption
    • Powerhouse's ability as well
  • Flying Brick: He calls himself Human Rocket for a reason.
  • Flying Firepower: With the above, he's also got energy blasts.
  • Fusion Dance: Done by Richard and Quasar. And by Worldmind and Ego. And by Ko-Rel and Worldmind, sorta.
  • Ghost Town: Knowhere first appears like this. No-one's around, the lights are off, and there's blood on the walls. The only beings left are Cosmo and the Luminals. Oh, and some zombies.
  • Gosh Dangit To Heck: Richard doesn't like swearing and uses his “Blue Blazes!” Catch Phrase instead. He even discuss this with a classmate in a flashback to his teen days.
  • Gravity Master: One of the many fun features of the Nova Force. Robert is much better at it than Richard, as it turns out.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Gamora, who was briefly Richard's lover. She's still attracted to him, but he's scared by the whole "Deadliest Woman in the Universe" thing.
  • Hand Blast
  • Heel-Face Turn: the Sphinx, of all people, becomes a time guardian for a while...then stops for some reason and goes back to villainy
  • Heroes of Another Story: The Luminals, Xarth's Mightiest Heroes. They brought Abyss onto Knowhere in order to find a way of getting rid of it. It doesn't work, and just results in Abyss killing them.
  • Heroic Sacrifice
  • Homage: His first series was a homage to the Lee&Ditko era of Spider-Man. It even has “In the Marvelous tradition of Spider-Man!” written on the cover.
    • Sam Alexander is intended to be an homage to both Spider-Man and Nova's (Richard's) early years.
  • Hot Scientist: Doctor Evelyn Necker, despite being a member of A.I.M..
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Phalanx-posessed Richard vs Ko-Rel. Double subverted. He kills her, but she manages to allow Worldmind to finish it in his mind.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Richard's uncompromisingly idealistic personality is a plot point numerous times in his own series.
  • Insistent Terminology: Sam Alexander's father was a custodian, not a janitor.
  • Interspecies Romance: With Gamora and Namorita.
  • Ironic Echo: Richard really likes to throw Worldmind's Catch Phrase back at him whenever he can.
  • Is That What They're Calling It Now?: Yeah, Gamora certainly has "Operational Knowledge" of Richard Richard.
  • Jerkass: Richard's Marvel Comics 2 counterpart has quite a reputation for being a jerk.
    • Some of his winning quotes in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 makes him come out as quite full of himself. On the other hand, others shows him as Adorkable, in the end giving us an image of a dork trying to be a jerk and failing. Miserably.
  • Legacy Character: Ko-Rel for both Richard and Worldmind, Richard himself for Rhomann Dey. And now Sam for Richard.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Subverted but lampshaded:
    Speedball, to Nova and Darkhawk: Oh, come on, you two! I thought it was basic etiquette for super heroes to smack one another around on first meeting before realizing they're on the same side. Have we learned nothing from team-ups?
  • Light 'em Up
  • Lightning Bruiser
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Fouth series Annual, where the Phalanx virus tried to trap Richard's mind in a false world where Phalanx has taken over the universe and he leads the resistance.
  • Madness Mantra: Abyss's victims have "Ready or not."
  • The Mentor: Worldmind tries to be this, but mostly it and Richard just bicker.
  • Mood Whiplash: Richard's saved Worldmind from Ego, but its' personality has been compromised and has to be replaced. Richard and the Worldmind tearfully exchange goodbyes... and then Worldmind, now with Ko-Rel's personality, instantly starts laying on the sarcasm.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: We never see what Abyss, the arch-enemy of the Luminals, looks like. Not even Worldmind seems to know what 'he' is.
  • Odd Friendship: Sam Alexander manages to make friends with Uatu the Watcher.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: They're called 'meat puppets', for one, and are the result of Abyss being let onto Knowhere. They go down easily. A blast meant to stun causes them to explode.
  • The Paragon: Nova does not believe in the ends justifying the means. He will always strive to do what his heart says is right under any circumstances... consequences be damned.
  • Reading Your Rights: Richard does this to the Thunderbolts when they attack him. It confuses them, because from their point of view, they're trying to arrest him.
  • Reality Ensues: Sam bring home a huge chunk of gold in order to solve his family's money woes. The next morning his mom finds it, and points out that something that's been floating around in space is going to be covered in radiation, as illustrated by the fact that it's killing the grass around it.
  • Rogues Gallery: Not a huge one: Megaman, Powerhouse, the Condor, Diamondhead, the Corruptor, Garthan Saal (Supernova), and the Sphinx
  • Sanity Slippage: Part of the reason Richard didn't want to carry the whole of the Nova Force, since it previously happened to Garthan Saal, and one of the reasons why he's got the Worldmind in his head, so that it can prevent this.
    • As it turns out, Richard didn't need to worry about this. But the Worldmind did.
  • Secret Keeper: Sam Alexander's mom knew her husband was a Nova Corp member.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Since Namorita dies in the present, a time-traveling Richard refuses to leave her behind in the past, where she'll definitely meet the same fate.
  • The Seventies: The original series run.
  • Shout-Out: In a group shot of the Nova Corps, we can see a blue Pikachu.
  • Small Steps Hero: CONSTANTLY
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: After Annihilation and everything he went through there, Richard can't last even a day on Earth before deciding to leave again.
  • Super Speed
  • Super Strength
  • Took a Level in Badass: And how! From a guy who was the staple “reckless rookie who gets in the way” among the Marvel superheroes, Richard turned into a badass space hero who ripped Annihilus guts through his throat! Spidey even complimented Nova for reaching big league status by being an Avenger.
    • Since the Annihilation War, Nova has risen to become the defacto commander-in-chief for any organized resistance against major interstellar conflicts, with even the biggest and baddest that space has to offer deferring to him.
  • True Love Is Boring: Nova and Namorita just can't seem to work things out.
  • Unfortunate Names: Richard Rider. Given what "Richard" is usually shortened too, he better hope no one decides to call him by a nickname.
  • The Virus: Phalanx.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In the original 70s run, Jerk Jock character Mike Burley disappeared after turning himself over to the police, after being forced to work with the villain Yellow Claw. His name was mentioned in the 90s run but he was never seen again.
    • Also Garthan Saal, who appears during War of Kings, rescues the captured Shi'ar Nova Prime, and both have not been seen since
    • Every single member of his supporting cast, including his brother and other Nova Corp members, since the end of volume 4
  • Working with the Ex: Richard and Namorita during the later years of the original New Warriors.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Ko-Rel and her crew crash-landed on a distant planet during the Annihilation War, and just after they get a chance to escape and go home, a Brainwashed and Crazy Gamora kills them all.


Nick FuryFranchise/The AvengersQuicksilver
NextwaveMarvel Comics SeriesNth Man: The Ultimate Ninja
Norman OsbornMarvel Comics CharactersOmega The Unknown
Sub-MarinerCharacters/The AvengersQuasar
Omega The UnknownThe SeventiesLady Shiva

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