The Human Rocket!



Written By Desi LaSalle

Do you have a favorite superhero that you believe is super cool, yet has never quite reached their full potential? A character that hasn’t been promoted by the comic industry in the right way? Well I do, his name is Nova, aka Richard Rider. He was created by Marv Wolfman and John Buscema in September of 1976. Rider was an average teenager who was granted the Nova Force to become protector of earth and the universe, back then they called him “The Human Rocket!” The first thing that made an impact on me was his costume, it was awesome! It had a great cosmic look and you immediately thought of him  as a mayor player. Also, Richard Rider was portrayed as a regular guy, with girl troubles, problems at high school, his family and of course, becoming a superhero.


The first solo series that Nova had only lasted 21 issues. Even though nearly every marvel hero appeared in his comic, sales were still not very good. Personally, I loved the book, but my only complaint was the lackluster villains Nova had to face, such as The Corrupter, Condor, Diamondhead and Megaman. During this time, a big highlight for Nova was the story-line in which he became involved in the Skrull War with Xandar, home of the Nova Corps. Appearing in the pages of Fantastic Four, we could see flashes of brilliance as to how this character could be portrayed with proper writing and an interesting story-line to accompany it. Afterwards, for a time, Nova was in creative limbo until resurfacing in the pages of The New Warriors. It was within The New Warriors where Nova blossomed as a character, with stunning art by Mark Bagley and great story-lines as well. Nova was depicted here alongside Justice, Speedball, Namorita, Speedball and Night Thrasher. During this time we see Nova develop a romance with Namorita and blossom as a character and hero with great backstories. What is also bestowed upon us is a multitude of villains that lead Nova in to becoming the main character in Marvel’s Annihilation, in which we see Nova come across such Marvel characters as the Guardians of the Galaxy, The Silver Surfer and Galactus.


Shortly thereafter, Nova becomes a galactic policeman, actively involved in many Marvel story-lines, such as Secret Invasion, The Kree-Shiar War, The Thanos Imperative and Original Sin. It is in this story-line that Nova has met his apparent end? (Nobody stays dead in comics!) These days there is a “new” Nova with his own series, named Sam Alexander, and ironically is a member of the Avengers. For me personally, my one and only “Nova” is Richard Rider, the average joe struggling with his everyday life and trying to live up to the term of being a superhero. I would love for Marvel to have Nova back in some way, shape or form. With the right artist and writer, I really believe he could be a major player in the Marvel universe. Meanwhile I guess I will have to just keep reading my old back issues and leave the rest to my imagination, who knows maybe Marvel will take a shot and give him his own movie in Phase IV!





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