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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

It takes a long time to get here from space.

Chosen by the last surviving member of an elite intergalactic defense force, Richard Rider ascends from humble origins to continue the battle as Nova.

When he was first introduced, Nova was pretty much a rip-off of Green Lantern: random Earth schmuck, powers transferred from a dying alien, part of a large interplanetary police force... the only thing missing was the color green, yet you have to think that his wearing yellow and blue was at least a nod to that. (Yes, Marvel's Nova is based on an old fan character, but that one wore black and had a different origin; it was only the one with the GL backstory that dressed like this.)

Hasbro made a Nova before, in the first Guardians of the Galaxy line, but that was in his modern costume; before that, they made the classic costume in their early days, back when they didn't quite have a handle on things yet, so this is definitely a needed update. Breaking news: thing designed now better than thing designed more than a decade ago! Who'd'a thunk it!

Although the sculpt is about the same size as Hasbro's "small male" body, only the arms are reused - the rest is new. The shins are slightly larger than the rest of the legs, to suggest boots more than a simple line of paint would do. The bracers on his forearms, though? Totally just paint. Same for the belt, and the constellation symbol on his chest. He does get new shoulder flares, done in the "separate pieces held on by the arms" style. Seriously, we will never stop thanking War Machine for introducing that idea. The Nova Corps crest on his helmet has a very shrap mold, so it's molded from very soft plastic for safetey's sake. Looks great!

Not as great? The paint. The last Nova used a warm, golden yellow; this one uses the same sort of pukey green-gold as the one from a decade ago. That was 100% the wrong choice. If you're not going to just make the gold parts yellow, like the comics do, then you need to pick a yellow that isn't going to visually absorb the sea of blue it's set against. And as long as we're talking paint apps, he's supposed to have a single large starburst icon in the middle of his back, not the blank slate presented here. The figure includes your choice of fists or flat hands for flying poses.

Like Obsidian Surfer, Nova gets an insert with a cool, comicbooky space scene behind him. Neat! He also gets a pack-in second character, something we don't see much of these days! Fans, meet Qubit, a synthorganic being of the Manufactured Harmonites. A living robot, in other words. Like the Transformers! He just looks like a floating Nova Corps helmet with the three Nova dots at the bottom, but those things on his sides are technically arms. Or at least he can wave them around like arms. In the comic - they're just part of the single solid mold, here. He has a clear stand to make him hover, but he does not have any paint for his eyes inside the helmet. Bummer. If you think a little robot is an unexpected choice to be a Nova, wait until you hear about Fraktur, who's from the same alien race as Fin Fang Foom!

Walgreens was planning sort of a "cosmic heroes" theme for its exclusives in 2021, but that was slightly undercut by them only being able to get two figures out in the entire year. (Quasar and Binary have been... pushed back? Cancelled? Time will tell.) But between this figure, Firestar, and Night Thrasher, we're actually pretty well on our way to a complete New Warriors team. Heck, throw Rage and Darkhawk in there, too. Nova's a good exclusive, but his paint could be better.

-- 01/24/22

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