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Marvel Legends
by yo go re

In 1966, comics professional Marv Wolfman was not yet a comics professional - he was just a comics fan, publishing his own fanzine, Super Adventures. In issue #6, he introduced a new hero, Black Nova. A decade later, Wolfman tweaked the character slightly and introduced him to the Marvel Universe as just plain Nova.

It was pure chance that granted Richard Rider his fragment of the cosmic power known as the Nova Force. He was just some smart-​aleck kid from Queens, dreaming the same other big dreams as everyone else. The closest he'd ever been to being a superhero was seeing the Avengers' Quinjet once in a while. Since the day he felt that first rush of power, he's traveled the universe and battled against and alongside some of the most powerful creatures in the known universe. He has turned back the aggression of entire star empires, and become the last survivor of an annihilated culture. His power enhanced by the absorption of the entire Nova Force and the Xandorian Worldmind, he serves now as a final bulwark against perhaps the greatest threat our universe has ever faced.

When he was first introduced, Nova was pretty much a rip-off of Green Lantern: random 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.

Nova is this series' requisite repaint of the Bullseye body, so we have nothing new to tell you about the sculpt or articulation. It's the same as we've had for four years now. Well, two years; he has the oversized waist piece that first showed up on Quicksilver. Nova's worn a handful of different costumes over the years, and this one is based, more or less, on the one he wore as a member of the New Warriors. There are a few elements missing, such as the stripes on the outsides of his legs and the large star in the center of his back (and his hands should be gold, not blue), but it's nothing so major as to ruin the representation.

It's a bit disappointing that Nova's helmet is merely a molded part of his head. When ToyBiz released their Nova figure in 1998 (renamed "SuperNova" to avoid confusion with the other Nova, Galactus' herald, who'd been released prior [this being in a line based on the Silver Surfer cartoon series, naturally]), he had a removable helmet. He was even one of the few figures with that feature who didn't end up with a tiny pinhead. The star on his forehead sticks out awfully far - at least he's not cross-eyed.

The paint is good, though I do wish they'd gone with yellow rather than flat gold - paired with the navy blue, it ends up looking like an ugly green. Like Iron Man, he was always depicted with yellow rather than actual gold, meaning this figure doesn't look quite right. The three starbursts on his chest, which represent the three worlds that founded the Nova Corps, are crisp, but if you move his chest joint all the way back, you can see a gap in the lines. Of course, if they'd wanted to give him a variant, they could have switched the blue for red, matching his first Earth-made costume.

Nova's only accessory is the right leg of Nemesis, the Build-A-Figure for this long-delayed series. At 4¼" tall, it's not all that much bigger than one of Nova's legs, but it definitely has bulk thanks to its armored design. Like all the other pieces, the leg is trans yellow with red spots painted on the surface. It moves at the ankle, knee and hip.

After several years of obscurity, Nova recently returned to prominence during the Annihilation crossover. He was sporting a new costume, as well, so a lot of fans were disappointed that this figure showed him in his classic look instead. But to be fair, the original design lasted through the '70s, '80s and '90s (mostly) unchanged, so it's a lot more recognizable than the one he's worn for three years. Plus, as complex as that one is, there's no way they could have gotten away with just making him a repaint.

-- 01/04/10

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