Richard Rider Is Not Dead

Nova (comics)

Nova (comics) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s been an exciting week for fans of Marvel’s cosmic universe. First, Marvel announce a brand-new Guardians of the Galaxy film heading to cinemas in 2014, and now it looks like cosmic hero Nova will play a huge part on the comic side of things as Marvel is set to include him in their new initiative ‘Marvel Now’. Could this be the return of Richard Rider?

When Marvel announced Nova would show up in their 2011 cross-over preview book ‘Point One‘, most fans assumed it was the return of fan-favourite Richard Rider. This was not the case as the book paved way for a new Nova known as Sam Alexander. Created by Jeph Loeb, it looks as if Nova has been reverted back to a teen-hero status in order to make the character more of an underdog as well as relatable.

Before his demise, Richard Rider’s abilities as Nova had risen to a level where he could pretty much take on Silver Surfer or a whole Kree fleet and hold his own. While Rider was incredibly powerful, it was the sentimental moments between Nova and his brother/parents that defined Dan Abnett/ Andy Lanning‘s run on Nova for me. At one point, Rider was essentially the Peter Parker of the cosmic universe.

With the real integrity of Rider’s story previously covered, what else is there for a writer to cover with Richard Rider? It could be argued when Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning finished with Nova during the 2010 cosmic event  ‘The Thanos Imperative‘ they killed off Richard Rider as a testament to their own work. After all, DnA’s run on Nova had taken Richard Rider from a teen-hero with confidence issues, to one of the most popular powerhouses in the Marvel Universe. Like Ed Brubaker had done with Bucky, DnA had pretty much made Richard Rider their own.

For a new Nova to work however, Rider simply has to be either alive or resurrected. When him and Guardians of the Galaxy leader, Star-Lord made their last stand against Thanos in ‘The Thanos Imperative’ Nova was left trapped in an alternative universe with the whole Nova Force (the energy that powers the Nova Corps) inside as well. Sam Alexander has to be drawing his power from some where, so it’s likely Richard Rider escaped the Cancer Verse, and just hasn’t made his return as of yet.

To further prove Sam Alexander is the new Nova for good, the character has recently debuted in the animated Ultimate Spider-Man television show. While the show hasn’t proved popular with fans, Marvel seem intent on making the show fall inline with their comic universe as much as possible highlighting that the new Nova is here to stay. What this could also suggest is that if there are any Nova plans in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I wouldn’t be surprised if they involved Sam Alexander and not Richard Rider.

With a new Nova, Loeb and Marvel have a chance to take the character back to his underdog roots, and make Nova relatable again. It also provides a welcome opportunity for Richard Rider to receive some new character development. With Sam Alexander being a teenager, Rider will probably act as a mentor for him and any other Nova corps that appear. Speaking of which, with Marvel’s new found importance on their cosmic universe, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Marvel launch a Nova Corps to rival DC’s extensive Green Lantern Corps.

I feel as if Jeph Loeb is coming under unfair criticism from Nova fans. Creatively, Nova is a hot property and taking on a character that was defined by Abnett and Lanning could see his project fail before it has even started. It’s also unfair to judge Loeb on making the new Nova in memory of his late son Sam Loeb, as all writers have to draw their stories from somewhere. While risky, it might give Loeb to motivation to put his recent poor form behind him and tell a good story.

While the rest of Marvel seems to have completely ignored Abnett and Lanning’s cosmic run, I will give Loeb or whatever writer who tries to reason the resurrection of The Guardians, Nova and Thanos enormous credit. We haven’t seen the last of Richard Rider. His time as Nova may be finished but for now, lets give Sam Alexander a chance.

    • Clark
    • July 19th, 2012

    “With a new Nova, Loeb and Marvel have a chance to take the character back to his underdog roots, and make Nova relatable again.”

    Again? Disagree with your there, and Marvel cancelled DnA’s stuff to make way for Bendis and Loeb cosmic. DnA just didn’t finish their run because they wanted to.

    If it’s not Richard Rider I’m no buying it! And I’m not buying Bendis GoTG, either!

    • Thanks for commenting and I agree with your point about Bendis and these so called “architects” of Marvel. I never wanted to see Bendis near a GoTG book either.

      My point is with Nova, he had become so powerful, if you put him on an Avengers team he would easily outpower the likes of Captain America, Thor, Iron Man etc. It was a good time for him to go. As seen in the new Infinite Comics #1, the new Nova is most definitely a rookie, which new readers jumping on the the Marvel Now reboot/unofficial reboot will relate to better than a hero who they haven’t seen before but is somehow more powerful than any other Avenger.

      Plus DnA’s run had all the best parts of Richard Rider’s story, such as the issues between him and his dad/brother, the Civil War fallout and the brilliant dynamic with Worldmind. I’d rather see Loeb try (perhaps fail) with his own Nova, instead of tarnishing the one DnA spent years building into one of Marvel’s best characters.

    • Dean
    • July 19th, 2012

    The only problem with your whole premise is they could have easily rebuilt the nova corps which would take Novas power level down to whatever level they wanted to based on how many other novas there were. They could have kept RIder as nove prime but added 100 other novas which would have taken Richs power level down to thors level. Not to mention even at his level before dying, there were plenty of characters fo rhim to fight. Remember he was cosmic, there are plenty of Alpha level bad guys out there. Add to that yoru whole mentor role thign had been doen already within the last nova comic, they could have continued that easily. This was done becasue they do not care about the faithfull all they care about is what they want. I will not be buying this new nova. Nova is Richard Rider not Sam Alexander.

    • Thanks for commenting. Sorry for late reply, been on Internet black-out to avoid Dark Knight Rises spoilers. I see where you’re coming from, but I still stand by my point that the meat of Richard Rider’s story as Nova has been covered. It’s like Winter Soldier under Ed Brubaker. Once Brubaker wraps up his run, no writer will dare try and write a Winter Soldier book. As much as I hate to say it, Marvel are aiming this Marvel Now at new readers and kids. For Nova to work, they need a blank canvas to work with. Rider’s story as Nova has been told.

    • Kalen Rann
    • August 6th, 2012

    Richard Rider would not have been out of place in the Avengers.
    The Avengers have had members of immence power on the team for years (Thor, Hercules, Wonder Man, Red Hulk, Quasar…etc) and they fit in perfectly and considering that Thor and Sentry can fight the Silver Surfer on equal terms, the idea that Nova out powered them is false.

    Richard would have been a great Avenger if Marvel had given him the chance. There would have been no difficulty in how to write him into an Avengers book. And if there was any problems (which I and many Marvel Cosmic fans doubt) he could have been written as a reserve member.

    To think that DnA had covered everything concerning Richard Rider is a mistake. They had nowhere near finished with him and his characterization, as well as the rebuilding of the Corps. They had a great many stories to tell. The fate of Malik Tarcel & Garthan Saal was but one.

    As for Sam Alexander, well like the rest of the Marvel Cosmic fans I think the character is a slap in the face.
    I could understand if he was an Ultimate Marvel character made for that universe like Miles Morales was. That would be tolerable, but to just bring him in and say he’s Nova, well no thanks.

    And if it is revealed that Richard is acting as a mentor to NINO wouldn’t it have made sense to empower his brother instead of some nobody.
    We all saw how talented Robert is with the Nova Force both as himself and his dimensional counterpart Nova 0:0.
    To make him Nova would have been logical and easier to swallow.

    • I agree, I don’t think Sam Alexander cuts it in terms of character based on what we’ve seen in the Point One books and the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon. I do still stand by my point that for Marvel Now to feature Nova, it would have been too convoluted bringing Richard Rider back.

      It’s like the Avengers Assemble series by Bendis where Star Lord and the Guardians of the Galaxy are back with no explanation at all with how they survived the Thanos Imperative. It’s insulting to long-term readers, but at the same time introducing these characters to new readers with an info-dump on how they escaped death wouldn’t be ideal.

      Reintroducing Richard Rider as Nova, with an explanation needed for how he escaped a Cancerverse in a book not many people have read wouldn’t have worked. Using Rich’s brother wouldn’t work either, considering new readers would have no idea what’s gone on with the character in the past, and the best bits between them Dna covered.

      A new Nova basically represents the new reader’s point of view, where they are being introduced/reintroduced to the cosmic side of Marvel for the first time. This way, it’s far easier to bring back Richard Rider later on when Sam evidently goes looking for the last Nova Prime.

    • Anthony DeStefano
    • September 22nd, 2012

    Admit it. Nobody likes change. Especially when it involves a character that has been around forever where we watched him grow and evolve. Its a tough pill to swallow when the Marvel brass decide to move in another direction (as happens often. Look at marvel movie reboots. We are on Bruce Banner #3 for cryin out loud)

    I am not opposed to change, but it is the manner in which change is delivered that i sometimes become upset. Marvel rarley gets it right with B-list characters. They fail to realize that when we pick up the next Amazing spider-man, we also grab books of other, lesser known characters that work to expand the ever increasing Marvelverse ( which is the staple of why Marvel is by far superior -continuity!). Without these chcharacters to deliver the side stories and contribute to the picture as a whole, most of these books would not be as good.

    I feel that the change to a new Nova would be much better recieved if we saw it as a transfer of power story line, rather than another reboot. It is almost disrespectful to the fans (consumers if you want to be technical) that invest their money into reading how their favorite characters struggle and evolve. Its like Marvel does not care about the current fans, but more about attracting new ones.

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