Posts Tagged ‘ Jeph Loeb ’

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.

Why Nova Is The Best Character Marvel Have Right Now

Why sometimes taking a chance on an unknown character can do wonders for the comic book fan…

Nova (comics)

Image via Wikipedia

I really didn’t know much about Nova until late last year. To me, he just seemed like a Marvel rip-off of Green Lantern. Cocky superhero, check. Intergalactic police force. Check. There comes a time though when it gets boring seeing characters like Wolverine and Spider-Man dominating the market. A change was needed, and for me it was Richard Rider.

Nova (Richard Rider) is a superhero in the cosmic side of the Marvel universe. Upon becoming a member of the galaxy’s Nova Corps (an intergalactic police force), Rider gained enhanced strength, flight, injury resistance, energy projection and a specialized uniform with life support.

I decided to take a gamble and bought a Nova trade (Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning) as it had received some rave reviews on Amazon. Taking it with an open mind however, I still didn’t know if it was going to be for me. To my delight, Nova instantly struck me as a fantastic hero. What I liked was that he was just an ordinary guy thrust into the cosmic side of the Marvel universe. The character had some amazing powers and lot of weight and responsibility on his shoulders. Not to mention his fantastic dynamic with his inbuilt super-intelligent Worldmind computer. His first arc, post Marvel’s Annihilation event stands as the best comic book I’ve read in over a year. Better yet, Marvel’s Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso promises we will see more of Nova in 2012 as Avengers Vs X-Men heats up. Whether or not it’s Richard Rider remains to be seen

What originally inspired me to do this post is how Sony are willing to give Ghost Rider a mediocre sequel, yet no studio has yet to capitalise on giving Nova a feature film. The character rights for Nova are owned by Marvel Studio, so using him would be a great way to development their cosmic universe for future movies. With Green Lantern failing to impress, now is a great opportunity to stake a claim in cosmic superheroes. Providing the casting was solid, Richard Rider would be a more relatable character for viewers. He’s more of a likeable character than Hal Jordan, but still maintains a charismatic edge. The dynamic between him and his computer Worldmind would provide humour with a great dynamic, similar to what was done with JARVIS and Tony Stark in the Iron Man films. If there were any doubts over whether or not Nova would be a viable movie franchise, Marvel still has the opinion of incorporating him into a Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

He’s not having the best of luck in comics right now, but I urge any comic book readers to pick up the Nova trades. They have everything you could want in a comic book, space battles, high-octane action, comedy and even a lot of drama. I would love to see Marvel create a movie for Nova. It can’t be any worse than Green Lantern…

Deconstructing: The New Ultimate Spider-Man

Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man

Image via Wikipedia

The death of Ultimate Peter Parker has been one of the most talked about events in comic books recently, but more importantly, Marvel have finally unveiled who will replace the web-slinger, and it’s a half-black, half-Hispanic 13 year old known as Miles Morales. Astonishingly, the news that Ultimate Comics Spider-Man was being replaced reached high profile media outlets such as Fox News, The New York Times and USA Today. It’s great the comic book industry is getting lots of media attention, but is that the only reason behind the push for diversity?

The Marvel Ultimate universe is commonly known as the testing ground for Marvel comics. The Ultimate universe was originally created by writers Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Millar, as a fresh start to attract new readers, without being bogged down by years of continuity. Years later, the Ultimate universe took a dip in quality when writer Jeph Loeb, killed off most of the existing characters in the disaster event known as ‘Ultimatum‘. Since then, the Ultimate universe has suffered in quality, therefore its purpose now seems to be to serve as a testing ground for new ideas.

I consider the decision to put a half-black, half-Hispanic character in the role of Spider-Man as nothing more than a publicity stunt. Yes, it’s good to give attention to the minorities that might feel overlooked in mainstream media, considering the growing diversity in the USA, but there is a far better way to do that then putting established iconic characters as minorities. Two of my favourite Marvel characters are Luke Cage and Sam Wilson (The Falcon), who both represent the African-American/Black minorities. These characters are well-established comic book characters, and are more than capable of headlining their own books. The comic book industry needs more characters like them. Luke Cage did originally appear to represent a very corny, stereotypical view of a black superhero, but Marvel learnt from that and gave him a much-needed new look. Years later, and he finally looks like he has his own movie on the way.

Miles is always going to be known as ‘the other Spider-Man’ who lives in Peter Parker’s shadow. He should have been given his own superhero identity, allowing diversity in comics to finally breakthrough from previous stereotypes (Luke Cage’s original yellow outfit). If Marvel introduced Miles Morales as a brand new character headlining his own series, I’m sure that would of eventually taken off, allowing Marvel to later introduce Miles to the mainstream Marvel Universe.

But that wouldn’t have got them as much media attention, which tells you everything you need to know.

 

 

Emotion In Comic Books

Steve Rogers' presumed death. Art by Steve Epting.

Image via Wikipedia

It’s summer time, meaning both major comic book outlets, Marvel and DC have their annual crossover events in full motion. DC is providing a truly special event in Flashpoint, whill Marvel is putting out the lackluster Fear Itself. With summer crossover events, some characters will likely be killed off in order to add gravitas and emotion to the story. This year comic book deaths have gone into overdrive as Marvel have killed off The Human Torch, Bucky Barnes and Ultimate Spider-Man, and the question I ask is, what’s the point?

Comic book deaths rarely generate any type of emotion. This is largely because the dead character will likely be revived in a year or two, as the publishers can’t resist keeping a character dead as they can’t profit from dead characters. Take the death of Captain America in 2007. Originally perceived to be a story representing post 9-11 hysteria, the world was shocked when Steve Rogers was gunned down. This was an actual comic book death that had emotion. It was realistic and gritty.  Steve Rogers had fought for his civil rights during Mark Millar’s mega-event Civil War, only to be gunned down after surrendering on the steps of the courthouse. It was a comic book death that literally symbolized that America was being governed by hysteria and chaos…

Yet all that drama and gravitas was retconned in 2009 in Captain America: Reborn. Marvel took their most effective character death, and retconned into a time traveling adventure. Instead of being dramatically gunned down, Steve Rogers was trapped in time after being hit by a special time bullet. In a single stroke any emotion surrounding his death had been destroyed. The same can be said for his former partner, Bucky Barnes, who took up the mantle of Captain America when Steve was gunned down.

Recently (spoiler alert) Bucky Barnes was struck down and killed by the Red Skull‘s daughter Sin. Marvel expected fans to be shocked and they were, at how poorly Bucky’s death had been executed. For one of Marvel’s most popular characters, Bucky’s death has hardly been featured in any comic books since Fear Itself #3. Not even the recently re-launched Captain America comic series mentioned his death. It seems Marvel literally killed Bucky off to get Steve back in the suit.

DC is no better though. Bruce Wayne was apparently killed in Grant Morrison‘s mega event Final Crisis, only to be brought back to life through time travel. To add to the sell-out, Bruce will be returning to the mantle of the one and only Batman, as Dick Grayson reverts back to Nightwing in the DC universe  New 52 reboot come September. DC have also pointlessly recently resurrected the Golden Age Flash Barry Allen. What confuses me behind this retcon is that the modern Flash Wally West had become a far more engaging character than Barry ever was.

Why can’t DC and Marvel limit the amount of comic deaths so that the death of a character becomes more significant? If both publishers keep promising character fatalities to promote their events, any integrity of the books will soon diminish. DC is pushing the panic buttons by rebooting. It’s a safe choice, but things look bad for Marvel. They could be going down a slippery road. They butchered the once outstanding Ultimate Universe by handing it over to Jeph Loeb, who killed off nearly every character for shock value in the disaster known as Ultimatum. Mainstream Marvel has killed off their most interesting character just to coincide with Captain America: The First Avenger.

Marvel need to slow down with the comic book deaths, or it won’t be too long until fans start calling for a total reboot. The existing universe can still be salvaged, but both outlets can’t keep using character deaths to promote their events. It’s become nothing more than a cheap gimmick.