Nova Trumps Wolverine: Origins

Hmmm…That Looks Interesting

The weekly trip to the comic shop can be daunting. There are a multitude of titles every week and wading through all of the books can be a real hassle. This column is dedicated to the impulse buy. I take those weekly books I grab on Wednesday morning at the local shop and share what I think of them with all of you. Maybe it’ll help you decide if it is something you want to check out.

Annihilation: Nova #1

The third miniseries in Marvel’s Annihilation series of books is definitely my personal favorite so far. I picked up the Annihilation Prologue book as an impulse buy last month and was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Now, I have never been a fan of cosmic stories. I like my comics to take place on Earth in situations that relate to my own personal experience, but this preference has not stopped me from picking up the first issues of the Annihilation minis. Silver Surfer left me cold. Super Skrull has potential, but the character does not interest me. The first issue of Nova, however, was quite a strong book that has me excited for the remaining issues.

Nova is a character with which I have limited experience. My only exposure to the character was in the original New Warriors series. I just recently picked up the Essentials collection Marvel put out but have yet to dive into it. (I have to read Essential Godzilla first.) Nova’s character in New Warriors always somewhat appealed to me. Some people will say Nova is Marvel’s ripoff version of Green Lantern and they may be correct. I mean, his civilian identity of Richard Ryder got his powers when a dying alien gave them to him. That alien was part of a space police force called the Nova Corps which all derive their power from the Nova Force. Okay…so it sounds a lot like Green Lantern. But that doesn’t mean the character is worthless. All it takes is a good writer and story to make the character shine.

Enter Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.

Abnett and Lanning are a writing team that has never failed to entertain me. One of my favorite series ever was the underrated Resurrection Man from DC Comics. Within that series, Abnett and Lanning wrote what is one of my favorite comic stories of all time, the Hitman storyline. So there is really no surprise I truly enjoyed the first issue of Nova.

Abnett and Lanning present a Nova I care about. Actually, I should say they present a Richard Ryder I care about. In this issue, Abnett and Lanning really begin what looks to be a great step in the development of Ryder as a individual character. They write the character with a good sense of humor and a questioning personality that really benefits the reader, especially the reader that did not read the Annihilation Prologue.

There may be a good amount of exposition in this issue but Abnett and Lanning do it in an excellent way that both informs the reader and progresses the story.

The artwork by penciler Kev Walker, inker Rick Magyar and colors Bryan Reber are better than I expected from a relatively unknown group. British penciler Walker’s work is really wonderful in this first issue. It reminds me of the work Charlie Adlard is doing in The Walking Dead but with more of a focus on action. My biggest complaint is the way Nova’s face looks when he has his helmet off. He looks like a man in his early forties, not a character in his twenties. Walker also designs a new costume for Nova in this issue and, while I really like the original, I do not dislike the new design.

I will definitely be picking up the rest of this miniseries and I encourage anyone to go out and grab this first issue and see what you think. Even if you do not like cosmic stories, I suggest you try this book out.


Wolverine: Origins #1

The second impulse buy I picked up this week was also a Marvel book, Wolverine: Origins. I have not read a Wolverine book since about the time he lost his adamantium and I thought I would give this one a go. Wolverine: Origins received quite a bit of online chatter when it was first announced. Fans were concerned that Wolverine should not have a second ongoing series. Fans complain Wolverine already appears in too many books in any given month and that he appears to be a member of every Marvel superteam. Wolverine got his memories back as a result of House of M and this book is supposed to begin the process of cleaning up Wolverine’s complicated past.

The series is being written by Marvel up and comer, Daniel Way. I really enjoyed the Nighthawk miniseries that recently ended, but Way did not impress me very much here. It may be that I cannot get into a Wolverine book. Wolverine always seemed to work better in a group situation. His personality is such that he needs others to play against. I learned nothing about the character in this first issue, and I have an awful feeling this is going to be the way the entire series goes.

The art on the other hand is wonderful and the main reason I picked up the book. Steve Dillon is one of the greatest artists working in the field today. I have been following his work since his Hellblazer run, and Preacher is one of the greatest comics ever produced. I believe Dillon is the best “character” artist in the business. His ability at drawing faces and expressions is second to none. I really think I got just as much out of this book by looking at the art and not reading the words. That says quite a lot about Dillon’s abilities. It really hurts that the story is so poor that I feel I will not be picking up the book and will be missing Dillon’s great work. Unfortunately, story comes first, and a book with great art but a poor story will be passed over by me every time.

I have to talk about a few SPOILERS here so do not read this paragraph if you do not wish to be spoiled. A Shiva robot shows up in this issue seemingly hunting Wolvey. Are these things really still around? Its appearance gave me bad flashbacks to early-nineties Wolverine stories. I fully expected annoying little Jubilee to show up and shoot off some fireworks. The reveal on the final page really pissed me off. Nuke? Really? So we are taking a character from one of my favorite stories of all time, a character that served both a narrative and politically important purpose at the time and seemingly turning him into someone who will be tracking down Wolverine? No thank you. I’ll pass. Give me a red, indeed. END SPOILERS.

So it is safe to say I will not be picking up the newest Wolverine series. Regular Wolverine readers may enjoy the book but it does not work for me. I guess I will just have to get my Wolverine fix from the other 15 Marvel books he will be appearing in each month.

RATING 5/10 (the 5 is solely for Dillon)

Next week I will be reviewing…oh wait…I won’t know until I go into the shop to see if something catches my eye. What trash could I possibly be picking up next week? Or what treasure could I get into my grubby mitts? It’s a crap shoot! Come back next week and see, and maybe you too will say, “Hmmm…that looks interesting.”

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