Mild Spoilers Ahead
Nova Richard Rider reflects on his history as a hero as he stands before Annihilus, now pleading for Richard’s help. The Cancerverse has returned and overtaken the Negative Zone, quickly demonstrated by the undead alien insects that emerge to attack Nova. After casting the ship that carried them into the nearby star, Nova agrees to help Annihilus get home to the Negative Zone. This proves tougher than expected, and the two must seek help from Franklin and Valeria Richards on Earth to open a portal. Upon returning to the Negative Zone, they find a world burning and a few of Annihilus’ subjects hiding on a moon. This new encounter with the Cancerverse gives Nova the opportunity to take out his built-up rage with the way his superhero career has turned out.
Annihilation Scourge: Nova #1 finds Richard Rider making allies with the one you’d least expect: Annihilus, the Living Death that Walks. Notably, Nova slew Annihilus at the end of the first Annihilation tale years ago.
To that end, Richard oscillates between killing Annihilus and leaving him to die in the Negative Zone. Of course, Nova opts to help the people of the Negative Zone in the end.
Annihilation Scourge aptly illustrates how tragic Richard’s life has turned out, and that tragedy is a recurring theme in the comic. He’s watched the Nova Corps die out thrice over, he fought numerous cosmic wars that ended in him receiving seemingly eternal torment in the Cancerverse, and he’s now an outcast on the far side of the universe with one of his greatest foes pleading for his help.
There’s a moment where Annihilus admits to not remembering that Richard Rider is the Nova Corpsman that killed him that’s partially played for laughs–but it’s also a pretty deep cut into Richard. Even his enemies don’t remember him, leaving his efforts, at least seemingly, fruitless.
Rich does get to cut loose on some Cancerverse monstrosities, and that’s awesome. The ending is vague but solid–it’s built on an emotional breaking point for Nova.
Ibraim Roberson’s artwork is fantastic. He gives the book ample detail, and he gives Nova the classic heroic figure and posture. Annihilus has scarcely looked more grotesque, and the action sequences look duly epic. Carlos Lopez’s color work suits the cosmic setting of the book perfectly.
I fell in love with Richard Rider during the Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning series of cosmic crossovers, and it is quite sad seeing the great cosmic hero left feeling so small and worthless. That said, I can’t deny it makes for some engaging storytelling. As such, I gotta say, Annihilation Scourge: Nova #1 earns my recommendation for sure. Check it out.
Annihilation Scourge: Nova #1 comes to us from writer Matthew Rosenberg, artist Ibraim Roberson, color artist Carlos Lopez, letterer VC’s Cory Petit, cover artist Josemaria Casanovas, and variant cover artist Eduard Petrovich.
Final Score: 8/10