Richard Ryder has been through some stuff. There probably hasn’t been a young hero in the Big Two that’s been put through the wringer more than Nova. In Guardians of the Galaxy #6 Nova gets to explore that trauma in a much healthier way than most superhero comics do.
In this closing chapter to the first arc, we get deeper insight into Rich Ryder than we have since the Annihilation days. It’s a stunning character study full of revelations. It’s brought to us by Al Ewing, Marcio Takara, Federico Blee, and Cory Petit.
Nova sits down with a therapist. For the last five years or so of his life, he has been through wars, death, resurrections and loss. However, nothing could prepare him for confronting his most recent loss, and the personal revelations that come with it…
Downtime issues are often a mixed bag – sometimes they’re the best issue in a run, and others they’re just spinning wheels in between big plot points. Well Ewing has proved that he knows how to do these slower issues, and this one is no exception. It’s full of character reflection, and an exploration of trauma, which is a refreshing change of pace for any superhero, especially one like Nova who’s been through so much. The series of revelations that the issue reveals too is breathtaking, confirming two character’s sexuality, but then exploring a third in an unexpected but refreshing way.
Takara’s art has a much more rough line than regular artist Juann Cabal, but with the theme of the story, this works really well. He’s a very expressive artist, which allows Rich to emote, but also gives the big story beats throughout the issue great dynamic and emotional weight. He has a really solid sense of pacing as well, which really compliments this loaded script.
Blee’s colors are extremely expressive, with generally solid but straightforward colors in the main story, but a great use of solid colors in the heartbreaking childhood flashbacks. Petit is able to translate the talky script onto the page without overwhelming the art.
Overall, its one of the best single issues we’ve gotten ina long time. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Guardians of the Galaxy #6 is available now from Marvel Comics.