By Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (writers), Andrea DiVito (artist), Bruno Hang (colorist)

Some Thoughts Before the Review: Being a die-hard, loyal Green Lantern fan, it goes without saying that I love a good space story.  It’s with some bewilderment though that I confess I’ve never been a huge fan of Marvel’s space faring heroes.  Sure, I devoured Infinity Gauntlet like everyone else, but haven’t touched this corner of the Marvel Universe until I started hearing good things about their Annihilation storyline.  That feedback, coupled with Abnett’s amazing storytelling, has persuaded me to pay closer attention to Marvel’s cosmic comics.

The Story: In the wake of the “War of Kings”, Nova pursues Darkhawk, his friend and alleged assassin, to the outworld Shard in search of answers regarding his involvement in the murder of the Shi’ar Empress Lilandra.

The Good: I can honestly say I was not expecting to like Nova as much as I did, but this issue made me hungry for more of Marvel’s cosmic continuity (yes, I know I’m abusing the alliteration here, but it’s so much fun I can’t resist!).  I first came to Abnett’s work through his efforts for Black Library’s Warhammer 40k games and books, and easily consider him to be one of the finest writers I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.  Why it’s taken me this long to get into his comics is beyond me but I’m glad I finally did.  Abnett crafts intelligent, dynamic stories that boldly venture into the unexplored corners of Marvel’s universe and create a new mythology from the ground up.  Through his care, Richard Rider is one of the most engaging characters in Marvel right now.  A young man of unimaginable power, he is tasked with protecting not a city, a country, or even a world, but the entire universe, and in this issue you really feel the weight of that burden as Nova must continue building the ranks of his Nova Corp even as he attempts to apprehend the friend who has been branded a galactic assassin.  This issue walks a fine tightrope between being rich in continuity and accessible to the new reader like me, and that is a damn rare quality to find in a comic.

The Not So Good: If it looks like the art in this issue was utterly breathtaking, take a look again and you’ll realize it was Hang’s brilliant colors that you were really admiring.  DiVito’s art was lifeless and not very interesting to look at, seeming to exist only to give Hang a chance to make it look better than it deserves to be through his beautiful palette.  The confrontation(s) between Nova and Darkhawk were also strangely anticlimactic, with a whole lot of nothing actually happening once you stopped to think about it.

Conclusion: Stellar writing and a richly-developed universe has convinced me that Nova is entertainment worth following.

Grade:  C+

-Tony Rakittke