I have to give Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning credit, they did a good job of selling "Nova" to me with this issue. I knew the character from the Fabian Nicieza and Mark Bagley run on "New Warriors" back in the day, but recently my only exposure to the character has been through "War of Kings." With the crossover having wound down, though, I thought I'd give the "Nova" ongoing book a chance. I mistakenly thought this would be the first part of a new story, when it's in fact the last part of a story. But happily, that didn't matter.
Abnett and Lanning made me feel like I was up to speed on everything that happened in "Nova" #28; considering I haven't read #1-27, that's no small feat. There aren't any huge exposition dumps (although the recap page certainly helps), but instead Abnett and Lanning achieve it through a conversational, easy-going writing style and narration. The characters keep the reader informed as to what's going on, while never slowing down the pace or making it feel out-of-place.
This issue deals not only with the fallout from "War of Kings" but also continues a story about building a new Nova Corps. It's fun to see Richard Ryder interacting with others who have similar powers, and his talk about how to best build up the Nova Corps makes sense. We also get to see him engage in diplomacy, something that shows how much the characters has grown up since those early "New Warriors" days when he was the team's hot head. Abnett and Lanning easily convince me that not only is Nova a good leader for the Corps, but that at the same time he's still the Richard Ryder that I enjoyed reading about all those years ago. Best of all, the lead-in to next month's issue makes me want to read more.
Andrea DiVito's is simple and smooth, a far cry from the days when he was having to ape Bart Sears's style over at CrossGen. It's a little too simple in places, but on the whole it's not bad. It has a strong sense of storytelling and moves the reader's eye from one panel to the next with ease, and the best moments are when DiVito focuses tightly on a character's face. That's where we get some real expression, and convinces me that DiVito has what it takes to bring Abnett and Lanning's script to life.
If you're like me and only just wandered into Marvel's space titles via "War of Kings," I think "Nova" is the book to tide you over for the time being. It's fun and has that same sort of punch that "War of Kings" did, with just the right mix of normalcy and weirdness. Congratulations, Abnett and Lanning, you just picked up another reader.