REVIEW: Nova #10 – “Journey to the Stars”

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NOVA #10
Writer: Sean Ryan
Artist: Cory Smith
Colorist: Andre Mossa
Letterer: Comicraft’s Albert Deschesne
Release Date: 08/31/16
Price: $3.99

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Plot: What are you doing this summer? If you’re Sam Alexander Nova, you are heading to space to find the source of your Nova powers. Sam made a promise to his mom with every other Nova either dead or missing that he will find out the source of his powers or give them up.

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Story: The strongest element to the Sam Alexander Nova series has always been the humanity. Sam isn’t some guy in space having adventures without a care in the world. Sam is just a young boy who is in search of who he is and what his place in not just the world but, the universe.

Throughout the few series he has been in Sam has been focused on his father, discovering his past as a Nova, finding out he is still alive, and searching for him. All of these are journeys that young men go through, but most don’t include a cool helmet that turns him into a high-flying space faring superhero. This issue though takes a look at the powers, not the boy, and at the same time make it another coming-of-age story for Sam.

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I know a lot of people talk about whether a hero should reveal his/her identity to their friends, and I have always been in the middle. I think certain friends, that “Scooby Gang” if you will should be in the know, and I think this new series has finally given Sam that group to start those ties with. This issue though kind of rushes to get to that point, or at least the precursor to it. But I can not blame it on Sean Ryan, as it is clearly because this volume of Nova is getting ready to wrap up so the Marvel NOW! series with Sam and Richard Rider as co-leads can begin.

Art: Cory Smith does a real good job on the art, while it isn’t that super realistic style I usually favor, it does have great details. The details really shine with the characters. Usually in a teen book that uses a school setting, most of the kids fit a cookie cutter template, or a few. You have the popular kids that all look the same, and the non-popular kids that all look the same, but Smith doesn’t fall into that trap.

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Everyone of Sam’s friends and even the background kids have a personality all of their own that you can really get through the art, and adds great visual diversity. Kids at this age are all about self expression and Smith does a great job with that. I found myself going through the background images thinking “What are they doing back there?” Now that wasn’t because the foreground was boring or bland, but the background characters intrigued me as much as the ones in the foreground did. That to me is great art, because it engages beyond the key imagery.

Smith also does a great job with their facial and body expressions, really capturing everything they are going through. This can be seen the best in two scenes. The first is when Sam is trying to deny that he is Nova, you can almost feel how desperate he is to keep his identity a secret. The second is when he hugs his mom goodbye. The love conveyed in the art is just spectacular.

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Andre Mossa really brings a punch to the art with the colors. The colors completely compliment and enhance the youthful energy of Smith’s art making every page burst with color and energy. When you see Sam flying in space, the colors are what draw you in and makes you feel as if you are almost watching your favorite Saturday morning cartoon. It is also the distinct color palettes used on Earth, and on the alien worlds, that really bring each to life, making them look distinct.  

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Verdict: Overall I really enjoyed this issue of Nova and can’t wait to see where this journey leads him, not with his powers but on his true journey of self discovery. Nova is one of the most consistently solid books from Marvel. No matter the company-wide rebranding, Sam’s adventures have been a constant enjoyment to read.

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