By Eric Drumm
Imagine you go off to war to stop an unimaginable evil. After all your fellow soldiers fall in battle, you single-handedly save the universe. With all their combined power, you return to Earth only to find that your family thinks you're dead, all your friends actually are dead and the whole country hates you! If you think all that sounds like a nightmare, thank the stars you're not Nova.
Flying off into space to aid his fellow Xandarian Centurions in the pages of ANNIHILATION, Richard Rider--an ordinary young guy from Long Island who years ago was drafted into the Nova Corps--has been off world for a while. He left his New Warriors teammates, who at the time were in between seasons of their superhero reality show, to answer the call of the Nova Corps. A galactic super-cop above all else, Nova fought long and hard in the war against Annihilus. The war brought about the deaths of Quasar and Thanos, along with the entire Nova Corps, but Nova managed to end the destruction by tearing Annihilus inside out--literally. While his power is at its utmost peak, the man under the Nova helmet is battered and bruised physically and mentally. Requiring a respite, Richard heads back to Earth.
Arriving back home to Long Island, NY in NOVA #2, he didn't get the warm welcome he was expecting. After an awkward reunion with his estranged parents, Nova received the most devastating of news--most of the members of the New Warriors, his former team, were dead. Absent for the events of CIVIL WAR, Nova was clueless as to what had happened to them. To pour salt in the wound, he was also told that their names were leaked to the press, branding his dead teammates and himself as baby killers.
Writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning gave us peek into what Nova is going through. "Richard is caught up in many conflicting emotions," they explain. "This was not the homecoming he expected; he wanted to escape the pressures and problems that have stacked up on him during the course of the Annihilation War. He was burnt out after the war and wanted some well-earned R & R somewhere familiar, but instead he finds the Earth has changed since he left and this serves to emphasis how much he has changed.
"Richard is particularly stunned when he learns of the events in Stamford and the repercussions throughout the Marvel Universe," they say. "His mother and father are angry with him because they were terrified that something had happened to him and now only wish for him to conform with the Hero Registration Act because they fear for what could happen to him if he doesn't. Richard's having a hard time adjusting to this new state of affairs, it's too much for him to digest--especially as all he wanted was some downtime." Nova didn't have too much time to adjust to his surroundings before Tony Stark landed on his doorstep, looking for answers!
Realizing that he has all this newfound power, Tony explained to Nova his plans for the Initiative, and cited Rider's Nova Corps training as being the right stuff to lead them into a new era. Although Nova found the idea appealing, he still was unsure of the consequences in registering. "Tony Stark would be a fool not to want a big gun like Nova to be part of the Initiative," points out Abnett and Lanning. "Not only does Nova represent power, he represents immaculate training and discipline as taught by the Nova Corps, something Stark urgently wants to establish in the Initiative.
"Tony's motivations at times can be misconstrued, but essentially he is trying to do the right thing both for the superheroes and the public at large," add the writing duo. "Should Richard choose not to register, Tony will be forced to make some hard decisions, something he's proven in the recent past, that he is willing to do, no matter what the cost." With former teammate Justice as part of the Initiative, Nova can see himself comfortable with registering, but is conflicted about his responsibilities as a native of Earth and a one-man Nova Corps.
Before he can even think about the situation, the Thunderbolts pay him an unexpected visit! Responding to a tiff Nova had with baddie Diamondhead, the Thunderbolts dropped in to bring him in for unregistered hero-ing. Little does Nova know that Penance is really his old friend Robbie Baldwin behind the spikes. Will their history together stop them from fighting? "The answers to all these intriguing questions will be revealed in issue #3!!" hints Abnett and Lanning.
With offers on the table and friends in the ground, Nova isn't having such a good vacation. He has decisions to make and gripes to cope with, and Abnett and Lanning say it won't be easy for him. "The first three issues of Nova deal with some major emotional issue for Richard, but they will prove to be a walk in the park compared to the upcoming Conquest event in which Nova will be tested and taken to the extreme limits of his endurance!"
Blast off with NOVA #3 written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning with art by Sean Chen, on sale June 13.