Reunited: Nova & Darkhawk

NOVA writer Dan Abnett examines the relationship between the Human Rocket and his old teammate, past and present

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NOVA #17 cover

By Tim Stevens Years ago, during the halycon days of the New Warriors, Richard Rider and Chris Powell stood together as Nova and Darkhawk and faced down all manner of threats. As they say, history repeats itself. In the pages of NOVA #17, due on shelves September 24, cosmic scribes Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning along with artist Wellinton Alves bring the twosome back together to protect Project Pegasus from the Skrull invasion. Those expecting a reunion of old friends, however, may want to look elsewhere. Teammates and peers certainly, but friendship between the two never seemed to materialize in the old days. Darkhawk felt more comfortable developing a connection to Speedball while Nova made

Preview art by
Wellinton Alves

little effort to interact with 'hawk beyond the occasional ribbing. Looking back on their first encounter in the pages of NEW WARRIORS, you can observe Rider hassling Powell for taking too long before letting Speedball ask the amulet wearer for help, a near-perfect encapsulation of their dynamic. "I don't think they were especially close," Abnett acknowledges. "They were a little too similar for a start: young guy, sudden high-tech 'alien' suit upgrade, a little hot-headed. Besides, Nova had been a [New Warrior] for a lot longer—he was a team veteran and DH was a little bit of a newbie." Still, he stresses: "They were teammates, and they could depend on one another." By now, both heroes have gone through trials and tribulations they could not have imagined during their Warriors days. Nova witnessed the rest of his Corps decimated as Annihilus and his Negative Zone soldiers cut a deadly swatch across the galaxy

Preview art by
Wellinton Alves

during the Annihilation event before slaying the tyrant himself. Meanwhile, Darkhawk kicked the hero habit and joined a support group, the Loners, for former teen heroes. Unfortunately, life outside the mask proved short lived as Powell had to wrest his amulet away from a crazed Phil Urich, the previously heroic Green Goblin. Prior to all of this came the Stamford incident that ignited the Civil War. Both heroes saw teammates and friends killed or irrevocably altered while they could not reach the scene in time to stem the disaster. As a result, the heroes they had been have become but a memory. "Darkhawk [has] grown up a little," explains Abnett. "He's no longer the new kid on the block. He's got more experience of his powers, and he's got proper responsibilities

Preview art by
Wellinton Alves

thanks to the Initiative and Project Pegasus. There are still some rough edges, but Pegasus is giving him a proper chance to grown into himself. "However, Nova's grown up a lot. He's really matured as a super hero, he's a veteran of the Annihilation events, and he's a first division cosmic hero. He's very much the senior partner, and he's got the space war experience to make it count." Their historic lack of a bond combined with their life altering experiences will, no doubt, render both surprised at the other's new attitudes. In the Marvel Universe of a few years ago, this might not be an issue. These days, though, with the wounds of Civil War still raw and Secret Invasion raging on, it creates an invitation to paranoia.

Preview art by
Wellinton Alves

According to Abnett, "As far as both of them are concerned, the other could be a Skrull." With emotions high and trust a commodity that neither can afford to indulge in, the situation could quickly become explosive, the writer concludes: "Nova's got the experience to mix wariness with pragmatism, but DH is shooting at anything that moves." On September 24, fans can witness whether the powder keg will detonate or the duo can overcome their suspicions enough to save Project Pegasus. Only NOVA #17 holds the answers. In the mean time, enjoy more NOVA at Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

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