Sam Alexander will be among the last people to see the Watcher, Uatu, before he dies in the pages of ORIGINAL SIN. Just as a valued mentor’s door slams shut, countless skeletons tumble from every closet. As the Marvel Universe copes with the airing of its darkest secrets, Nova must contend with a new understanding of his legacy, and not just as a member of the corps. It’s time to learn a little more about the man under that helmet, and the man who donned it before him.
Gerry Duggan and artist David Baldeon root out the sins of the father, starting with June’s NOVA #18.
“Sam lost his father, gained a lot of responsibility and didn't have anyone to talk to about being Nova,” says Duggan. “Uatu listened, and sometimes that's all a kids needs: to know that someone is listening. Jeph Loeb and Zeb Wells did a wonderful job with that relationship, and Mark Waid just wrote a great story in the prelude to ORIGINAL SIN. Anyone interested in Uatu's friendship with Sam needs to pick that up. Uatu has a profound effect on Sam in that issue. It's a wonderful bit of character work.”
Of course, Sam is already engaged in a much grander postmortem investigation, guided by the beacons of fallen Nova corpsmen. Sam remains the last scion of a once formidable police force. He’s also his father’s son, and Original Sin sees our hero learning even more about his troubled old man, and the truth behind those big fish stories.
“Sam saw his dad as a bit of an exaggerator and a drunk,” Duggan explains. “It would be hard to tell the fact from the fiction about his service from the corps, but Sam sees a side of his father that he's never imagined during Original Sin, and that starts some other dominoes falling to some other revelations. Jesse was tasked with some pretty burly assignments, and sometimes that burns a man out. Sam only knew the rundown Jesse.”
Can a child even hope to redeem a father? Should they need to? To what extent do his father’s sins and virtues inform Sam’s potential, both in the corps and as a young man coming of age in Carefree, Arizona?
“I think having a screw-up for a father makes for interesting person,” Duggan says. “You can admire that person when they break away from an expected failure, and you can also sympathize when they step into the same traps as their father. Everyone wants good genes, but there's not a lot you can do when you're handed a bunk genetic hand. Sam is doing the best he can with the hand he was dealt.”
Duggan ensures that the deck remains stacked against the young Nova, making every small victory—a nod of approval from Beta Ray Bill or a word of encouragement from his friend and crush Carrie—a gleam of hope out there in the black.
“Sometimes when someone's attention is divided, they end up doing only adequate work, and I think that might be true of Sam,” he says. “He’s not a great student, he's not exactly risen to the challenge of being the ‘man of the house’ and his effectiveness as a super hero is...inconsistent. But that makes him a perfect 15 year old kid. He is getting better across the board. There's a desire to handle his responsibilities, and that's important. I hope Sam is an easy character to root for. Sam puts on that helmet to do good—his heart is in the right place, and he wants to make a difference.”
Original Sin comes to NOVA #18 this June!