By Frank DeAngelo IV & Ben Morse
Richard Rider has seen better days.
Nova's efforts to stop the Phalanx's conquest of the Kree Empire got a shot in the arm recently when he finally found the Technarchy home planet Kvch and a possible means of undoing his foes' techno-organic virus as well as an unlikely ally in the former New Mutant known as Warlock. Marvel.com caught up NOVA and ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST co-writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning for a chat from the battlefield.
Unable to access the full range of his Nova Corps power, Rich's only hopes for survival rests in his tactical decisions and fortitude, as his writers will quickly note.
"He needs a huge percentage of his power to keep the technophage virus at bay," notes Lanning. "As a result, he has to rely on his character and wits, and we have to see where that limitation takes us."
"[Nova is being driven by] the same thing that always drives him: a sense of duty and justice," adds Abnett. "Despite his often light-hearted attitude, Rich is a very noble person. He won't rest until he's dead. Unfortunately..."
By splitting Nova off from the main conflict taking place in CONQUEST, Abnett and Lanning found themselves able to provide Rich with more of a spotlight and test the limits of his convictions further than ever before.
"Taking him off on a very personal quest allows us to explore what it's like to be a hero striving to find a solution away from the heart of the main struggle," Lanning explains. "Conquest has a very broad, cosmic scale, and just because Richard isn't in there with Star-Lord and Quasar doesn't mean he's not fighting too. The trouble is, he has no idea what's going on, and no idea if anything he manages to accomplish will be too late."
On top of all this Phalanx business, Nova has found himself trying to juggle his responsibilities as the last Nova Corps Centurion with his desire to return to the central struggle. His adventures in Knowhere alongside telepathic Russian canine Cosmo documented that.
"We wanted to throw some variety and cosmic fun into the mix" says Abnett of Rich's side adventures during the course of Conquest. "Wherever he goes and whatever he does, Nova will always encounter situations that need his attention. [Nova] was doing what he could while he searched for clues to help him on his main quest. Thanks to Cosmo and the resources of Knowhere, that paid off."
While exploring Kvch, Nova discovered, and appealed to the former New Mutant for help counter the decimating progress of the Phalanx onslaught. But has salvation come too late?
"Sadly, at this crisis point, [Warlock and Nova's] needs and ambitions do not match," shares Lanning. "Both of them sympathize with the other's plight, but there doesn't seem to be anyway they can actually help each other."
So what does the future hold for the Human Rocket as Conquest races towards its thrilling conclusion?
"He's in pain, he's literally dying, and he's run out of options," says Lanning of ova's current state. "We said he wouldn't rest until he's dead, so maybe....well, let's put it this way: Someone's going to die."
Uh oh...what else awaits in NOVA #12, on sale April 16?
"A huge battle against an implacable foe-which means amazing, planet-crunching Paul Pelletier art," teases Abnett. "Some heart-breakingly heroic moments of courage and sacrifice. And an ending that will set the stage for the final act in CONQUEST #6."
Learn the fate of Nova when both NOVA #12 and ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST #6 hit stands on April 16. While you're waiting, check out some of Rich Rider's other adventures on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.