Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Nova #10-#12 and Annual #1

*** (three of five stars)

Favorite Quote:  "It would be advisable for us to flee as well.  You're not going to, are you?"  "Uh-uh.  Never going to happen.  I don't break promises."  "You once promised to keep me -- the last repository of an entire culture's knowledge -- safe, Richard."  "Yeah, well, shut up now.  I'm busy."  -- Worldmind and Richard, at it again

Nova and a Phalanxified Gamora find themselves in a mysterious place and come to realize they were both hijacked during their extradimensional transit.  They stumble upon a hurt spaceman, but, before Nova can help him, they are all attacked by glowing, floating paramecium-like things, which devour the spaceman and force Nova and Gamora to flee.  Nova is weakened by his attempts to fight off the transmode virus, and Gamora encourages him to embrace it.  They have a relationship chat, which gets cut short when the paramecium-like things attack again.  Worldmind realizes that they are in a Vore, "a natural predator that hunts in the spaces between dimensions."  The Vore gives birth to the paramecium-like things (its children), flushing out Nova and Gamora in the process (ewww).  Nova gives Gamora to Drax and then heads to Kvch, where he's imprisoned by the planet on arrival.  It scans his mind, sorting through his memories of becoming Nova and predicting a timeline 40 years into the future where he's the head of a reborn Nova Corps, which has been fighting the Phalanx for years and is on the verge of eliminating them in a last battle on Earth, which fell to the Phalanx.  These memories -- and projected memories -- remind Nova who he is, and he awakens, discovering that Worldmind put him in a coma to protect him from the planet.  Nova escapes, discovering that Kvch is a dead world just as the virus begins to take over his body.  He's saved by Warlock (formerly of the New Mutants), who explains that he's on Kvch to redeem the technarch race by teaching Tyro, a recently-born technarch, to be a pacificst.  (He also infected Tyro with his mutant strain that leads to default pacifism.)  Nova urges him to help free the Kree, but Warlock explains that he doens't have anywhere near the power to do so and, therefore, will continue focusing on the technarchs.  Meanwhile, Gamora and Drax arrive and the virus, recognizing where it is, turns them into a Babel Spire, calling forward a fully-formed siredam (the parent of Tyro, who Tyro will have to fight to the death, as part of technarch social norms).  Warlock sends away Tyro so he doesn't have to fight and uses his lifeglow to purge the virus from Richard, asking him to delay the siredam so that Tyro can flee.  Richard engages the siredam and is prepared to lead it on a chase when Tyro arrives to challenge it.  Instead of fighting it, though, he has the siredam ingest him (ewww), thereby infecting it with Warlcok's mutant strain of the transmode virus.  The siredam "dies" from the strain and Tyro takes over the body.  Tyro uses his excess lifeglow to resurrect Warlock and then, at Nova's request, purge the virus from Drax and Gamora.  The five then depart to take on the Phalanx.

The Good
1) DnA really excel in stories where the issue opens and Nova has no idea where he is or what he's doing.  In both issue #10 and the previous "Knowhere" arc, they've given the search for answers a Hitchcockian feel, where you know trouble is right around the corner, but you're just waiting to see which corner.  I hope we continue to see more of these, because I don't think I'll ever tire of them.

2) I liked the coverage of Nova and Gamora's relationship.  "Annihilation" was an amazing mini-series, in no small part because of the attention paid to the relationships between the characters.  I think everyone knew that Nova and Gamora weren't going to last, for exactly the reasons stated here:  she's a killer and he's not.  But, DnA give a nice treatment of that here.  It could've been a little more emotional, but I concede that it would be a little hard to have a more complete heart-to-heart when you're fighting off the young of a space creature who's digested you.  So, all in all, it was still some nice to see DnA return to their relationship and not disregard it entirely.

3) Yay, mentioning Ko-Rel's son!  I was worried we were never going to see that plot point addressed ever, since it's usually the type of thing to which authors intend to return, but forget to do so or move off the book, leaving it hanging.  Along those lines, I'm glad to see DnA keeping the memory of Ko-Rel alive.  During the Free-Richard/Phalanx-Richard conversations from Nova #7, Free-Richard told Phalanx-Richard her death would weigh on him for a long time.  DnA have mentioned her several times since then, and I'm glad to see her death has not been forgotten, that she's become Richard's touchstone of humanity as he fights off the transmode virus.

4)  The annual was really well done.  DnA gave a great take on Nova's origin, returning to the idea that he's just a regular kid from Long Island...and it's being a regular kid from Long Island that made him into the superhero he is today.  Plus, rather than just giving us yet another origin story, they actually weave it into the existing storyling, using it to further the plot.  Awesome.

The Bad
1) It's still a little unclear to me what, exactly, Warlock's plan was.  OK, he was going to teach Tyro to be a pacifist.  That, I get.  But, how was the going to save the entire technarch race?  As Nova said, he's essentially just saving one child.  Is his plan to do the same when other technarchs are born in the Creche?  I felt like DnA needed to flesh out this plot a little more.  I actually understood the argument that he couldn't help because he didn't have the power to undo the entire Phalanx, but I don't feel they connected that to the whole "redeem the technarch race" plot as well as they could have.

2) I'm also not sure why the Phalanx decided to form a Babel Spire to call a siredam when Drax and Gamora arrived on the planet.  I thought the Phalanx and the Technarchy weren't exactly cosy?  Are they interoperative?  Moreover, why is calling a siredam the action the Phalanx take when introduced to the homeworld?  Wouldn't they want, I don't know, to take over Kvch, or something?

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