Fifteen months after the new Nova debuted in Point One #1, the long-awaited launch of his solo series finally happened in early 2013. Nova volume 5 was released about a month after the debut of the second season of the animated Ultimate Spider-Man TV series, which included Nova in the cast.
The opening story arc of Nova vol. 5 #1-5, compiled in the collected edition Nova Volume 1: Origin appropriately enough told the origin of this new Nova. It opened with a “Previously…” to go back before the events of Avengers vs. X-Men to show how the new Nova came to be. In the first issue, scenes in the present were established as being set “Six months ago.” So in effect, the whole story was an extended flashback. While I’m tempted to set the story in the “present” (relative to when it was originally published) due to this, I think for the sake of this site’s purpose, it works best to set this story in sequence of the character’s experiences. That means this story arc has been placed earlier, before Sam’s first appearances in Point One #1 and Avengers vs. X-Men. For now, I’m placing these issues at the end of Phase Five of Limbo Part 4.
Origin introduced Sam Alexander as the new Nova plus his family, his father Jesse, mother Eva, and younger sister Kaelynn. It also introduced the villainous Titus, a former Nova Corpsman who now worked with the Chitauri. Also making their debut was supporting characters Moffet and Carrie, as well as the new concept of a black ops division of the Nova Corps. The story also featured guest appearances by Gamora and Rocket Raccoon of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
The alien Chitauri were first introduced as shape-shifting Skrull analogs in the Marvel Ultimate Universe before their Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in The Avengers movie, where they were adapted to be less Skrull-like. This story, starting about 9 months after the wide release of The Avengers, featured the first standard Marvel Comics Universe debut of the Chitauri, modeled more closely to their movie design than how they first appeared in the Ultimate Universe. Nova can be seen giving them a run for their money in the featured image at the top of this post.
The original Nova, Richard Rider, was referenced a couple of times in this story: once, when Sam learns that Earth’s Nova has died, and a second time when a crayon drawing of Nova, presumably by Sam’s sister Kaelynn, can be seen in the background.
As an aside, our friend Doug Smith and his excellent NovaPrimePage.com also got acknowledged: Nova vol. 5 editor Stephen Wacker’s column in the back of issue #2 recommended the site, and Doug Smith had the first letter printed in the series. It’s a well-deserved recognition!
Taking a look at each issue, needless to say Sam Alexander heavily starred in each issue and the entire story arc can be considered essential for the character. Sam became a member of the New Warriors in New Warriors volume 5, which was released a year later. For those wanting a closer inspection of each issue:
Nova vol. 5 #1 has 14 pages of Sam plus 4 pages where his dialogue is seen in conversation with his father, who is narrating a flashback. Here we learn that Sam’s father Jesse claimed to be a member of a secret branch of the Nova Corps but was now a janitor at Sam’s high school. Sam was bullied at school due to his father’s poor reputation and job performance, and Sam dismissed Jesse’s stories as fantasy. When Jesse mysteriously vanished, Sam assumed his father had abandoned their family. He set out to find him but was injured on his skateboard.
Nova vol. 5 #2 has 19 pages of Sam. He awoke in the hospital, having been out for 3 days from a head injury. He was greeted by Rocket and Gamora of the Guardians of the Galaxy, two people Sam thought were characters Jesse made up. The two left behind Jesse’s Nova helmet, which Sam eventually tried on and became Nova for the first time. After viewing a damaged message from his father, his inaugural flight landed him on the moon where he met the Watcher.
Nova vol. 5 #3 also has Sam on 19 pages. The Watcher showed him an approaching intergalactic armada. He returned to Earth, where he received training by Gamora and Rocket in preparation for war with the armada, who they identified as Chitauri armed with the Ultimate Nullifier. They discovered Sam’s helmet had the coordinates of the approaching armada and sent him as a scout. Nova performed a space jump for the first time but was immediately detected by the Chitauri, who opened fire on him.
Nova vol. 5 #4 has 15 pages of Sam as well as 2 more pages with his dialogue in response to descriptions of a flashback. Sam fought back against the Chitauri and initially had the upper-hand. He attacked the mothership but was subdued by Titus, one of Jesse’s former partners in the Nova Corps. Titus blamed Jesse for abandoning them to return to Earth for Sam’s birth 15 years ago. Jesse’s betrayal left Titus and their contingent of the Nova Corps vulnerable to a fatal attack by the Chitauri. Titus was able to save himself by negotiating an alliance with them, which led to them eventually obtaining the Ultimate Nullifier for their plans of conquest. Titus claimed to have recently defeated Jesse, although his helmet had evaded him. Sam escaped with the Ultimate Nullifier and he returned to Earth to hide the dangerous weapon in his father’s shed behind their family home.
Nova vol. 5 #5 has Sam on 17 pages. Titus caught up to Sam on Earth, and the two fought until Sam brought the battle back to the Chitauri armada. Sam threatened to use the Ultimate Nullifier to hold off Titus, but Titus set off the weapon, which eliminated him and the invading army. Gamora and Rocket arrived to help too late and Sam refused to surrender the Ultimate Nullifier. Instead he returned to the Watcher on the moon and gave him the weapon. He then returned home, where he and his mother admitted they both knew Jesse’s stories were real and that Sam had now inherited the mantle. Sam decided Titus’ version of events was a lie and, believing his father was still alive, decided to search the universe for him.