Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Nova meets Thor
According to Nova's creator, Marv Wolfman, the story of Nova begins around 1966. As the publisher of a superhero fanzine called SUPER ADVENTURES, Wolfman created a character known as "The Star" in issue #3.
The Star was a doctor named Denteen who found a spaceship containing alien pills which gave him a different super-power every five minutes.
A MAN CALLED NOVA #4
“Nova Against the Mighty Thor!”
Writer/ Editor : Marv Wolfman
Sal Buscema and Tom Palmer, “artists supreme”
Watanabe & Wohl, letters
Colorist: Michele Wolfman
Who amongst us hasn’t imagined zooming into high school from the skies? Another dreaded math test awaits our patrol-happy hero, who shakes off his grogginess to see girlfriend Ginger crossing the street in front of a huge truck. (Feel free to insert your “daydream of saving cute girl in the row beside you during alien/ villain attack at school” here.) He discovers that bringing a speeding Mack to a standstill is just a bit beyond him (but hey, last issue he found he’s bullet-proof, so no fuss), but he zips to the front of the truck to pick up Ginger and almost blow his i.d. with his familiarity and voice. Then he bellows his “keep out of trouble, miss!” line and thinks, “well, maybe not THAT deep.” LOL!
He’s still beating himself up for being a hapless nerd even while changing to civvies and walks into a trigonometry test. Fifteen minutes later, slowly working through two equations, he gets a back slap from braggart Mike Burley (really, he’s just a hair off from being an actual friend, if he wasn’t sour about a hang-up revealed soon). Once again he ponders how he wishes the Nova powers were for a bit more personal gain (indeed, what was that sudden flash of math prowess in #1 about? Probably connected to giving him star-pilot understanding.) “Take away his good looks, his muscles, and his brains---and you’ve got us!” whispers Bernie. “Wait. Let me rephrase that.”
(Right about now I’m appreciating the periods Marvel started using around ’71, instead of every sentence ending in a question mark or exclamation point!)
Before journeying to the universe abroad, Thor’s in town. With a storm he helps fight a chemical supply storage fire, and with a sweep of Mjolnir, his mystic mallet, down goes the one locked door between him and whoever’s trapped inside.
Unfortunately, the chemicals have made the deep-blue hued man inside become the Corruptor, “whose very touch spreads evil!” Soon the most powerful of the Avengers calls him master, dedicated to mayhem starting immediately.
Ginger’s listening to Rich’s concern over his dad and trying to make him smile, while Bernie jokingly haggles for a better banana split and Mike and Donna sit nearby with fresh razz. Here we find Mike Burley’s hang-up mentioned in passing: he excels because he is pushed without let-up. But as a tough guy, he glosses over this rudely with his seemingly air-headed girl.
In their front booth, Bernie drops a reference to another coming plotline: where is Roger “Caps” Cooper? Their friend wasn’t home and hasn’t been seen. They agree to check up on him; ever-astute Ginger observes Bernie dropping the Don Rickles act long enough to show concern. Meanwhile, the now-possessed Thor streaks overhead, inspiring Richard to change to Nova soon and approach him. “Excuse me, Mr. Thor. I---“
He gets the picture quickly; a haughty thunder god back smashes him through a building’s corner. Nova recognizes Thor seemed hypnotized or drugged, and decides to stop him by going Human Rocket on hizzass. Ironically, after soaring over an open-air mall, Thor crashes right into the Harry S. Truman High School’s gym---a place “where Rich Rider’s such a hot-shot athlete! Hah!” Thor puts considerable effort into killing Nova, who critiques himself as always, excoriating his lack of experience, all-too aware of Thor’s greater power. Slamming into a pool, Nova now discovers his plexi-glass visor in his helmet as soon as he hits the water--- a feature he reasons appropriate to its deep space alien former owner. Fortunately Thor seems stunned he’s not drowned his foe, allowing Nova to get free again, though Thor recovers quickly.
The Corruptor discovers his transformation is unstable, and resumes a more sane and very disturbed mortal persona.
Thor feels a flood of pain at that moment, just as Nova screws up one gutsy punch, which he can’t stop! Ever egalitarian, Thor and Nova reason together, and Thor, often the formal ambassador of superherodom, shakes his hand and insists he stop calling the god “sir.”
Our man, whose name is revealed is Jackson, can’t believe his Corruptor experience, and answers a call from his wife Doris. He tries to play it all off, but by the time he hangs up the phone he’s become a rabid, transforming freak. Upon his change, the Corruptor recognizes the clothes make the Evil man, and with his mind creates a skull-emblem jumpsuit. He sees Nova and Thor, and notes his slaves change from evil whenever he does. Nonetheless his power seems to grow according to his need to corrupt, and quickly he’s going mano y mano with Thor and Nova. The touch fails to change Thor this time and Corruptor decides to try the hostages/ pawns route.
However, a team-up of hammer born shockwaves and a quip-accompanied punch rein him in. The question of the now-human Corruptor’s condition will be remanded to Tony Stark and the Avengers. Best of all, young Nova gets plaudits and a final handshake of “eternal friendship” from the warrior Norse god himself. Blue Blazes!