Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Penultimate Nova: the New Champions

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yPKmipuK74 Doctor Sun Ace of Base

http://i27.tinypic.com/s6orp5.gif THE MAN CALLED NOVA #24

“Worlds’ War I Prologue: The New Champions!”

Doctor Sun’s surprised to find Nova’s invisible space craft is not deserted after all! While Nova lies unconscious, Sun turns to find a figure he’s heard of but never before seen, skulking in the alien metal corridors: the Sphinx, who orders his silence. He scans the robot, notes his self-restoring part, and aloud, pities him that he should live a life so long as his own has been. Doctor Sun and the Sphinx, on two sides of the possession of immortality, each crave what they do not have. But why is Sun aboard the Nova Prime spaceship? They both seek knowledge within its vast, living computers, the “world’s only human computer” and the ancient sorcerer, wishing to prolong and end their existences, respectively...if that is in fact what the Sphinx truly wants. Nova’s awakening is no surprise to the Sphinx; he humbles the Human Rocket in mid-attack, then turns his back on Nova after an ineffectual punch, to complete his analysis, a map of the computer banks. Baffling Sun with his cryptic speech, Sphinx prepares to assemble a crew---to take the Nova Prime ship back to its homeworld!

Meanwhile, erstwhile partner the Comet, without Nova’s secret identity, can only search in futility for clues to his whereabouts. The Crimebuster, aboard his helicopter/ portable crime lab, spots the Comet, ponders some nebulous significance in their relationship, then decides to test him with an attack. Comet now prepares, instead of wasting his reserves, to employ an “electron search-pattern” when Crimebuster’s airborne blast takes him by surprise. He “hardens electrons” to slow his descent, and then the rejuvenated Comet returns fire, wondering why would anyone attack a hero two decades dormant?

Crimebuster spreads a smoke screen; Comet tries flushing him out with a lightning blast. Now CB, who was “so sure that he had died!” quickly bags the Comet in a net to avoid retaliation, but the Comet burns it off. His angry attack ends, however, when Crimebuster supplicates him to land, switching his pod to Vertical Take-Off Landing, then revealing a face the Comet recognizes...as his own, from years gone by. “Then it is true, Comet---I’m your son!” They sob, embrace, and at last, Crimebuster revisits the night of the explosion that destroyed their family home. He was flung clear, wondering mindless for days; the Comet confesses he blasted the remains of the home and “destroyed all hospital records” in his grief, before becoming an alcoholic vagabond. “Frank”, his son, reveals how he swore vengeance on the underworld, and has since trained to follow his father’s footsteps.

Now they both realize they know Nova, and the Comet completes his electron grid search for Nova’s wavelength, headed east; they team up to follow.

While a shadowy being observes the duo, under the control of the Sphinx, Nova finds himself in London, looking for some mysterious person, unknown as yet to him. He follows an energy bolt guide, crashing in on the amnesiac Powerhouse, who charges him, memories flooding back. Not trusting Nova, he battles with him instead, prepared to destroy him, over borderless panels that culminate with Powerhouse absorbing the electrical energy of an entire building. Nova dive bombs him, running straight into the continuous, ongoing discharge, preparing for a deadly head-on crash.

Having locked on to Nova’s signature energy from the first, the Comet leads Crimebuster all the way to this scene, where the slowing Human Rocket blasts all the way through the intangible force waves to smash Powerhouse with a driving uppercut. Comet congratulates him on a “deed worthy of Captain America himself!” As soon as Nova recognizes them both, an emerald beam lifts the four of them into the distant space ship; Nova overhears the befuddled Crimebuster call Comet “father” and the Powerhouse regains all his memories at the behest of the Sphinx, who hands over his flight garb.

Now Powerhouse looks upon the screen, and answers the Sphinx: he remembers all now, and “that star system is my home!” He recalls the Suzerain ordering him into space, to scout and repulse an alien invasion. A comet disabled his ship, drifting for months, while he remained helpless to join the war that imperiled his world. At last, Earth’s gravity snatched his ship, down into its oceans...where the Condor found him, towed him back to shore, and made him his pawn. He also recognizes the incredulous Nova’s ship---but not just because of the battle “last year” aboard it (NOVA #7---Marv). He also recognizes Nova’s costume as that of a Nova-Prime Centurian---both ship and uniform are from his homeworld!

Within the docking level, Diamondhead climbs from a hatch door on the Crime-Pod. He’s pleased to find himself here again---it’s a prime opportunity for his own benefit.

(Earlier in the archives, there's Nova essays, too, and before that, cool pastiche tales featuring characters you just may know...)

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