10 reasons why I love Nova:
One: The costume. This is one of the most dynamic superhero costumes of all time. It screams spaceman, it screams power, it screams raw brash energy. I love the colours, I love the whole get-up. I would wear that. I would fly around in that.
Two: Nova discovering his powers. He gets these awesome powers without really even knowing how to use them. It's neat seeing him try and fly straight, discovering he's bullet-proof (in the grand tradition of Ralph Hinkley) and the instant adrenalin-rush from that, etc.--all those scenes from the early issues.
Three: The Sphinx...he being Nova's arch-foe. Nova doesn't have a fraction of the Sphinx's power; our poor hero is out of his league. But! The Sphinx is clearly caught in some kind of time-loop--living his life over endlessly or something? I mean that's what he's always hinting at, right?--and he needs to pluck something from Nova's brain, some extraterrestrial knowledge that was downloaded in to Nova's head when he got his powers from that weird alien. And well, Sphinx can't just kill Nova or the knowledge is lost, and Sphinx's horrible destiny will just keep repeating...and well, I mean, it's all a big mess.
Four: Nova #11 (included here). Nova's huge fight with the Sphinx, which caps off the first story-arc of the series. In order to pull the precious knowledge from Nova's head, Sphinx has to break Nova's mental defenses first, and that means he has to whale the tar out of our hero, until Nova is willing to submit his mind to the Sphinx. Folks--this is one of the most heroic one-sided battles ever, in a comic book! I've never seen someone look so brave as they get thoroughly clobbered ten times over. High point of the series.
Five: Villain named Powerhouse and his little secret. Powerhouse is muscle for a criminal mastermind named the Condor, but it slowly becomes clear that there's more to this energy-absorbing tough-guy than meets the eye. I mean, the guy clearly doesn't want to kill Nova, and he's got some kind of amnesia problem, and would you rely on info from a creep like the Condor, concerning your origins? Who on Earth IS Powerhouse, I ask you! (Hint: "Who on Earth?"?; a visitor, actually! AACK, I've said too much!)
Six: The middle-going (Nova #'s 13-18). Okay, so Nova gets recruited by Nick Fury as some kind of super-powered spy to prevent New York's destruction by--um--am I allowed to say?--okay, uh, an old Captain America villain. Prior to that, Nova has an amazing fight with an old Spidey foe--and I will say who that is, cause he's a movie star now--the Sandman. The fight with the Sandman is another great event in the series.
Seven: The Inner Circle. Okay, weird, Nova's father gets into financial trouble and practically sells his soul to a group called the Inner Circle who get him committing crimes for them. The head of this group turns out to be--well I probably shouldn't say--an old Nova foe, one I didn't mention yet. So that could be, like, Diamondhead, or Blackout, or Firefly, or Photon, or maybe even someone else who I could maybe not mention.
Eight: The final story-arc. Issues #21-25. See: Nova reveal his identity to his family, in a wonderfully done scene. And sure, Nova, take your mother flying, while out on a picnic to celebrate the big news. Then, See: Nova blast off into space, with some cool allies you've never heard of (Crimebuster, The Comet, The Sphinx, and Diamondhead...hey, waitaminute! The Sphinx and Diamondhead?!!?! They're evil!), on his way to the planet his powers originally come from. True, the Sphinx is in control at this point, and just wants to go to planet Xandar so he can suck knowledge from the Xandarian Worldmind computer there, and that's probably not good. But it's a free trip to outer space to a planet that was thought destroyed, and we could all use a vacation now and then, even if it puts the universe in jeopardy.
Nine: The cross-over that fell apart when Nova's comic got cancelled. Nova was supposed to meet up with the Fantastic Four and get his Sphinx problems resolved that way, while helping the Fantastic Four with their Skrull Empire and accelerated-ageing problems at the same time. But the series-crossover was scuttled with Nova's cancellation and all sorts of plotlines had to be jammed into Fantastic Four #s 204-214 (not part of Essential Nova, Volume 1). In fact...uh well, two things: (a) You'll also need to read Fantastic Four #217 if you wanna see what happened to Doctor Sun after he disappeared off Nova's ship, AND, I hate to say it, but (b), if you REALLY want to find out whatever happened to Nova--I mean the actual real truthful final destiny of Nova after he was hung out to dry in the Fantastic Four series, you have to read--wait for it--Rom #24. That's right. Rom #24. You heard me. That's right...Rom. It was comics. It was also a toy. Anyway, whatever, just--Rom #24. Nova's on the cover (thank goodness, or I would never have known...! Sometimes, when you're a kid, you just gotta keep you're eyes open...)
Ten: Okay, so Rom #24 lied. It wasn't all over. Nova came back! But Essential Nova, Volume 1 gives you the golden era. Where it all began and petered out. Temporarily. Just remember, Rom #24. I'm not kidding you. Dude, I'm telling you, Rom #24, final destiny of Nova, um, sort of--NOVA'S ON THE COVER, IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE ME! Geez Louise. Okay, this review is over. I mean it. I'm--