The definitive, chronological, and up-to-date guide and trade reading order on collecting Nova comic books via omnibuses, hardcovers, and trade paperback graphic novels. A part of Crushing Krisis’s Collecting Avengers: A Definitive Guide. Last updated November 2017 with titles scheduled for release through January 2019.
Marvel was known in the 1970s for piloting both new and returning heroes in anthology titles before promoting them to their own series. That’s why it was so remarkable that the original Nova, Richard Rider, debuted in the first issue of his own series in 1976!
It was a prescient move by Marvel, with the 70s sci-fi craze due to hit its peak the following year with Star Wars! The character was originally designed by Marv Wolfman and Len Wein a decade earlier in a 1966 fan-zine.
Nova was the first of Marvel’s many attempts to recapture the youthful magic of early Spider-Man at a point in the 70s when very few heroes in their line-up still came off as starry-eyed teenagers.
That gave Nova a strong focus during his ongoing series, but meant he was stranded with few connections in a world of adult heroes once it was over. He disappeared from Marvel for nearly a decade.
That changed when Marvel finally collected a number of existing teen heroes (plus a few new ones) into New Warriors, a sort of unbranded companion to New Mutants transition into the self-directed X-Force. The title ran for years and over time felt more like a family than a team with a charter.
Much like Nova’s original teendom restricted his connections, so did his association with the New Warriors brand. It took another half decade for them to finally break out of their orbit, but it was in a big way.
Richard Rider became one of the heroes to anchor Annihilation, a massive space blow-out that would revive Marvel’s cosmic line of heroes and cultures. It thrust Nova into an amazing five-year epic, during which he becomes a formidable commander who goes toe-to-toe with Thanos.
That all ends with the Thanos Imperative, and Nova going missing in its wake. After a few years of silence, Marvel brought back Nova – only, it wasn’t Richard Rider! Sam Alexander took up the mantle of Nova, but not from Rider – from his father, another prior (and missing) Nova.
Sam carried on the proud tradition of both Spider-Man and Richard Rider as a bumbling, well-meaning teen who does more damage than good. His series is a charming, high-gloss coming of age tail that dovetails into him being drafted by the real Avengers – and, also, finally meeting Richard Rider.