Monday, April 18, 2011

A Man Called NOVA!

[Editor's Note: Having re-read the Nova wiki article, I have discovered he has a lot more power than I knew when I wrote this. Still, if the Nova Force leaves him again, and we want to explain ANOTHER re-boot, I'd like a shot.]

Frankly, I think this one of the most overlooked, underused, under-rated heroes of the Marvel universe. Cut from a similar cloth as DC's Green Lantern mythos, Richard Rider, a self-deprecating teenager is given immense power by an intergalactic soldier of the Nova Corps as he dies.

Trying to work in the same vein as Spider-Man, and even meeting and teaming up with the famous wall-crawler on one occasion, Richard Rider simply never breaks out from being a B character after three decades and as many re-boots.

Now its a crying shame. His powers are not insignificant: he is given a measure of super strength [again like Spidey's - about 5-10 tons], some limited invulnerability [think early Superman - when"nothing less than a bursting shell could penetrate his skin!"], life support from his way-cool suit and helmet, and some hella fast flight speed - I mean dude, he covers galactic distances like Silver Age Superman - even GL would be left in the dust! And, incidentally, in later incarnations, he is given blasters on his arms.

Now, this character has never been used to any great dramatic effect by any writer. He's got so much wishy-washiness, he's nearly Charlie Brown . Too many "try, try, oops someone died - try, try, oops a planet is destroyed, try, try - hellwifitIquit - OKies I wish I hadn't - can I come back now? Come back, do some good and fade away" qualities to him.

Sort of like Supergirl in the 70s. Sort of like Hal Jordan in the 90s.

Sort of like Christians who deny the power of God in their lives.

Yeah. You heard me. We have power and authority and the ability to change the world, but we are hamstrung by our self-focus and fears. We are taught to mope and say 'It's God's will..." when it is not.

Like Richard Rider, we've got power to do great good and we're still whining.

If you ARE a believer, check how many times Jesus flatly was shocked at the unbelief of His followers - and how many times He TOLD them they could do miracles if they would simply believe and trust God.

Faith is a muscle, folks. You don't use it - you get weak and easily tired.

God is patient and willing to use us. It is CLEAR the power is HIS not ours - but we HAVE to USE it. "And Jesus did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief..."

Note it is their unbelief - not His power that keeps the miraculous events from occurring.

Now if you are an unbeliever, I expect you to never pray, never worship and bemoan your fate. I expect that. You are stuck in 'Natural' mode. I was, too. No God = no help.

But if you are a believer, how can you say God will NOT work through you or for you? Who's fault is that? I don't mean miraculous healings - that may take some time - but how about little things? How about answering a crisis in a person's life? How about letting God make your schedule - and letting God send you financial gifts when you have none? Why must He be treated as a stingy God? How about YOU doing miracles? Why not?

I know. I know. I have to preach to myself as well - but what small miracles I have seen and been a part of, show me I MUST be missing a lot. And scripture points flatly to this power from a gracious God: "All things are possible for him who believes!"

Woe to our hearts of unbelief.

Especially since we ARE 'new creatures' in Christ!

Back To NOVA
Nova, as you may know, is Latin for 'new.'

So Nova could be implying not just the power of an exploding star, but also being re-made into a New Man. Sure, there are ranks within the Nova Corps, but I think it would be a cool retro-fit to have a Nova Corps Centurion reveal this particular truth [in a full re-boot of the series, natch]: 

"The Nova Corps has ALWAYS chosen the least of their species to be the most powerful - we find they do not abuse their power as often."

Richard Rider would be flabbergasted. "You chose me because I suck?"

The Centurion's grim visage lightened perceptively. "Or perceive that they are the least of their kind. Therein the star-spanning powers are held with natural humility."

"But I was never as powerful as THAT..."

Sighing, the Centurion replied, "YOU were - and are - your greatest enemy, Richard Rider. You limit yourself to what you can imagine.

"Be rational, for once. Consider your hyperflight capabilities - only permitted by your mind because you could not comprehend nor conceive of the power you were unleashing. Did this not awaken you to strange inequities?"

"You can travel across the galaxy at a thousand trillion times the speed of light, yet can only lift a tank?! You can casually override the laws of physics, escape being converted to energy by impacting trillions of hydrogen atoms a second, yet can only 'survive' in space for fifteen minutes?!"

The Centurion shook his head again and compassionately placed a hand on Rider's shoulder.
"When the Worldmind let you go home, telling you had been stripped of all your abilities, what happened to them?"

"Night Thrasher revealed they were hidden inside of me..."

"Exactly. Once a member of the Nova Corps, ALWAYS a member of the Nova Corps, Richard Rider.
It is time you accepted your destiny, and realized the full power of NOVA!"

The Centurion stood back, his eyes bright with authority and purpose, and as he spoke, the walls shook:
"You are a NEW man, Richard Rider - welcome to the Corps!"

And the three circles of rank appeared on Richard's chest as the uniform began to coalesce over his body, clearing away all the stink of beer and stale cigarettes...

If Frank Miller can make Daredevil interesting and if Hal Jordan can come back to kick major butt in seven years, I think Nova could be re-born to do what every hero should do - inspire, encourage, and increase hope - that there ARE men and women who can make a difference -

- and they, dear children born of the Spirit of God, are us.


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