There's still a lot that's new for current Nova Sam Alexander, and with Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness's opening stint on the character's solo book wrapped up as of issue #5, a new creative team is on board with this week's Nova #6: writer Zeb Wells and artist Paco Medina.
Wells has worked on a variety of Marvel projects in the past decade, from New Mutants to Amazing Spider-Man to the 2005 New Warriors miniseries, which included the currently-deceased Richard Rider version of Nova. His run on the book is set to include a New Warriors reunion of sorts, plus a tie-in to the Thanos-centric impending Marvel cosmic event Infinity, which starts in August.
With his first issue on sale now, Newsarama talked to Wells about taking over Nova, working with Medina, the appeal of writing young characters, what draws Sam into the Infinity conflict, and the writer's future on the series.
Newsarama: Zeb, as the new writer of Nova, you're further shaping a character — Sam Alexander — that is still very new. When coming on board the series initially, what were some aspects of the character that you most wanted to explore?
Zeb Wells: Mostly his inexperience. It’s rare to get a chance to write a hero in their formative years. It’s fun to write someone who doesn’t have it all figured out and still makes mistakes... just like me!
Nrama: Sam is another example of you writing a younger character at Marvel, a recurring theme dating back to "I Was a Teenage Frog-Man" in Tangled Web, and continuing to Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways and more. What is it about writing younger/teenage characters that has stayed appealing to you?
Wells: Young characters are great because they think they have it all figured out and act with confidence, even if they’re doing something foolish. Typing that just made me feel really old. Excuse me. I’ve got a lot to think about.
Nrama: Speaking of younger characters, definitely curious about the acrostic "NEW WARRIORS" tease for the August issue. The October solicitation made spelled things out even clearer — given your history with the New Warriors, how important was it to you to touch on their history with Nova (as a concept) early in your run?
Wells: It seemed like a natural time to do it because Nova is just getting his name out there to the culture at large. I think members of the New Warriors would be curious about this guy using the same name as their friend.
Nrama: Then September's issue #8 starts the Infinity tie-in. You've written event tie-ins before — what is it about Infinity that you find specifically creatively inspiring? And is there anything more you can say about the recently revealed new character Kaldera?
Wells: Infinity is so epic in scope... Hickman's scripts create such scary image of an alien invasion, led by a Death-worshipper no less. And Sam's one of the few cosmic heroes still on Earth, one that's carrying the mantle of Thanos's sworn enemy Richard Rider. It instantly throws Sam into a scary situation where he has to deliver.
Making it even scarier is Kaldera, who's a terrifying young woman in Thanos's army. She's sicked on Sam and she's not going to rest until she has his head.
Nrama: Paco Medina has mostly worked in the X-Men corner of the Marvel Universe in the past few years. From your perspective as his collaborator on Nova, what makes him the right fit for this series?
Wells: The energy he brings to his poses, the fluidity and speed he imbues the Nova Force, and his strong storytelling all add up to a perfect Nova artist. As a huge fan of Loeb’s Nova I was very interested in an opportunity to write the character, but when [Marvel senior editor Stephen] Wacker told me Medina was available I was going to get on this book come hell or high water.
Nrama: Like previous Nova writer Jeph Loeb, you're a busy guy with commitments outside of comic books. When you were first announced as the new writer on the book, you commented that you weren't sure exactly how long you'd be able to stay on the title — now that it's a few months later, do you have an idea of how long haul this run might be?
Wells: I had a five-issue story I wanted to tell... and just enough time between seasons to tell it. Wacker just told me who’s coming on after me and it’s really exciting. Nova will be in good hands for the foreseeable future!