Besides becoming Marvel’s youngest hero Nova, young Sam Alexander has had a tough life: his father missing and presumed dead, being targeted as the last of the Novas by the High Evolutionary, and finding one of his only friends – the Watcher – dead in the onset of Original Sin. And now, coming up later this year he’s going to face his biggest challenge yet: fighting the Hulk, in what Nova writer Gerry Duggan calls a “rite of passage.”
Since taking over the Nova title in 2013, Duggan has put the young Arizona boy through big struggles, big team-ups, and big choices. After recently learning his absent father is alive as a slave for the Chitauri, this month’s Nova #21 will see the human rocket go to save him – alone. And Duggan is keeping Nova busy, as October’s Nova #22 sees him going on a one-off trick-or-treating spree with the kids of Wolverine & the X-Men before finding himself up to his ears in Axis trouble has he comes across twist evil Hulk, dubbed Kluh.
Newsarama: Gerry, in recent issues of Nova we’ve seen Sam learn about the whereabouts of his father. Where’s Sam’s head out now about his long-lost father?
Duggan: Nova #21 and #22 move Jesse’s story forward. Original Sin was a rollercoaster for Sam, in every way -- but it was a gift, too. He was able to learn not just the origins of the Black Novas, but the location of his father. You’ll be seeing more of Jesse in the pages of Nova in 2015. Beyond that, I wouldn’t want to spoil it.
Nrama: Let’s talk about Jesse Alexander – thought dead but now revealed to be alive and in the clutches of the Chitauri. He is – or was – a Black Nova. We will get to see more of him in that light?
Duggan: You’ll see Jesse travelling through space...that’s about all I can say on it other than I hope it will be fun or unexpected.
Nrama: In October you have what looks like a special one-off issue seeing Sam going with the kids of the Jean Grey Academy trick-or-treating. What can you tell us about that issue, and Sam’s involvement with the X-Men?
Duggan: Sam is in desperate need of a night off from his troubles, and he’s hoping Halloween in Salem Center, Massachusetts. It’s actually a bit of a mix-up that sees him with the X-kids, but it ends up being a fun night. The young heroes manage to help some young kids that have had their Halloween ruined and a member of the Alexander clan suffers some bad news.
Nrama: And coming up in November, Nova is going bi-monthly as it gets pulled into Axis. Sam was there at the beginning of Original Sin, so how would you say he’s involved with Axis?
Duggan: Sam is drafted to help. He’s gaining more experience all the time, and he’s very powerful. As heroes are taken off the board for one reason or another, Sam becomes an even more important player here on Earth. This is Sam’s call to join the big leagues. If there are new readers that haven’t tried Nova - #23 and #24 are actually great points to jump on. In fact, #21 is more or less a standalone adventure and so is #22. There are a lot of opportunities to jump on in the coming months, and I hope people join us. After some tough times in Axis, something really wonderful and unexpected happens as a result in Nova #25.
Nrama: But before that, the cover to Nova #23 sees Sam against arguably his biggest threat ever – an evil Hulk, which solicits have dubbed Kluh. What can you tell us about this threat he’s facing?
Duggan: Nobody should have to fight the Hulk, but it’s a rite of passage for heroes in the Marvel Universe. Nova #23 and #24 are a big summer action movie, but...there will be very big changes for Sam coming out of the event. Some good, some bad, some...really bad. I think we’re going to put Sam in a position that not too many other heroes have been in, but it’s a serious situation that people encounter every day that changes their lives. I don’t want to spoil it, but some very difficult trials lay ahead both for Nova and for Sam. Nova’s Axis tie-ins are not just superficial - this event will be an important Nova story for a long time to come. The whole Nova team is doing excellent work. David Baldeon, Terry Pallot and David Curiel make me feel like I’m actually out in space with Sam. That art trio is as good as any in comics.
Nrama: This is the first time we’ve spoken since Guardians of the Galaxy has come out, and while it didn’t feature a Nova as we know him, it did feature the Nova Corps. As the resident writer of Nova, how do you feel about the movie and the potential left open for true Novas to show up down the line?
Duggan: Loved the film. James Gunn and his whole team deserve a lot of love for making space operas fun again. It was so pleased to see so much of the Marvel Cosmic Universe translates so well - from the Andy Lanning and Dan Abnett material, to the Collector and of course the special guest star in the post-credit sequence, it was a real treat to see the cinematic universe up in the stars. Blue blazes, it would be rad to see an adaptation of Nova on the big screen!