Sam Alexander has a lot on his plate for one of Marvel’s youngest heroes. He’s been on the scene for a few years now, but as of the "All-New, All-Different Marvel" Universe, his profile is about to be bigger than ever. With a membership on the reformed Avengers and his long lost father returning from deep space, Sam will have a full plate and then some as writer Sean Ryan takes over his adventures in Nova #1 this Wednesday.
Newsarama spoke to Ryan about Sam’s adjustment to the superhero “big leagues” – spoiler alert, there’s a big adjustment period when you become a 15-year-old Avenger – as well as how his life is changing with his father back in the picture, and why Nova will remain grounded for a little while.
And Nova fans – Ryan even spills some dirt on the whereabouts of one Richard Rider and the Nova Corps.
Newsarama: Sean, let’s start out by talking about where Sam Alexander is as of the "All-New, All-Different Marvel" Universe. How has he changed since Secret Wars?
Sean Ryan: Sam’s the same kid he’s always been. The big difference when we see him is that his dad is back in the picture and pitching in with the Nova duties. Sam’s always been a busy kid with a lot of responsibilities, so one change when we see him in Nova #1, is that with his dad around, it gives Sam a bit of a break. He can enjoy being a kid sometimes. He can have friends too. Sam gets to be happy.
Nrama: As you said, one of the biggest changes to Sam Alexander’s status quo in the new series is the return of his long lost father. What is their relationship like, and how does Sam feel about reuniting with his dad after so long?
Ryan: Their relationship is great. It’s like a dream come true for Sam. It’s what he’s wanted forever, to have his dad back. And now he is, and they can be Novas together and can help each other out. Sam can hardly believe how great things are for him.
Nrama: Another big change for Sam is that he’s now a full-fledged Avenger, and we know from later solicits that Kamala Khan and Miles Morales will pop up in Nova. How does Nova’s relationship with the Avengers play into your story?
Ryan: Sam being an Avenger couldn’t really come at worse time. Something pretty horrible happens to Sam in Nova #2 and by #3 he’s got Avengers duty, so he’s not as jazzed about it as he maybe would have been. He’s going to have a lot on his plate and Avengers is just one more thing piled on top. And unfortunately for Sam, he’s new as an Avenger and his relationship with Miles and Kamala isn’t very strong yet, so they aren’t friends he can lean on right now.
Nrama: Nova is obviously not an Earth-bound character by any means. What are some of the places and planets we’ll see him visit in your series?
Ryan: For the first bunch of issues, Sam’s going to be staying earth-bound mostly. In fact, in #3 and #4, he’s actually going inside the Earth when he deals with Mole Man. I didn’t want Sam to be rushing off to space too much in the early issues, as we have a lot of earth stuff for him to deal with, and I wanted to set up the status quo on Earth before jetting off into space. Down the road, I’m planning for a space arc that I’m really excited about. I want it to be really epic and gorgeous.
Nrama: Nova’s already faced down some pretty tough threats in his young career. What’s he going up against in his new series? Any returning villains? Any big surprises?
Ryan: Nope! No big surprises!! Just kidding, I think we got some surprises coming. Nova #2 should be pretty surprising, the repercussions of which we deal with then in #5 and #6. And I think by the end of those issues, Sam is going to be pretty physically and emotionally spent. I really do feel bad for this kid sometimes. I mean, he’s just this 15-year-old kid, but he’s got so much going on in his life, it’s just brutal sometimes. Part of me would love the series to just be “Sam plays video games with his friends and everything goes well!” But I don’t think the folks at Marvel would be happy with that. Other than the big surprise in #2, we’ve got Mole Man showing up in #3 and #4. He’s always great, but he’s in these issues he’s dealing with his own hardships that Sam can’t help but relate to.
Nrama: The Nova Corps was a big part of the Guardians of the Galaxy film, putting them on the public’s radar, and solicitations have referred to Sam and his dad as a “Nova Corps of two.” Will we see an actual return for the Nova Corps? Will the Corps play a part in Nova’s long term future?
Ryan: We won’t be seeing the return of the Nova Corps, but I do plan on dealing with them in some way. It won’t be immediately, but a bit down the line, I’d like Sam to explore the history of the Corps, and learn his place in it. And something I’m still formulating is something involving the Worldmind and the Nova Force. Having Sam discover where his Nova Force power is actually coming from. That could be really interesting and exciting for him.
Nrama: Tell us about your working relationship with artist Cory Smith. What makes him the perfect artist to tackle a young cosmic hero?
Ryan: Whew boy. Cory is top notch. Firstly, his action scenes are dynamite. The energy just jumps off the page. But he’s also great at the smaller, character stuff. Really subtle stuff with faces, it’s just great. Sometimes I’ll be annoying and ask the artist to show someone having like three emotions at once, like they’re being concerned, but also stern, but also afraid, and Cory just nails it every time.
Nrama: I have to ask, because fans seem to demand it, will we see any sign of Richard Rider in the new Nova series?
Ryan: Maybe? I don’t want to get people’s hopes up, like he’s going to be coming back from the dead or anything, but I’d like to fit Richard into the story somehow, to show Sam the legacy of the Novas that he’s now taking on.
Nrama: Looking ahead, what can fans expect when Nova finally hits stands? What’s coming in the future?
Ryan: Well, I don’t want to give things away, but like I said earlier, in the first few issues Sam has to deal with a pretty awful event, and it really throws him for a loop going forward. Something I mentioned earlier too, what I really want to do while writing this book is remember that I’m writing a 15-year-old kid. I remember when I was 15, I could barely stay awake in class, much also be a super hero and member of the Avengers. This kid deals with a lot and I want to make sure the reader feels that and really feels for Sam. Also, monsters and stuff.