Now that Sam Alexander has solidified his place in the Marvel Universe as a solo hero and as an Avenger, he had his Nova series iss heading back into outer space to attempt to discover the truth of what happened to his father. But before he does, he’ll have to deal with the fallout of Civil War II - something writer Sean Ryan says he’s not quite prepared for.
Ryan and artist R.B. Silva, who is filling in for regular series artist Cory Smith, will put Sam squarely in the middle of the conflict between Iron Man and Captain Marvel. Sam will have to figure out for himself which side of the conflict he comes down on – a choice that might put him at odds with his closest allies.
And oh yeah, Richard Rider fans? Ryan says “Never say never.”
Newsarama: Sean, the last time we spoke, Sam had just reunited with his dad – or so he thought. We know now that the guy who’s been posing as his dad is an impostor. Who is this guy, and will Sam ever get a real relationship with his dad?
Sean Ryan: We get into who this guy is in Nova #5. He’s basically a clone of Sam’s dad, sent to find out the secrets of the Nova helmets. He grew to care for Sam and Sam’s family, though, and couldn’t go through with taking the helmets and, probably, killing Sam. As for a real relationship with his dad… Outlook isn’t so great. He’s got to find him first. And that should prove difficult.
Nrama: Sam is also heading back into space for his next adventure. He’s had his hands full on Earth for the first arc of your story. What’s awaiting him in space?
Ryan: The search for his Dad brings him into space. It’s a one-issue story that actually leads into a story they’re planning over in All-New All Different Avengers. Sam gets a message that makes him think his dad has been found. What he actually finds, though, he’s not prepared for.
Nrama: Sam has also become a prominent Avenger, developing a bond with Kamala Khan – reluctant friends though they may be. How do Sam’s experience as an Avenger, and his relationship with other heroes, affect the way he does his job?
Ryan: I’m not sure yet if it’s affected the way he’s done his job. I think it’s been good for Sam to be an Avenger, but I’m not sure if he’s feeling that yet. I think he feels like an outsider among them still. He’s close to Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man, but they feel closer to each other than they are to him. As we saw in Nova #3 and #4, he doesn’t feel comfortable opening up to them about his life. And though he loves the honor of being around the Avengers, and being around these heroes, it does bring about a lot of stress for him. And it’s just one more thing he has to worry about. He’s got being Nova on his own, the stuff with his dad, the rest of his family, school, and now being an Avenger. Sam will hopefully learn that being a part of the Avengers means he’s got a support system that can help him.
Nrama: Speaking of his Avengers membership, Sam’s status on the team will undoubtedly put him in the middle of Civil War II. We’re still learning where individual heroes come down in that conflict. What’s Sam’s position on changing the future versus reacting to events as they come?
Ryan: He doesn’t really understand it. Sam’s not a dumb kid by any means, but he’s not an 'A' student either. When the Civil War II stuff starts going down, Sam is sort of left out of the loop. He gets bits and pieces and doesn’t really understand what the big fight is all about. Sam feels like the kind of kid that if you sat him down and explained the positives to changing the future, he’d totally agree and say that makes a ton of sense. But then, if you sat him down and explained the positives for reacting to events as they come, he’d totally agree and say that makes a ton of sense. And then he’d just be confused. I don’t see Sam as someone who’s going to choose a side and then have an undying faith in that choice.
Nrama: Solicitations for the Civil War II tie-in issue imply that Sam will be caught in the middle of Iron Man and Captain Marvel when the trouble starts. Does Sam’s position represent a third viewpoint in the conflict? Will we see some of his close allies, like Kamala or Miles Morales, rally around him?
Ryan: If by third viewpoint, you mean, “why is this even happening?” Then yes! Sam doesn’t have the greatest grasp on the whole reason the heroes are fighting, so he’s doesn’t know why any of this fighting his happening. Sam looks up to all these heroes, he doesn’t want to fight any of them. The whole thing just feels sort of gross and ugly to Sam. The fighting between heroes is not what he got into this for. I think he’d like to ally with Kamala or Miles, but in all the confusion surrounding Civil War II, he might not be able to locate his teammates.
Nrama: Does this call into question Sam’s future as an Avenger? Will Civil War II give him a more compelling reason to perhaps stay in space when he ventures out in the next arc?
Ryan: I don’t know if this will call into question his future as an Avenger. That will certainly be up to the Avengers. As for a more compelling reason to stay in space? Probably. Sam might be looking for an escape from all of the Earth nonsense. And space is certainly a quiet place he can go.
Nrama: Nova has had an increased presence in the Marvel Universe since you launched his current title. Will that presence come back into Nova after Civil War II? Are there any big villains or guest stars we’ll see once he returns to space?
Ryan: Maybe…? We’re still in the midst of working out the next arc after Civil War II. We’ve got the general outline pretty much wrapped up in terms of what I want to happen, but in terms of who can show up from the Marvel Universe…That’s not set in stone yet. We’ll have to see where Civil War II ends up before we can know where certain characters are and if they can show up in our book.
Nrama: You’ve been working with artist Cory Smith since you launched this volume of Nova. How has your working relationship evolved now that you’ve got a whole arc under your belt?
Ryan: Big time! Cory is awesome. I think we’ve really gotten a good sense of each other. Though, I can’t speak for Cory, he might be secretly planning my death, but I’m having a great time. I love seeing what I can throw at him and how he can just knock it out of the park. I always write annoying character emotions into my panel descriptions. I ask Cory to draw people with like three emotions going on at once and he always nails it. Cory’s even met my sister! He was doing a signing where she lives in Texas and they had a grand time.
Nrama: You’re also working with R.B. Silva on Nova #8. What makes him the right guy to switch-hit with Cory for this Civil War II tie in issue? Will R.B. be sticking around for later fill-ins?
Ryan: R.B. is great too! Even though he’s never met anyone in my family like Cory has. R.B. actually already drawn #7, and it’s fantastic. R.B.’s action jumps off the page and his attention to detail is lovely. He drew Sam’s sister’s room for #7 and it just felt like a little girls room. But then at the same time, he drew an explosion that I feel like I could feel the heat from. Not sure if he’ll be sticking around for further fill-ins, but I hope so.
Nrama: I asked about this last time we spoke, and you gave a lot of deeply entrenched fans a little bit of hope by saying you’d like to find a way to fit him in, so I’ve got to ask for an update. Any plans for Richard Rider, or by extension, the Nova Corps?
Ryan: Never say never. For Richard, as I said, we’re still figuring out the finer points of the arc following Civil War II, and if things can line up, maybe. I would like Sam to at least have some connection to Nova Corps' past. We’ll see.
Nrama: Looking past the Civil War II tie-in, what’s coming down the pike for Nova? What can readers expect moving forward?
Ryan: The arc after Civil War II is all about Sam trying to discover where the power for his helmet comes from. It’s something his mom brings up to him in #8. Sam doesn’t even know how the helmet works or where its power comes from. That sticks with Sam, and he’s determined to find out. What used to power the Nova Corps was the Worldmind, but that’s gone now… So what is out there? That’s what Sam wants to find out. And hopefully he does and I’m hoping, after all the crap he’s gone through lately, he rediscovers his love of being a Nova again.