A new kind of Annihilation Wave is about to hit the Negative Zone - and Richard Rider will be caught in the storm alongside his old nemesis Annihilus.
So what could cause the leader of the initial Annihilation wave to run to his arch foe? Writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Ibraim Roberson will answer that question in Annihilation - Scourge: Nova, with Rosenberg also writing the Alpha and Omega one-shots that bookend the Annihilation - Scourge event.
Annihilation - Scourge: Nova brings Richard Rider back to the forefront of the wider cosmic corner of the Marvel U, and back in the helmet as the Nova against a threat that could take down multiple universes.
Newsarama: Matthew, Nova has a long history with the Annihilation stories. What’s his status quo going into Annihilation - Scourge?
Matthew Rosenberg: Nova's had a rough few years. He went off to fight in a brutal space war when the rest of Nova Corps died. Then his friends on Earth, the New Warriors, died. He stayed out in space and ended up trapped in the Cancerverse. Where he was tortured, killed, and born again over and over for what felt like an infinite amount of time.
Then he escaped, came back home, found out his dad had died, a new Nova had replaced him, he was infected with the Cancerverse, and the world had pretty much forgotten about him.
So he went back to space, reformed the Nova Corps, and watched as they all died again. He has some real traumatic stress issues, a real lack of friends, and feels like he doesn't have a place to call home anymore.
In short his status quo is "not great."
Nrama: You’re focused on Richard Rider in this one-shot. How does his specific history play into this tale?
Rosenberg: We really wanted to call on a lot of Nova's history while making sure that folks who had never read a Nova comic would get it. So I think it's a good balance. He's facing old threats and old fears, but he has a new purpose and new determination. I can't get into too much detail about what parts of his history we're really working on, but suffice to say if you've been paying attention to Nova's story for the last decade, you know that this will be a major moment for him.
Nrama: Richard Rider has fought Annihilus plenty of times, but their relationship is a little different here. Can you fill us in on that?
Rosenberg: Annihilus was the leader of the original Annihilation Wave - a fact that somehow surprised people, even though his name is pretty much in the title. And Rich was the leader of the opposition force. He even killed Annihilus, but Annihilus has technology to bring people back to life, so that didn't stick.
So their history is... contentious at best. But now they find themselves both facing something much bigger than their hatred of each other. So they end up as reluctant allies. Hopefully it works out great.
Nrama: How does this Nova one-shot connect to the larger DNA of Annihilation - Scourge?
Rosenberg: When I planned out the event we wanted to make sure that each of the one shots told a complete story, in case folks just wanted to read the Beta Ray Bill, Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four, or Nova issues. And all those stories hold smaller pieces of the bigger puzzle that is told in the Alpha and Omega issues. But in a lot of ways Nova is one of the most crucial characters in the story. So the Nova one shot, while it can be read as standalone, really ties everything together.
Nrama: Ibraim Roberson is drawing Annihilation – Scourge: Nova. What’s he bring to this book?
Rosenberg: Ibraim is amazing. He brings the perfect balance of big cosmic action and small personal moments that the book needs. Nova feels like an unstoppable force of nature when he needs to, but he also feels vulnerable, like a kid from Long Island, thrown into space, and tasked with saving the universe all by himself. It's a subtle skill to be able to do both types of story, but Ibraim nails it.
Nrama: You’re also writing the Alpha and Omega one-shots that frame Annihilation – Scourge. When you’re framing a story like this, what principles do you keep in mind to make sure it works with the many moving parts at hand?
Rosenberg: We tried our best to stick by the old Stan Lee rule that "every comic is someone's first." Each issue should be accessible, satisfying, and tell a complete story.
But we also want to reward the readers who read each issue, as they are all pretty awesome. The way information and clues are given out was a real challenge, especially considering that two issues come out a week, two weeks in a row, which means there isn't an inherent reading order. So getting each issue to matter, to give you a part of the story, but to also standalone was a real riddle -and solving it was a real challenge. I can't wait for folks to read it all and find out how it works.
Nrama: What aspect of the Marvel Cosmic wing are you most excited to get into here? Got any big surprises in store?
Rosenberg: I have spent almost no time writing the cosmic stuff besides a Rocket Raccoon miniseries a few years ago, and he never leaves Earth in that one. So any and all corners of the cosmic stuff have been a real joy to explore. I have a particular soft spot for Nova because I grew up reading New Warriors - and obviously writing Beta Ray Bill is amazing. But the whole cast is great, and we have a ton of surprises that I won't say here. There is a double page spread in the book that is one of my favorite pieces of art I have ever been involved in, and I think folks will lose their minds when they see it.
Nrama: Bottom line, what will this one-shot and story bring for fans of Nova?
Rosenberg: We're putting Nova back where he belongs - front and center of the Marvel Cosmic Universe.