Richard Rider was a normal teenager, until one day he was chosen by a dying alien to carry his power, making him a member of Nova Corps – an intergalactic police force. Since then Richard has been known as Nova, The Human Rocket!
Nova is a Marvel Comics character. He first appeared in Nova vol. 1 #1 (September, 1976), created by Marv Wolfman and John Buscema, as a Homage to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's run on Spider-Man, and to classic teenage superheroes in general. Nova's original series lasted for 25 issues (September, 1976-May, 1979), until he had to give up his powers to help Nova Corps rebuild their home planet, Xandar. Richard returned to Earth as a normal human, to lead a simple life again.
Or so he thought. Some time later Richard was approached by Night Thrasher, who proved that his powers weren't lost, only dormant...by dropping him from a building. Nova joined the New Warriors and developed a romantic relationship with his teammate, Namorita. After the New Warriors ongoing was closed, he fell into obscurity, reappearing only occasionally in solo adventures or new volumes of New Warriors.
In 2006 Richard was been brought from Comic Book Limbo for Annihilation, a Marvel big cosmic event that featured him as the central character and gave him a serious revamp – new costume, a Mentor persona in Worldmind and several additional levels in badass. Afterwards, he got a new ongoing series and was participating in various other cosmic events. He played a part in Annihilation Conquest, Secret Invasion and War of Kings and joined the Secret Avengers.
His last series endured for 36 issues (June, 2007-June, 2010). Following its end, Nova played a big role in The Thanos Imperative, where he and Star-Lord stayed in the dying Cancerverse to keep Thanos from escaping. Time will show if we will hear of him ever again.
A new Nova named Sam Alexander has appeared in the prelude to Avengers vs. X-Men, Marvel's big crossover event for 2012.
- A God I Am: Sphinx
- Alliterative Name: Richard Rider
- Unfortunate Names: Dick Rider.
- Aloof Big Brother: Richard was horrified to find out this is how his younger brother, Robert, sees him.
- And This Is For: THIS IS FOR NOVA CORPS! Yelled when Richard kills Annihilus.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: In War of Kings, when surrounded by Blastarr's army, Nova loudly begs him to show them mercy...and then quietly whispers an ultimatum – either he will let them go, gaining a reputation as a real ruler, not a dumb barbarian, or Rich will do with him what he did with Annihilus.
- Arch Nemesis: Sphinx
- Badass: It took him time to become one, but the results are glorious.
- Big Brother Mentor: What Richard aimed to become for his brother after accepting him joining Nova Corps.
- The Blank: Megaman
- Canon Immigrant: The second Nova, Sam Alexander, was created for the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series. He appeared in the comics first thanks to the lengthy production cycle, making him similar to Aqualad and the Barbara Gordon Batgirl.
- Casual Interstellar Travel
- Catch Phrase: Worldmind's “Attention Richard Rider, it's critical you pay attention this time”.
- Richard's “Blue Blazes!”.
- The Chosen Many: Nova Corps.
- Cool Helmet
- De-Power: Happened at least twice. The last time with bad consequences – Richard found out he was using his powers for so long that without them he was dying.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Nova is actually very good at it. In his last series he took on Sphinx, more powerful than ever before, now able to bend reality at his will, and won. In the last issue Cancerverse Quasar unleashes an Eldritch Abomination that, as he claims, managed to destroy the entire Nova Corps of the Cancerverse in twelve minutes. Richard blows it up in one shot. In The Thanos Imperative he takes down a bunch of alternate superheroes, empowered by the Many-Angled Ones, and curbstomps them.
- Discard and Draw: In War of Kings Richard has been depowered, briefly took the mantle of Quasar and then regained his old powers.
- Distaff Counterpart: Ko-Rel Who later became one for Worldmind.
- Energy Absorption
- Flying Brick: He calls himself Human Rocket for a reason.
- Flying Firepower: With the above, he's also got energy blasts.
- Fusion Dance: Done by Richard and Quasar. And by Worldmind and Ego. And by Ko-Rel and Worldmind, sorta.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck: Richard doesn't like swearing and uses his “Blue Blazes!” Catch Phrase instead. He even discuss this with a classmate in a flashback to his teen days.
- Gravity Master
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: Gamora, who was his occasional lover.
- Hand Blast
- Heroic Sacrifice
- Homage: His first series was a homage to the Lee&Ditko era of Spider-Man. It even has “In the Marvelous tradition of Spider-Man!” written on the cover.
- “I Know You're In There Somewhere” Fight: Phalanx-posessed Richard vs Ko-Rel. Double subverted. He kills her, but she manages to allow Worldmind to finish it in his mind.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Richard's uncompromisingly idealistic personality is a plot point numerous times in his own series.
- Interspecies Romance: With Gamora and Namorita.
- Ironic Echo: Richard really likes to throw Worldmind's Catch Phrase back at him whenever he can.
- Jerkass: Richard's Marvel Comics 2 counterpart has quite a reputation for being a jerk.
- Legacy Character: Ko-Rel for both Richard and Worldmind, Richard himself for Rhomann Dey. And Now Sam for Richard.
- Let's You and Him Fight: Subverted but lampshaded:
Robbie, to Nova and Darkhawk: Oh, come on, you two! I thought it was basic etiquette for super heroes to smack one another around on first meeting before realizing they're on the same side. Have we learned nothing from team-ups?
- Light'Em Up
- Lightning Bruiser
- Lotus Eater Machine: Fouth series Annual, where the Phalanx virus tried to trap Richard's mind in a false world where Phalanx has taken over the Universe and he leads the resistance.
- Marvel vs. Capcom: Nova is one of 12 new characters in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
- The Mentor: Worldmind
- Name's the Same: There was a female Galactus Herald named Nova. They aren't related in any way.
- The Paragon: Nova does not believe in the ends justifying the means. He will always strive to do what his heart says is right under any circumstances...consequences be damned.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Since Namorita dies in the present, a time-traveling Richard refuses to leave her behind in the past, where she'll definitely meet the same fate.
- The Seventies: The original series run.
- Super Speed
- Took a Level In Badass: And how! From a guy who was the staple “reckless rookie who gets in the way” among the Marvel superheroes, he turned into a badass space hero who ripped Annihilus guts through his throat! Spidey even complimented Nova for reaching big league status by being an Avenger.
- True Love Is Boring: Nova and Namorita just can't seem to work things out.
- The Virus: Phalanx.
- Working with the Ex: Him and Namorita during the later years of the original New Warriors.