Earth's Mightiest Annotations
by Sean McQuaid
Supplemental:  Nova

NOVA was an ordinary high school student named Rich Rider until a dying
alien conferred the costume and powers of Nova upon him, giving him
superhuman strength and durability and the power to fly at tremendous
speeds. As Nova, Rich became a fairly prominent costumed crimefighter
before departing on an extended outer space quest that brought him into
contact with the Xandarians, the alien race who were the source of his
powers. The Xandarians maintained a super-powers police force known as
the Nova Corps, and it was a dying member of the Nova Corps who had passed
his powers on to Rider. Feeling responsible, Nova stayed on Xandar for
an extended period as a member of the Champions of Xandar super-team,
and helped defend Xandar from threats such as the hostile Skrull empire.
When the Champions, the Nova Corps and the Xandarians finally beat back
the Skrulls with the aid of the spaceknight Rom, Nova decided to return to
Earth but was told he could not retain his powers if he left since Xandar
needed all the Nova Corps members it could muster to maintain its defenses.
The homesick Rider regretfully accepted these terms and returned to Earth
powerless, determined to rebuild a normal life for himself.

     Unfortunately, normal life was not kind to Rider. His friends had
all graduated from high school and gone on to college while he was in outer
space, and Rider, never a very good student, quickly became frustrated at
how far behind he was and how incapable of catching up he seemed to be. He
dropped out of high school, wasting his time on dead-end jobs and brooding
over the loss of his super-powers, until he was approached by the vigilante
adventurer Dwayne Taylor, alias Night-Thrasher. Taylor was assembling a
group of superheroes and invited Rider to join after showing him how to
restore his superhuman powers. Grateful for the restoration of his powers,
Rider agreed to join Taylor's new team despite his instinctive dislike for
the other crimefighter's unapologetically arrogant, overbearing attitude
(their relationship got off to a rocky start when Taylor, who had correctly
deduced that a major jolt of adrenaline would restore Rider's powers,
dropped Rider off a tall building to force his powers to reactivate). As
Nova, Rider became a founding member of Taylor's new team, the New Warriors.
He has been an active member of the group through most of its history
(even during a period when he lost his powers again), and has an on-and-off
romance with fellow founding member Namorita, alias Kymaera. Never the
leader of the group since he regards himself as lacking in the necessary
intelligence and tactical ability, Nova has nonetheless proven to be the
heart of the team, its strong arm and its undaunted fighting spirit. He is
on good terms with most of his fellow members, and has even developed a
mutual, grudgingly respectful relationship with Night-Thrasher.

     Nova's physical abilities are heightened to superhuman levels,
especially his strength and durability. He can fly at supersonic speeds
under his own power, and wears a costume that is resistant to the adverse
effects of high-speed flight. The suit is even practical for use in outer
space since the helmet can be sealed off and is connected to an internal
air supply. Nova's helmet also contains a radio set and a variety of
vision enhancement devices such as telescopic sights, night vision lenses
and heat imaging sensors. When Nova's old foe the Sphinx forced him into a
time travel quest concluding in New Warriors # 50, Nova returned with a
better understanding of his powers and has since been more able to tap into
their full potential. In addition to enhancing his existing abilities,
this increased understanding has given him a new power: the ability to
generate an explosive, omnidrectional release of energy, a sort of human
nova burst.

     Nova has worked alongside various Avengers at one time or another
and was briefly a member of the Defenders (in Defenders # 62-64), but
his principal group affiliations are his founding memberships in the
Champions of Xandar (all of whom were reportedly slain during the space
pirate Nebula's attack on Xandar some time ago) and the New Warriors.
Nova first appeared as a New Warrior in Thor [v1] # 411-412, and his role
in founding the team was chronicled in New Warriors # 1. Nova himself
first appeared in the first issue of his original ongoing series, Nova
[v1] # 1. He has had his own ongoing series twice, and the series has been
canceled twice but will soon be revived for a third try. Nova's only
Avengers appearance to date is a cameo in Avengers [v1] # 332, when he was
among the New Warriors attending the grand opening of the new Avengers