After I so thoroughly enjoyed all three volumes of Annihilation, I knew I wanted to keep reading the story being fleshed out in the cosmic Marvel universe. The next major ‘event’ is Annihilation: Conquest, but in between the two major sagas the ongoing series Nova cropped up, written by the duo responsible for writing Annihilation: Nova, Nova’s part in the original story. The new ongoing series follows Nova as he travels throughout the universe in an attempt to save it. The first 12 issues and the first annual are collected in Nova, Volume 1 (not to be confused with Nova, Volume 1: Annihilation—Conquest, which is only the first 7 issues), which covers everything from the end of the original Annihilation War up through Nova’s participation in the Second Annihilation War. Excited about the omnibus edition, I picked it up and dove in.
Nova, Volume 1: Annihilation—Conquest picks up after Annihilation, Book 3. Nova is now the sole member of the Nova Corps, a group of intergalactic peacekeepers and police officers. He overworks himself, seeking to stop all of the universes problems on his own, and returns to his home on Earth to recuperate. However, nothing is as it used to be. Finding himself no longer fitting in with his family, friends, or society, he has a final confrontation with Iron Man, and has to make a series of hard choices about his future. Nova heads off to help out a planet, and steps right into the path of the new Annihilation Wave, fighting both friendly and antagonistic forces in a struggle to stay alive, and avoid being infected by the alien Phalanx.
Abnett and Lanning have created a space opera that mixes both a solid science fictional background with a plot that stays true to both the character and the universe he lives in. Never does this come across as a “superhero story in space,” but as a story of a man deeply ingrained in his space-based ideals, who struggles to do what is right, finds he can’t go home again, and sets himself on the edge of a threat far too large for him to handle alone. The depth of character is well-wrought and fleshed out without taking away from the action, while the plot is rich, using said action to enrich it, rather than dominate or replace it.
This book is very accessible, not relying too heavily on the necessity of reading the three Annihilation books, although having read those will enrich your reading of this book. The cliffhanger ending sets things up for the next cosmic event, which is told both in the two Annihilation: Conquest books, as well as in Nova, Volume 2: Knowhere. I won’t be missing either of those.