Overall, I'm happy with the writing and pacing of the first 2 issues of the 3 parter. That doesn't mean I think the writing is perfect by far, but it's been fun to read.
I think the characterization of Rich was a bit off in issue 19 , but taking a second look at the issue, I think it might have more to do with the art and how Rich is portrayed in the art than the words themselves. Ed draws Rich with a goofy smile a few times in the issue and a bigger mouth than we're used to, which makes him look younger and less experienced.
I'm not going to put anyone under the bus for art or a few lines that might feel a bit off from when we last saw him a few years ago, because I understand that each artist and writer has their own unique take on a character and we're dealing with both a new writer and a new artist for Rich here. It's not the old Nova vol.4 team. I'm just trying to judge the 3-parter as a stand alone ending to Rich & Peter's Thanos Imperative story.
That said, there are inconsistencies here and a few of them are hard to ignore. The 2 biggest are that death was re-introduced to the Cancerverse and that at the end of TI, they said they had about 60 seconds until the universe collapsed in on itself and in issue 19 of GOTG, a few hours pass as they fight. Both inconsistencies are explainable, though, but I wish the writing would have offered the answer to us. The first, well, when death walked away from Thanos, death also walked away from the Cancerverse. The second, it was Peter who said they had about 60 seconds until the Cancerverse would be destroyed. The answer there is who is Peter Quill to know for sure that's what would happen? He was obviously wrong.
I enjoyed the humor in the book and the writing moved the story along at the pace I'd expect it would. I think the switch to narration instead of word bubbles for a good chunk of the book was a good way to do it.
Evil Cap's shield changing was an art mistake by Ed. He should have drawn the classic shield in a spin for that panel. Could it have taken Rich's arm off? I'd guess that Evil Cap's shield is made of the same material that CA's shield is made out of, so I'd say yes. It absorbs kinetic energy and Rich was in full on flight. Going that fast and hitting something like that at your shoulder joint would do it, regardless of whether he's got the nova force. Rich isn't indestructible. Since becoming Nova Prime, he's lost a leg, had his face scarred, been infected, and has gotten busted up a few times. He's powerful, but he's still vulnerable against attacks. If it's an energy attack, he seems to hold up against it better than a physical attack. He uses his speed as his asset to avoid physical attacks, but without Worldmind, he wasn't alerted to the projectile. So it comes down to physics. His intertia vs. a sharp object that absorbs kinetic energy. No two ways about it, they got it right.
So where do we go from here? Well, Peter had all of his guts punched out of his body by Thanos, but regenerated with his body intact again. So unless Bendis changes the rules of how the Cancerverse plays, Rich should regenerate with his arm whole as long as he dies. If he doesn't die, then like his leg, the Nova force should be able to heal him with some time. It's heartbreaking seeing him lose an arm that way and it being him that screwed things up in the Cancerverse by losing the cosmic cube, but there's still one issue left to see how it all works out.
I'm still on the fence about Ed's artwork... I just don't feel that his art is dynamic, and I don't really see what his fans see in it. Rich's gravimetric blasts just don't seem that powerful the way they're drawn, some of the artwork is just confusing about what's going on, and I'm not a fan of all of the completely shaded characters in a lot of the panels. That just seems lazy to me.
What it comes down to is I'm happy I picked it up. If Rich is killed apparently for good at the end of GOTG #20, that's it, I'm moving on and I really am done with comics. It doesn't matter if a few years from now Rich would be brought back, I'm just sick of the whole killing off a character thing, and with Rich being my favourite, doing it to him just leaves a rotten taste in my mouth.
Rich was always shown as being human with his ties to his family and friends, and if they just whack him, all I can think of is what about Rich's parents? What about Robbie? What about Ginger, Caps and all of the other people in Rich's life, including the Warriors and Nita? Rich wasn't a loner like a lot of heroes, he was always shown to have some close ties to a lot of people, even when he was the brooding 1990's hipster for a few years.
If Bendis doesn't kill off Rich, then I'll keep my eyes peeled for future books with Rich in them and I'll buy them. I'm not too optimistic, though. I just wish that the story would involve him getting freed and reunited with the other people who made him such a relateable character.
Off topic, here's some food for thought. Why is Rich so relateable? Why was it that we all talk about how awesome his character development is and how rare it is to see something like that in comics? It's pretty simple, Rich's story is like that of a war vet.
He was a naive teenager, but then went to war. He came back depowered and felt that he didn't fit in and struggled to find himself again, like so many vets do. He then re-joined the Nova corps and found purpose again and matured and grew as he experiences some of the worst things a person could see in war (Annhilation). His was the story of growing up, and though it was told in a comic book universe, it had so many parallels to real life, which we all experienced growing up, including family, friends, lovers and how those relationships and dynamics changed with time. So even now that Rich is older and more powerful, he was one of the most relateable characters Marvel had, which is probably why he's been my favourite as long as I could remember.
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