Sam Alexander’s journey into space with Beta-Ray Bill continues to be very enjoyable, and to make things even better, this issue is sure to please disgruntled fans of the DNA era of Marvel Cosmic, by bringing back a location, and character that are very familiar and popular.
Nova and Bill are following the chaos in Skaarn’s wake, and begin the issue by saving a ship that he attacked, and working together pretty well. But they can’t keep doing this without knowing where Skaarn is headed, but all Sam heard is that he’s going to ‘nowhere’. As both Bill and us readers will be aware of, Skaarn was actually referring to ‘Knowhere’, the disembodied Celestial head that was a big part of DNA’s cosmic books, and former base of the Guardians Of The Galaxy. Bill and Sam head that way, and along the way, they bond, talking about how much they love being in space (that’s been one of my favourite things about this title, ever since the beginning, it never brushes off how amazing this stuff would be if it actually happened, Sam’s sense of excitement stops the crazy sci-fi stuff from feeling banal, like it sometimes can in, say, the Green Lantern books) and Sam even gets Bill to share some of his origins. We don’t get a recap of how he became all Thor-ified, but it is revealed that, before that happened, Bill was almost sucked out into the vacuum of space before being saved by the Rich Rider Nova, so Bill fighting alongside Sam is him returning a favour, as well as rescuing his people from Skaarn.
Sam and Bill reach Knowhere, and Sam is suitably impressed by the giant, floating head, again, treating something truly out there properly. The plan is for Bill to sneak into the base undercover to find out what Skaarn is up to, whilst Sam waits outside. Skaarn’s plan is to buy, or, as he ends up doing, stealing a ‘War Bringer’ robot, and as soon as Bill confronts him, he warps the robot into reality, right in Sam’s nose, and sets it off. He also tells his crew to kill all of the captured Korbinites if Bill goes after him. Sam’s fight with the War Bringer was good stuff, at first because of the comedy bit where Sam was smashed into an alien woman’s changing room, but then because of how it ended, and how Sam demonstrated his growing maturity and skill as a superhero. He remembers that he used the Nova force to charge Skaarn’s ship, so he should be able to use it to charge other things too. He ties some loose Celestial wires around the War Bringer, and fires Nova Force through it, which basically destroys the giant marauding robot monster. I don’t think the Sam of #1 could have done this, and it’s great to see that kind of character development.
Bill comes back and tells Sam that, in order to stop Skaarn from killing the Korbinites, he’s been forced into agreeing for both of them to be teleported to the other side of the Universe, but Sam finds a way around it, using a projection hologram to trick Skaarn into sending that away, instead of him. But even then, Bill is gone, Sam’s all on his own! Or is he? Because a mysterious voice appears in his head, leading him to find… Cosmo! The psychic Russian dog needs Nova’s help to defeat Skaarn and help bring Knowhere back under control, and we’re going to see that next issue. It’s great to have Cosmo back, and to see that, even if answers to the big discrepancies between the old Cosmic books and the new ones aren’t forthcoming, some stuff is coming back, and you know what? Cosmo as Sam’s permanent sidekick and mentor would be the best use of him I feel.
David Baldeon steps in as artist with this issue, and does a good job, his style is similar in a lot of ways to Medina’s, it has that same youthful energy that fits teen heroes, but it’s a bit less cartoonish, which works for a story with less comedy in it in a different setting than normal. Gerry Duggan is continuing to take Nova to new heights, and given that this issue sees the return of Cosmo, I hope any remaining Rich Rider die-hard hold-outs return here, Sam is a new Nova, but he’s still a great character.