There are a lot of Marvel characters I wouldn’t love as much without the incredible mid to late 2000’s Marvel Cosmic era of comics (see: Galaxy, Guardians of the), perhaps none more so than Richard Rider, aka Nova.
Nova rockets his way into Annihilation as the central protagonist of the massive universe-spanning conflict, growing from erstwhile teen hero and leader of the New Warriors to bonafide A-list superhero.
In many ways, the best modern Nova comics starring Richard Rider coincide with Comic Book Herald’s complete Marvel Cosmic guide. I’d recommend you check out the full cosmic ride, simply because it’s great, but if you want pure uncut Nova, you’ll find that fast track guide below.
You’ll also find Nova’s origins, team-up appearances with the New Warriors, and of course Marvel NOW’s all-new Nova, Sam Alexander.
Related Reading Orders:
Nova Comics Reading Order
Nova (Richard Rider) Origins
Collects: Nova (1976) 1-12, Amazing Spider-Man (1963) 171
Nova launches as a late 70’s bronze age teen hero, very much in the tradition of Peter Parker, Spider-Man. The Nova Classic volumes will give you Richard Rider’s origins as well as his connection to the Marvel Universe at large, particularly in the pages of Fantastic Four.
Collects: Nova (1976) #13-19, Defenders (1972) #62-64, Fantastic Four Annual #12 And Marvel Two-In-One Annual #3
Collects: Nova (1976) #20-25; Fantastic Four (1961) #204-206, 208-21
New Warriors and Nova in the 90’s
Collects: New Warriors (1990) 1-26, New Warriors Annual 1-2, Avengers (1963) 341-342; Material From Thor (1966) 411-412, New Mutants Annual 7, X-Men Annual (1970) 15, X-Factor Annual 6, Am Azing Spider-Man Annual (1964) 26, Spectacular Spider-Man Annual 12, Web Of Spider-Man Annual 8
Following the cancellation of his ongoing, Nova was largely quiet throughout Marvel in the 1980s. Starting in 1990 Richie made a return with a new team of teen superheros in the style of DC’s Teen Titans, the New Warriors. You’ll find the essential beginnings for the team here. This omnibus also includes the “Kings of Pain” crossover event that ran through Marvel annual issues of New Warriors and additional titles including Uncanny X-Men and New Mutants.
Collects: New Warriors (1990) #1-6, Thor (1966) #411-412
Collects: New Warriors (1990) #7-10, New Warriors Annual #1; New Mutants Annual #7; Uncanny X-Men Annual #15 And X-Factor Annual #6
Collects: New Warriors (1990) #11-17 And Avengers (1963) #341-342
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man #351 To #358
Nova consisntely cameos throughout this early 90’s Spidey saga, beginning a tradition that we see today in animated TV like Ultimate Spider-Man.
Collects: Amazing Spider-Man Annual 26; Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man Annual 12; Web Of Spider-Man Annual; New Warriors Annual 2
Collects: #27 To #42
New Warriors titles continuing through 1992 and 1993.
Collects: #1 To #20
Nova volume launches in ’94 and runs through the mid-90’s.
Collects: #43 To #60+ (Ending Of Series)
New Warriors continues through most of the 90’s up through Onslaught and a relaunched franchise in 1999. For the most part, these issues remain uncollected.
Nova volume three launches by Erik Larsen and Joe Bennett
Also a New Warriors relaunch around this time.
Marvel Cosmic – Annihilation To Thanos Imperative
Collects: Drax The Destroyer #1-4, Annihilation Prologue And Annihilation: Nova #1-4
Most modern readers will want to start here, with Nova’s crucial involvement in the Marvel Cosmic mega event, Annihilation.
Collects: Nova #1-7
Following the success of Richard Rider’s leadership during the Annihilation event, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning begin writing the longest (and in my opinion, bets) solo Nova series. Nova launches as Annihilation Conquest tie-ins and quickly proceeds to reference Marvel’s Earthbound Civil War as well.
Collects: Nova #8-12 And Annual #1
Collects: Nova #13-18
Nova’s Secret Invasion tie-ins are some of the best from the event. For full context of the event, you can check out Comic Book Herald’s Secret Invasion reading order.
Collects: Nova #19-22, And Nova: Origin Of Richard Rider
Collects: Nova #23-29
Again, if you aren’t following the Marvel Cosmic era as a whole, you’ll want to make note of where these Nova issues fall as part of War of Kings.
Collects: Nova #29-35
Same deal for Realm of Kings.
Collects: Thanos Imperative: Ignition, Thanos Imperative #1 To #6, Thanos Imperative: Devastation
The Abnett and Lanning era of Nova comes to a conclusion in the excellent Thanos Imperative.
Marvel NOW! Nova (Sam Alexander)
Collects: Nova 1-5
Marvel NOW launches an all-new Nova, with Sam Alexander taking on the title of Marvel’s human rocket.
Collects: Nova 6-10
Collects: Nova #11 To #16
Collects: Uncanny X-Men Special 1, Iron Man Special 1, Nova Special 1
Collects: New Warriors 1-6
An all-new New Warriors series rise during Marvel NOW.
Collects: New Warriors 7-12
Connects to the fallout of Inhumanity after Marvel’s 2013 Infinity event.
Collects: Nova 17-22
For full context of where these tie-in issues fit, you can view Comic Book Herald’s Original Sin reading order.
Collects: Guardians Of The Galaxy 18-23
Personally, I do not enjoy this Guardians of the Galaxy story arc, and would recommend most avoid, but technically these Original Sin tie-ins call back to Thanos Imperative and the fate of Richard Rider.
Collects: Nova 23-27
For full context, here’s Comic Book Herald’s Axis reading order.
Collects: Nova Annual 1 (2015), Nova 28-31
Nova, Sam Alexander, All-New Avenger!
Collects: All-New, All-Different Avengers 1-6
Following Secret Wars, Sam Alexander, Nova, joins the Avengers!
Collects: Nova 1-6
Nova strangely reboots (classic Marvel) with an all-new number one for a mere eleven issues before rebooting again within All-New All-Different Marvel.
Collects: All-New, All-Different Avengers 7-12
Collects: Nova 7-11
Collects: All-New, All-Different Avengers 13-15, Annual #1
Collects: Champions 1-6
After the events of Civil War II, Sam and a group of younger heroes set out on their own to form a new Champions.
Collects: Nova 1-5
Yet another Nova relaunch, this time set clearly during the All-New All-Different Avengers era.
Collects: All-New Guardians Of The Galaxy (2017) 1-2, 4, 6, 8, 10, Free Comic Book Day 2017 Guardians Of The Galaxy 1
The Guardians come up against the Nova Corps.
Collects: Champions 6-11
Collects: All-New Guardians Of The Galaxy (2017) 3, 5, 7, 9, 11-12
Drax tries to be a pacifist just as Nova finds an enormous threat from his past.
Marvel Legacy & Marvel Fresh Start Nova Comics
Collects: Avengers 672-674, Champions 13-15
The Avengers and Champions vs. The High Evolutionary. Our young heroes need to punch way above their weight as they fight alongside their mentors… but the stress of it might just break the team apart.
Collects: Guardians Of The Galaxy (2017) 146-151
This is primarily a Steve Rogers event, but Sam Alexander has a surprisingly involved role in it.
Collects: Champions 16-21
The Champions have suffered heavy losses after the events of Worlds Collide. Now they have to staff back up if they’re going to keep on their mission.
Collects: Champions 19-24
New Members Ironheart and Wasp join the team, along with a brand new hero, for this new arc for the team.
The gems are back, the universe is in a scramble, and of course, Nova is right there in the thick of it.
Collects: Champions 22-2
More losses makes Sam question his future with the team
Collects: Guardians Of The Galaxy 1-12
The Guardians try to bring peace to a universe set ablaze by the Infinity Wars. To achieve this, the team has expanded to include the biggest names in Marvel’s cosmic line-up. So we’re guaranteed to see Nova fight beside Moondragon, Cosmic Ghost Rider, The Silver Surfer, and even Captain Marvel!
Collects: Guardians of the Galaxy (2020) #1 to #6