25 of Marvel’s best spacefaring characters

16 of 26

Nova (Image via Marvel)

15. Nova

Like so many superheroes, there are multiple versions of Nova. Unlike Captain Marvel’s convoluted history, however, we only have to deal with two people this time.

The first Nova, Richard Rider, appeared in 1976. He started out as a human teenager who was chosen by Rhomann Dey, the last surviving member of the elite Nova Corps. After Dey’s world, Xandar, was destructed, Dey was mortally wounded in the course of tracking the person responsible, the pirate Zorr. He transfers his power to a random human, who would hopefully be decent enough to take on the responsibilities of Nova.

Luckily, Richard Rider turns out to be okay. He putters around as a superhero after a while but then is called back to protect the newly reconstructed Xandar.

Though he initially tries to return to his human life on Earth, that superhero lifestyle just keeps bringing him back. It’s probably hard to sit through a college literature course when you’ve already spent some time-fighting aliens and reconstructing planets, right?

The second Nova, Sam Alexander, also starts off as a human teen. His father claims that he was a member of the Nova Corps, though Sam finds it hard to believe. His dad is, to all appearances, a diminished alcoholic janitor. Not very impressive.

Eventually, however, he meets up with Rocket Raccoon and Gamora, who tell him that his dad really was an intergalactic superhero. Sam is tasked with taking on his father’s helmet and the superpowers that come with it, becoming the latest Nova.