The Man Called Nova #1
Release: September 1976
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Pencils: John Buscema
Inks: Joe Sinnot
Letters: Joe Rosen
While dying Nova Centurion Prime Rhomann Dey pilots his massive starship to Earth, trying to chase down the space pirate Zorr, seventeen year old high school student Richard Rider is playing a guys vs. girls basketball game on the basketball court at his high school, Harry S. Truman High School in Hempstead, New York. Due to a bad block, Rich allows his opponent, Donna-Lee Dover to score the game winning basket. After the loss, Mike Burley, all around jerk on campus, yells at Rich for his performance on the court and tosses him aside in frustration. Rich's friend, Ginger Jaye, rushes to Rich's side to console him as Rich wallows in his own failure, but he eventually agrees to go with her to the local ice cream parlor, Uncle Fudge's.
Ignorant to Ginger's affection for him, Rich begins to feel better thanks to her attentions. Unfortunately, Mike Burley shows up at uncle Fudge's to make him feel worse, knocking him off his seat in his greeting. At the same time, 800,000 miles above the Earth, Nova Prime Rhomann Dey laments the destruction of the planet Xandar at Zorr's hands. Paralyzed by Zorr and unable to fight the space pirate in his condition, the Nova Prime transfers his powers via an invisible mind blast to a random human with hopes the power he bestows won't make a greater evil than the one he needs help defeating. Back on Long Island, the blast strikes Rich and sends the high school student into a deep coma.
While Rich recovers in Hempstead Hospital, Rhomman Dey telepathically tells Rich of the centurion powers he has inherited, the horrors Zorr inflicted, and most importantly his duties as the new Nova Prime. Rich wakes up in a panic and gravimetric beams shoot our of his eyes blasting a hole in the hospital wall and nearly hitting his doctor. When Rich finally returns to school, his musings about what he had learned from Dey distract him from his class, but suddenly, he finds he knows the answer to a difficult math question right off the top of his head. This makes him reconsider the idea that Rhomman Dey was a dream, since math was always Rich's worst subject. Upon his return home, no longer denying the abilities bestowed upon him, Rich changes into the man called Nova!
Souring through the skies, Rich tries out the new powers he knows about: flight, strength, and stamina; when his helmet tunes into the police band and Rich decides it's time for a real test. That real test ends up being the man Rhomman Dey charged Rich with defeating, Zorr! The new Nova manages to avoid most of Zorr's attacks, even landing a few hits of his own, but when Zorr decides to crush Nova with an apartment building, Rich decides to save an occupant opening him up for Zorr's attack. The arrival of Ginger, Mike and Donna-Lee distracts Rich, so he over-calculates his trajectory in avoiding Zorr's attack and collides with the damaged apartment building. Despite the fact that it will open him up to another attack, Nova holds up the building's weight long enough for his friends to get away. When he returns to the fight, Nova sees Zorr disappear into thin air. Giving his life in the process, Rhomman Dey had used the last of his power to teleport Zorr to his starship, finally defeating him in his death. This leaves Rich alone to learn about his new powers and decide his own fate as Nova.
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying:
I'm not going to do a write up for Rich Rider/Nova since it stands to reason that the pre-Annihilation Wave version of Nova will appear in the Annihilation book in July. By the same logic, I'm not going to stat up Rhomann Dey as Nova Prime because we have yet to see how the Nova Corps is handled in that book. I can always come back to write them up later. That leaves Zorr.
Zorr the Conquerer
Zorr was one of the few Luphmoid survivors after Galactus destroyed his planet, only surviving because he was offworld invading another planet. He is responsible for destroying the Nova Corps homeworld, Xandar. As a result, Nova Prime Rhomman Dey chases him to Earth, where he is taking refuge.
Affiliations: Solo d10, Buddy d8, Team d6
Distinctions: Destructive, Planet Killer, Zorr will Conquer!
Enhanced Stamina d8, Godlike Strength d12, Superhuman Durability d10, Weapon d10
SFX: Area Attack. Target multiple opponents. For every additional target, add d6 and keep +1 effect die.
SFX: Invulnerable. Spend d6 from the doom pool to ignore physical stress or trauma.
Limit: Exausted. Add d6 doom and shut down any Luphmoid Conquerer trait. Activate an opportunity to recover.
Specialties: Combat Expert, Cosmic Master, Menace Master, Tech Expert
That's it for this week's Marvel Burger. See you next week for Condor and Powerhouse!