It's been quite a while since Richard Rider, aka Nova The Human Rocket, had to lead the galaxy against the Annihilation Wave by wielding the full power of the entire Nova Corps after Annihilus destroyed them all... since he took up with casual coitus with Gamora, The Deadliest Woman in the Galaxy... since he vanished and was presumed dead after he sacrificed himself to try to seal Thanos The Mad Titan in another dimension. It's been even longer since he was a brash teenager running around with the New Warriors.
With Marvel NOW's new Nova series, we'll be going back to those heady teenage years, although Rich won't be the guy sporting the helmet anymore. Instead, it'll be Sam Alexander - not so coincidentally, one of the stars of the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series. He showed up during Avengers vs. X-Men to herald the coming of the Phoenix Force, but where did he come from? Why is he the new Nova?
Marvel's gearing up their cosmic books for a very high profile event series following up on Brian Michael Bendis' Age of Ultron (also, coincidentally, starring the antagonist from the Annihilation sequel Conquest), and it will heavily involve both Nova and Bendis' Guardians of the Galaxy title - as well as Kieron Gillen's space-faring Iron Man, most likely. All this is in service of pushing Guardians of the Galaxy as the next big Marvel movie property come next year.
Will the cosmic Marvel books have the same popularity they did back when they were the only isolated respite from the 'Civil War' era, now that Bendis and Loeb have their fingers in the pie, or will they not really understand why we liked the Annihilation events and the GotG series so much and miss the point? It remains to be seen.
Check out these preview pages from Nova #1, from Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness.